There are many health benefits to eating a high fiber diet. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that men should consume 38 grams of fiber daily and women 25 grams of fiber per day. Fiber should come from both insoluble and soluble fiber each day.
A high fiber diet naturally scrubs and promotes the elimination of toxins from your digestive system.
Soluble fiber absorbs potentially hazardous compounds such as excess estrogen and unhealthy fats before they can be absorbed by the body.
Insoluble fiber makes things move faster through the digestive tract, as it limits the time that chemicals like mercury, BPA, and pesticides stay in your body. The quicker these chemicals can exit your body, the less likely they are to cause damage.
Fiber-rich foods not only fill you up faster, they also keep you satisfied for longer. Being satisfied for longer can help keep you from over eating. Keeping you full for longer and from over eating sounds like a great way to lose weight.
Tanya Zuckerbrot a registered dietitian and author of The F-factor Diet says that fiber binds with fat and sugar molecules as they travel through your digestive tract, which reduces the number of calories you actually get.
Researchers have found that people who consume high-fiber foods on a daily basis , had between 17 and 19% reduced risk of death from any cause compared with those who ate less fiber.
Let's examine some of the benefits of a high fiber diet.
High Fiber Diet Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Soluble fiber that dissolves in water can help reduce LDL cholesterol. Good sources include barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears.
One of the ways soluble fiber may help to lower blood cholesterol is through its ability to reduce the amount of bile reabsorbed in the intestines.
Research has shown that increasing soluble fiber by 5 to 10 g a day reduces LDL cholesterol by about five percent.
Fiber helps lower the bad cholesterol known as LDL. Lowering the bad cholesterol levels also assists in lowering the risk of atherosclerosis or blocking of the arteries, heart disease and stroke.
High Fiber Intake Controls Blood Glucose Levels
Fiber slows carbohydrate digestion and sugar absorption. It promotes a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Also the type of fiber you eat plays a role in controlling blood glucose levels.
Soluble fiber aids in lowering blood glucose levels by reducing absorption of glucose in the body. It also absorbs excess water, fats, and bile salts in the body.
Joslin Diabetes Center says fiber does not raise blood glucose levels. Because it is not broken down by the body, the fiber in an apple or a slice of whole grain bread has no effect on blood glucose levels because it isn't digested.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber a day, particularly soluble fiber, were able to control their blood glucose better than those who ate far less.
Fiber Helps Controls Appetite and Food Cravings
Most individuals who want to loss weight try really hard to control their appetite and food cravings. There's nothing wrong though with experiencing hunger. Hunger is your body's way of saying feed me and I will give you some energy.
When hunger strikes, there's nothing wrong with feeding your body. But if you want to control your appetite and food cravings that depends on the food you put in your mouth.
Eating high fiber foods slows the rate of digestion leaving you to feel fuller for longer. Refined carbohydrate foods are what most people reach for when they feel hungry. But as these types of foods have no fiber, you feel hungry a lot sooner and want more to eat.
Therefore, fiber can help you lose weight by controlling your appetite and food cravings.
High Fiber Diet Promotes Regular Bowel Movement
Medical experts often recommend eating fiber to help regulate bowel movements.
The type of fiber needed is insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and speeds bowel movements, making elimination more frequent.
If you are increasing dietary fiber to meet recommendations, do so gradually over a few weeks to allow time for bacteria in your gut to adjust, thus helping to prevent more frequent bowel movements and possible diarrhea.
Since fiber absorbs water, increase your water intake as you increase the fiber in your diet to help keep your stool soft and bulky.
A High Fiber Diet Prevents Colon Cancer
Infrequent bowls movements can cause colon cancer.
Science News Online (Feb 2003) says that each year, about 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer in the United States alone. And that colon cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide..."
The truth is that colon cancer, like other kinds of cancer, is a complex disease. The exact cause is not very clear. Yet, the underlying cause is stagnation of waste in the colon.
There is a strong correlation between constipation and colon cancer, as reported by the journal, Epidemiology (1998): "People who frequently felt constipated were more than four times as likely to develop colon cancer as those who did not complain of constipation."
Thus a high fiber diet can help prevent the risks of colon cancer, as well as internal hemorrhoids from developing.
For more frequent bowl movements to prevent colon cancer eat more fiber, such as found in beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts, and some types of vegetables, including carrots, beets, and leafy greens.
Other Benefits Of A High Fiber Diet
Fiber slows down the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines. This is very beneficial to those with gastritis and duodenal ulcers as the intestines are less exposed to the high acidity of the stomach.
Fiber also helps in reducing vascular blockage and inflammation especially among diabetic patients.
Prevention is always better than cure and the best prevention of disease is through healthier high fiber diet food choices.