While doctors, nutritionists, and fitness experts sometimes approach the importance of dietary fiber as a foregone conclusion, many people rarely give this component of food much thought – and that’s a mistake. As health care professionals know, fiber can have a significant impact on the body. In fact, consuming sufficient fiber can benefit many aspects of wellness.
When exploring the importance of dietary fiber, it helps to know a bit about the substance. Also referred to as roughage or bulk, fiber refers to the parts of plant foods that the body cannot absorb or digest. When consumed, fiber remains relatively intact as it travels through the digestive tract. There are two kinds of fiber, and the difference between them is easy to understand. Soluble fiber dissolves in water: insoluble fiber does not. Most foods that contain fiber include varying combinations of both types of fiber.
Sourcing Dietary Fiber
Many foods are excellent sources of fiber. To ensure that dietary fiber is included in your daily meals, concentrate on filling your plate with plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. High-quality fiber supplements can also be a good way to secure the fiber your body needs.
How Much Dietary Fiber Is Needed?
According to WebMD, most Americans get about 15 grams of fiber a day, an amount that is well short of what they need. Men should set a goal of consuming 38 grams of fiber each day. Women require slightly less; they should aim for 25 grams a day.
The Importance of Dietary Fiber for Wellness
Why is getting enough fiber so important? Regular consumption of fiber offers some amazing benefits:
Fiber Helps Manage Weight
People who regularly eat enough fiber tend to be leaner than those who skimp on it. If you increase your fiber intake, you’ll lose weight. If you’re already at a healthy weight, fiber can help you maintain it. What role does fiber play in weight management? Fiber’s bulk fills you up, reducing the amount that you eat naturally and preventing hunger pangs. Once in the digestive tract, fiber binds with some sugar and fat molecules, reducing the amount of calories the body absorbs.
Fiber Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Fiber can help prevent spikes in blood sugar by slowing the rate of its absorption. Fiber’s talent for keeping blood sugar steady and its usefulness in maintaining a healthy weight mean that getting enough fiber can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Fiber Promotes Heart Health
If heart health is a concern, fiber can be an excellent ally. Fiber is known to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein, which is often dubbed bad cholesterol, and the benefits for your cardiovascular system don’t stop there. Eating plenty of fiber also linked with lower blood pressure and decreased inflammation.
Fiber Encourages a Healthier Microbiome
Your microbiome, the community of bacteria that live in your gut, have a major impact on your health. Fiber feeds the good bacteria, allowing them to flourish and supporting their efforts to combat inflammation.
Fiber Supports the Immune System
Support for the immune system is just one of the many benefits of eating fiber cited by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. In fact, researchers believe that consuming a high-fiber diet may also reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and certain other cancers.
Fiber Is Good for Your Bones
Some types of soluble fiber increase the bioavailability of calcium and other minerals that are important for bone health. Getting your daily dose of fiber can help your body build stronger bones and support its efforts to maintain bone density.
Fiber Fights Constipation
If people know only one thing about fiber, it’s probably the fact that fiber is effective in fighting constipation. Getting enough fiber in your diet can alleviate this uncomfortable but common digestive complaint by making your stool bulkier and softer, which makes it easier for your body to pass it. As an added benefit, getting enough fiber assists with the elimination of toxins from the gastrointestinal tract with a one-two punch: Soluble fiber soaks up many problematic substances and prevents them from being absorbed while insoluble fiber speeds the travel of waste, prompting your body to shed it more quickly.
Once you understand the importance of dietary fiber, it simply makes sense to check that you’re getting enough each day. While there are plenty of foods that contain fiber, adding a fiber supplement can be a smart idea. BarnDad’s Original FiberDX is a perfect pick. Its natural, time-release formula blends soluble and insoluble fibers to deliver the dietary fiber that your body needs to function optimally. To learn more about this and other top-quality supplements, snacks, and foods that can help fuel your healthy and active lifestyle, visit BarnDad Nutrition today.