Benefits of Fiber

gut health fiber

Benefits of Fiber

Benefits of Fiber

You’ve probably heard it…”eat more fiber!” But do you know why you should be eating more fiber. Today I’ll break down the many benefits of fiber on various aspects of health! 

What is fiber?

Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate. Most carbohydrates are digested and converted into glucose but fiber cannot be broken down into glucose and actually passes through the body undigested. Fiber can help to regulate blood sugar however (more on this later). It is recommended that we get 25-35grams of fiber per day, but most Americans get 15 grams or less! 

Types of Fiber

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber means it dissolves in water and is found in foods like oat meal, chia seeds, beans, lentils, apples and berries. Soluble fiber can help to regulate blood sugar levels and can help lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also what is referred to when you hear about prebiotic fibers. Prebiotic fibers are broken down and fermented in the gut my our gut microbiome into beneficial byproducts. More on that HERE!

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water but passes through us, and helps with digestion and bowel habits. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains, quinoa, legumes, leafy greens, nuts and seeds and fruits that have skins. 

It is important to get a combination of both types of fiber in the diet!

Health Benefits of fiber

Fiber doesn’t get as much attention as it should when it comes to health and disease prevention but it is truly an amazing component of our diet that lead to improved health. The benefits of fiber on health include:

  • Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Improved cholesterol including decreased LDL and triglyceride levels and increased HDL cholesterol 
  • Decreased risk of diabetes by regulating blood glucose levels – that is why it important to have balanced meals with adequate fiber, fat and protein with carbohydrates!
  • Increased weight loss and improved body composition
  • Decreased constipation which can lead to decreased diverticular disease and hemorrhoids
  • Decreased risk of colon cancer and breast cancer
  • Improved microbiome diversity which leads to greater overall health beyond gut health!

 

So aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day from the diet if you can and fiber supplements can be considered if you are not able to get enough from diet alone but should be discussed with your medical provider. Also, an important note, if you increase your fiber by too much or too quickly you can experience gas, bloating, and GI upset so go slow! 

If you are looking for someone to work with to improve your nutrition and overall health book a free 15 minute consultation to see how Wild Rice Wellness can help!