Whenever we hear about the role of fiber in our diet, it is mainly associated with digestion, which can be an uncomfortable topic that many of us would rather not discuss. But the health of our digestive system often affects the health of our other bodily systems and functions more than we realize, which is why it is so important to not only learn about the benefits of fiber but also incorporate fiber into our daily diet.
How Fiber Helps
According to an article found in an issue of Chester County Medicine, which is published by Pennsylvania’s First Medical Society, incorporating fiber into our daily diets can have a huge impact on our overall health. The article was written by Dr. Gerald Frost, a surgeon and fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.
To understand exactly how fiber helps our digestive system, he gives this example: try squeezing one of your palms with one finger from your other hand, and then try squeezing your palm with three fingers. It is clearly much easier to squeeze your palm with three fingers versus one, which is similar to how fiber helps the intestines: the more “bulk” you add, the easier it is to squeeze.
Dr. Frost recommends a daily dose of 30 to 40 grams of fiber to promote the health of our intestines and to have regular bowel movements. Obviously, the amount of fiber one consumes on a daily basis solely depends on the individual. It is also important to know when to add fluid or fiber to your diet. Add fluid if your excrements are too hard, but add fiber if your excrements are too loose.
Even though fiber is typically associated with constipation or diarrhea, those with regular bowel movements can benefit from fiber just as much as those with bowel troubles as it is also known to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes along with helping to maintain a healthy body weight.
So now that you know the benefits of fiber, it’s time to incorporate it into your diet. Don’t worry – it’s a lot easier than you may think!
To begin, the first thing you should know is that there are two different types of fiber:
- The first is soluble fiber which dissolves in water forming a gel-like substance that lowers glucose and blood cholesterol levels. Citrus fruits, apples, barley, carrots, beans, peas and oats are all high in soluble fiber.
- The second is insoluble fiber which is the type of fiber that is commonly associated with one’s digestive system. Foods high in insoluble fiber include vegetables, green beans, nuts, wheat bran, whole-wheat flour and potatoes.
Supplements such as Konsyl, Benefiber and FiberCon can also be a great option if you’re having trouble incorporating these fiber-enriched foods into your diet.
It is important that we get past this notion that fiber is only for those who have trouble with their bowel movements so that we can all enjoy these many health benefits.