Adding More Fiber to Your Diet Has These Health Benefits

Courtesy of Medical Daily

Take a look at your diet — do you think there is an adequate amount of fiber in it? There is a good chance you are not getting enough of nutrients.

According to the American Heart Association, we need to consume around 25 to 30 grams of fiber on a daily basis. However, many adults in the country only consume about 15 grams per day on average.
One of the important functions of fiber is to prevent a rapid spike in your blood glucose levels. If you are experiencing that sugar high and inevitable crash, you may be eating too many processed foods.

“In our fast-paced world, so many people rely, on-the-go options like fast food, juices, and processed boxed snacks, but these foods have been stripped of their fiber,” Heather Bauer, a registered dietitian and founder of Bestowed, told SELF.

This is one of the reasons why plant-based diets are considered healthy since fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good sources of fiber. For instance, a single medium fruit or vegetable — apple, orange, potato, or banana to name a few — could provide 3 to 4 grams. One cup of black beans or baked beans could provide 10 to 15 grams of fiber.

Fiber is often brought up when discussing weight and digestion. It is known that staying hydrated and following a high-fiber diet can help regulate bowel movements. Satiety, which means to feel full longer, is also improved and can help reduce risk of overeating and obesity.

To help shape dietary recommendations, a team of researchers from New Zealand was commissioned by the World Health Organization to examine decades’ worth of data on fiber intake.

“The health benefits of dietary fiber appear to be even greater than we thought previously,” said Jim Mann, co-author of the research and a professor of human nutrition and medicine at the University of Otago.
The newly published findings of the study revealed how people who included the most fiber in their diets were less likely to develop and die from various chronic diseases when compared to those who consumed the least fiber. They estimated a 15 to 30 percent lower risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and coronary heart disease in the former.

If you do plan to introduce more fiber into your diet, make sure to do it slowly and also drink enough water through the day. The digestive system needs time to adjust, as a sudden increase could lead to bloating, gas, cramping, and poor appetite.

On the flip side, make sure you avoid consuming too much fiber — which is around 70 grams or more. Though uncommon, it could lead to more serious health issues such as nutrient deficiencies and intestine problems. Read More