Some of the health benefits of fiber include relief from heart problems, constipation, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and toxicity. Fiber plays a very important role in human digestion process. It makes the food bulkier and further aids in glucose absorption so that sugar enters the blood cells at a slow and even pace, maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Fiber produces vital organic acids that nurture the lining of the colon.
The benefits of fiber are mainly associated with the human digestive tract. Fiber is basically indigestible plant matter. It is a form of carbohydrates that cannot be broken into smaller nutrients. It passes through the human digestive tract without undergoing any significant changes. Fibrous substances slow down the eating process and prevent us from overindulging in food. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, fiber is one of the most nutritious ingredients of the human diet.
Deficiency Symptoms: A deficiency of fiber is a major cause of obesity in US citizens. It also increases the risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. Whole grains and cereals are known to reduce the risk of major heart problems by almost 30-40%. Include fibrous substances in your diet helps to prevent a host of chronic illnesses from affecting your body. The Food and Drug Administration has judged fiber to be essential for the regulation of bowel functions.
Important Sources of Fiber
There are two kinds of fiber:
Insoluble fiber, which is made of plant cells, is indissoluble in water and can be used as a laxative.
Soluble fiber, which is made of carbohydrates, is soluble in water and helps control cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the human body.
Health Benefits of Fiber
Fiber is a plant substance that is not found in animals. Fibrous substances are vital for the human body and the digestive tract. Fiber also aids in the prevention of many illnesses. Some of the health benefits of fiber are as follows:
Indigestion and Constipation: The most important use of fiber is in digesting food. Fibrous substances add considerable bulk to your stool. It helps your stool become big and soft, thus making it easier to pass through the intestinal tract. Eating fiber rich foods can help cure constipation, thereby helping to avoid many other serious health conditions that can often develop as a result of this uncomfortable situation.
Heart Ailments: Foods that contain soluble fiber, such as barley, beans, and lentils have a good effect on cholesterol levels and normal functioning of the heart. Citrus fruits have similar effects on the human system.
Cancer: Medical experts suggest that fibrous food helps in protecting against colon cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Significant research is still ongoing to confirm these findings.
Diabetes: Normalized blood sugar levels are essential for reducing the risk of diabetes. Diabetic people have found subsequent reductions in their glucose levels due to intake of fiber-rich foods.
Obesity: High fiber foods are more bulky than other food items. Taken under a dietary expert’s guidance, fibrous foods give the feeling of a full stomach and curb the urge to eat more. This helps people who would like to reduce their weight and control their eating habits without becoming hungry!
Toxins: Fiber speeds up the passing of food through the intestinal tract, thus preventing constipation or diverticulosis disorders. Toxic waste materials are also easily flushed out of the system through soft and easy stools.
Women usually need 25 to 30 grams of fiber on a daily basis, whereas men generally need 30 to 40 grams of fiber intake every day. Therefore, make sure you have your fill of high-fiber foods that will help you maintain good health.
References: Harvard School of Public Health and Food and Drug Administration