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.
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.
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.
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.
A high-fiber diet helps lower the risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in the colon.
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.
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.
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.
Studies reveal that increased intake of fiber, especially cereals, is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and all cancers.
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.
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.
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.
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