What are the health benefits of fiber? Why is dietary fiber good for your health? What are foods high in fiber? What's the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?
There are two types of dietary fiber. One is soluble and the other insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like substance. This type of fiber helps stabilizes cholesterol and glucose level. Insoluble fiber such as oats, nuts and seeds are not dissolved by the small intestine. Instead they form bulking material that is beneficial for good bowel health.
Dietary fibers are found in vegetables and nuts. Various foods have different ratios of insoluble and soluble fiber so it is a good idea to eat a wide variety of foods to get the maximum benefits of fiber.
High fiber foods are whole grains such as rye, oats, brown rice. Beans, apples, and psyllium or ispaghula are also fiber rich. Other foods that are high in dietary fiber include beans, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, artichokes, berries, pears, prunes, figs, apples, nuts, seeds, and whole grain foods.
Consuming foods high in fiber can help you lose weight. This is because high fiber foods fill you up quicker and help you stay full longer. It can also help you lower your cholesterol, control blood sugar, and prevent constipation.
Dietary fiber is important for colon health and it is good for your bowels because it increases the bulk of your stool and makes it softer. This prevents constipation and can help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Foods containing soluble fiber such as soybeans, oats and barley slow the absorption of sugar and can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Dietary fiber may assist in reducing bad cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
When you switch to a high fiber diet, begin gradually. If you suddenly start taking high fiber foods you might develop gas and bloating. To prevent such complications, add more fiber into your diet in a gradual manner over a period of several weeks. You should also drink extra water as liquids are needed to help break down dietary fiber.
It isn't difficult to get more dietary fiber. Just be sure to eat wheat bread, breakfast cereals and add fruits, juices and vegetables that contain fiber in your diet. Leave the skins intact in order to get the most benefits of fiber. The more refined a food is, the less fiber it will have. Buy bread that lists whole wheat as the first ingredient.
Add wheat bran to soups, meat loaf, oatmeal, or applesauce. Replace unhealthy chips and candy as snack foods with raw vegetables and fruits so that you can gain the benefits of fiber.
Fiber is important to your health but due to diets that rely on highly refined foods and lack of attention to what we eat, we often don't get enough dietary fiber each day. This is why it is recommended to take fiber supplements.