Dietary fiber is one of the most important nutrients for your body because it helps regulate your digestive system and flushes out toxins. Having a healthy digestive system is important for energy because it allows better absorption of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Dietary fiber also increases your energy by slowing down the digesting process and regulating the absorption of nutrients. This helps keep your blood sugar constant which results in longer energy. Not having enough dietary fiber may lead to health problems, such as hemorrhoids, constipation, heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, and diabetes. Due to the popularity of fast food and junk food, most people in the United States are not consuming enough dietary fiber which is causing an increase in these types of health problems. To reduce these diseases, the American Cancer Society recommended that we should consume 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber daily.
What is dietary fiber?
- Dietary fiber is the portion of food that your digestive system can’t break down. There are two forms of dietary fiber which are soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin dissolves easily in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive system. Soluble fiber has been known to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream because it has the ability to attach itself to fatty substances making it harder for the body to absorb them. Because of this feature, soluble fiber is great for weight management. Insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb water, instead it increases bowel movements by helping the stool retain more water. Insoluble fiber is great for preventing constipation and protects the colon from toxins.
Benefits of dietary fiber:
- Prevents constipation by increasing bowel movements
- Helps remove toxins in the colon which reduces the chance of colon cancer
- Helps lower blood cholesterol
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Reduces the risk of hemorrhoids
- Reduces the risk of atherosclerosis
- May help prevent certain types of cancer
Best sources of high dietary fiber:
- Fruits: apple, banana, blueberries, grapefruit, orange, peach, pear, raspberries and strawberries
- Vegetables: avocado, beets, broccoli, cabbage, corn, green beans, kale, peas, baked potato (with skin) and spinach
- Cereal Grains: bran cereal (1 cup of bran cereal has about 20 grams of fiber), whole wheat bread, rolled oats and brown rice
- Beans and Nuts: almonds, black beans, flax seeds, kidney beans, red lentils (1 cup of cooked lentils have about 15 grams of fiber), lima beans, pumpkin seeds and soybeans
Category: Nutrition and Supplements