Why is fiber good for gut health?

Here's the lowdown on fiber, including which foods contain it, why it's healthy for you, and how your gut microorganisms relate to it.

Dietary fiber-, found in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, helps with regular bowel movements. People who eat a high-fiber diet have a much lower rate of constipation than those who eat a low-fiber diet. Eating too much fiber can cause diarrhea, bloating, or even diarrhea.

There are two different types of fiber that have different functions and health benefits.

Soluble fiber

It helps slow down the process of emptying the stomach. It reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber is found in fruits, oats, vegetables, barley, and legumes.

Insoluble fiber

It absorbs water to help soften the stool and support bowel movements. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grain bread, nuts, cereals, seeds, wheat bran, and the skin of fruit and vegetables.

The benefits of a high-fiber diet

A high-fiber diet

Makes bowel movements easier. Dietary fiber is beneficial for easy excretion. It increases the weight and size of your stool and makes it soft. So that the stool can pass easily, which lowers the chances of constipation. Let's say you have loose, watery stools. Fiber can help solidify the stool as it absorbs water and adds bulk to the stool.

Aid in maintaining bowel health

A high-fiber diet helps lower the risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in the colon.

It lowers cholesterol levels

The fiber in beans, flaxseed, oats, and oat bran helps in reducing total blood cholesterol levels. It lowers low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels.

Helps control blood sugar levels

In diabetic people, fiber — especially soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help enhance blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber can also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Helps in maintaining a healthy weight

High-fiber foods are more satisfying than low-fiber foods. That's why you tend to eat fewer. High-fiber foods take more time to eat and are less "energy dense," meaning they contain fewer calories for the same amount of food.

Helps you live longer

Studies reveal that increased intake of fiber, especially cereals, is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and all cancers.

Fiber improves microbiome diversity

Diversity is vital for measuring gut microbial health. More diversity means healthier hosts (we are the hosts), while less diversity is a sign of an imbalanced microbiome.

Fiber enhances the growth of probiotics in your gut

Consuming food rich in a variety of dietary fibers increases diversity and stimulates the growth of probiotic bacteria such as lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.

Butyrate, Fiber, and Vital Bacteria

Vital bacteria have at least one health-promoting function in the gut. Some of them produce butyrate, an important short-chain fatty acid that inhibits inflammation and helps maintain the integrity of the gut barrier

High-fiber foods are beneficial for your gut health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can lead to intestinal gas, abdominal bloating, and cramping. Increase fiber consumption gradually over some time.

Including Fiber in Your Diet

While choosing food items, check the labels as per the given below instructions and buy them

  • Check for whole grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Brown rice is brown because it still contains the husk, which is a fiber.
  • Beans and legumes are excellent sources of both fiber and protein.
  • Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, that's why eating fruit is much healthier than drinking juice.

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