When you digest fiber, it makes its way through the large intestine where it speeds up digestion, pushing fermented foods and waste through the intestine before they can start to cause problems for you. Fiber also has beneficial effects on pH levels of the colon and helps in the creation of by-products used by your body for various physiological functions.
In fact, fiber is so good for you, a recent study has concluded that you should not only meet established fiber requirements but exceed them. To get you motivated to keep up with this fiber mandate, here are seven health benefits that could be yours if you remember to eat foods high in fiber every day.
Boost Your Heart Health
Soluble fiberâthe type found in kidney beans, rolled oats, flaxseed, and wheat branâcould help lower levels of bad cholesterol, leaving you with more good cholesterol and a healthier heart. One study conducted on 39,876 women showed that those who ate an average of 26 grams of fiber per day had a lower risk for developing heart disease or for suffering a heart attack.
Protect Yourself From Colon Cancer
Fiber helps food move more quickly through your digestive system. Any toxins or other harmful substances are also carried quickly through the intestinal tract and out of the body before they can damage cells. One study found that fiber-rich flaxseed was associated with a decreased risk for breast cancer.
Improve Your Digestive Health
Okâit may seem like a no-brainer that fiber helps your digestion, but many people suffer from digestive upsets that can significantly affect their quality of life and they donât know what to do about it. Itâs difficult to go to work or to enjoy any social or sporting activity when your abdomen is bloated and painful. A high-fiber diet can keep these symptoms at bay. Foods high in fiber could also help lower your risk for getting painful and irritating hemorrhoids.
Better Control Your Blood Sugar
Fiber helps to slow down the process of sugar absorption which can have a moderating effect on blood sugar levels. A high-fiber diet is particularly important for people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Ease Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fiber could help provide some relief from symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber keeps the digestive system from getting tied up in knots. By moving food efficiently from the stomach, through the intestines and out the colon, fiber prevents blockages that can lead to alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.
Keep Skin Healthy
Fiber can help remove toxins from your body, including yeasts and fungus which can damage the cells of your skin. To reduce your chances of suffering from breakouts and rashes, add fiber to your daily meals to remove problem pathogens from the walls of the colon so that they donât get reabsorbed in the liver.
Fiber is generally low-calorie. However, it can also help you feel âfullââa winning combination when it comes to losing weight.
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Bernaud, F.S., et al., âDietary fiber: adequate intake and effects on metabolism health,â Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. August 2013; 57(6): 397-405.
Bernstein, A.M., et al., âMajor cereal grain fibers and psyllium in relation to cardiovascular health,â Nutrients. April 29, 2013; 5(5): 1,471-87.
Flower, G., et al., âFlax and Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review,â Integr Cancer Ther. September 8, 2013.