While the benefits of eating foods that contain a lot of fiber have been discussed continuously for the past 50 years, it’s a known fact that the Western world doesn’t eat enough of these foods. It’s usually because most people live very busy lives and they rely on takeout, microwave meals, and fast food. These foods do not contain as much fiber as homemade foods prepared with fresh ingredients. The recommended fiber intake for an adult is 30 grams per day, however, most adults rarely eat over 20 grams per day, according to NHS.
If you decided to improve your dietary habits in 2023, you should definitely incorporate more fiber into your diet. Here are 7 health benefits of dietary fiber:
1. Dietary Fiber Helps You Lose Weight
If you want to healthily lose the weight you gained during the holidays, increasing your dietary fiber intake is the way to do it.
Fiber-rich foods help you reach satiety faster. Plus, you won’t feel hungry for a while. With junk food, no matter how many calories you consume, satiety won’t last long. You will feel hungry and you will have to eat again. Fiber-rich foods on the other hand keep you satisfied for longer. Not only that but they are also healthier and better for you.
If you are not looking to lose weight but you want to maintain your current silhouette without working out a lot, dietary fiber is your answer as well.
2. Dietary Fiber Promotes Better Gut Health
The good bacteria in your gut need fiber to maintain gut health. Increasing your dietary fiber intake helps lower inflammation and decreases the likelihood of developing chronic health problems. It’s also a great way to ensure proper digestion and reduce any issues associated with bad digestion.
The good news is that it doesn’t take long to notice the benefits of fiber on gut health. Many people started to notice a difference just a few days after incorporating more fiber into their diets. If you are consistent with your fiber intake, your gut health will continue to get better.
Eating more fiber prevents constipation and ensures regular bowel movements. It is important to note that fiber cannot do all the work. You also need to drink water to maximize the benefits of dietary fiber.
3. Dietary Fiber Lowers The Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
A higher fiber intake has been associated with a decreased risk of diabetes. Both soluble and insoluble fiber has been proven effective in decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Many researchers believe dietary fiber lowers diabetes risk by reducing inflammation levels, increasing the good gut bacteria, and, most importantly, because dietary fiber has a good effect on blood glucose levels.
4. Dietary Fiber Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease
From gut health to pancreatic health and now to heart health, dietary fiber can do a lot of wonders for your overall health.
Fiber can keep bad cholesterol away from your arteries thus reducing the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Oats and barley are very good for heart health and they are versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet without much effort.
5. Dietary Fiber Is Great For Detoxing
Why opt for juice cleanses or other drastic measures when you can just incorporate more fiber into your diet and get the same results? Or even better ones. Dietary fiber acts like an internal body scrub. It gets rid of bad toxins, excess hormones, and unhealthy fats. On top of that, when you eat foods high in fiber, you also protect yourself against harmful chemicals like pesticides and mercury because insoluble fiber makes these chemicals move faster through your body, limiting the time they have to cause you harm.
6. Dietary Fiber Make Your Bones Stronger
You probably know that your bones need calcium and other minerals to stay strong and healthy. What you might not know is that dietary fibers, specifically prebiotics, increase the absorption rates of these minerals. As a result, bone density is preserved better.
Prebiotics are naturally found in many fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
7. Dietary Fiber Reduces The Risk Of Developing Colorectal And Breast Cancers
Since higher fiber intake promotes better digestion and better gut health, it is only logical that it also helps prevent cancers of the colorectal system.
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with a high content of fiber are great for reducing the risk of breast cancer.
High Fiber Foods
Considering what a positive impact dietary fiber has on someone’s health, a balanced diet with lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, and nuts rich in fiber can help your body work better and also reduce the risk of disease. With that in mind, here are some high-fiber foods you can easily incorporate into your diet:
Nuts are not only high in fiber but also a great source of protein and healthy fats. Raw nuts or nuts roasted without oil are preferred to avoid the additional calories. Nuts make a great snack. Eating nuts is a great way to increase your daily fiber intake.
All fruits are great if you want to add more dietary fiber to your diet, Apples are particularly good with 4 grams of fiber per apple.
Dried fruits are also highly recommended for those who want to increase their fiber intake, particularly for people who struggle with constipation. Dried fruits contain high amounts of natural sugars which can help digestion but you have to make sure you don’t eat too many to avoid cramping.
Many people avoid pasta when dieting but whole pasta is actually good for you in moderation. Oats, whole bread, and brown rice are amazing too.
Avocados are not only an incredible source of healthy fats but also an amazing source of fiber. You get 10 grams of fiber per cup of avocado. Considering how versatile avocados are, you can make guacamole, eat it on toast, with eggs, or in salads.
Beans & Lentils
Add them to soups, salads, stews, or side dishes to increase your fiber intake. They are healthy and easy to incorporate into a balanced diet.