Fiber is an important part of your digestive health, but did you know that it can also benefit your heart and skin while helping you to maintain a suitable weight and fight off diabetes? Getting enough fiber is about more than just “being regular,” so read on to learn more about the benefits of high-fiber foods. Keep in mind that you’ll need about 50 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories of food you consume.
Fiber Benefits Blood Sugar
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate and we are constantly told that “carbs” are bad for our blood sugar and thus for our risk of developing diabetes. It turns out, however, that there are “good carbs” and “bad carbs.” Fiber is a good carb because it is hard for the body to break down and thus makes the gut work overtime. Soluble fiber, like that found in oatmeal, is great way to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. A study, from the New England Journal of Medicine, found that people who eat at least 50 grams of fiber in a day have better blood glucose control than those who eat less (https://www.joslin.org/info/how_does_fiber_affect_blood_glucose_levels.html).
Fiber Aids in Weight Management
Insoluble fiber attracts water. This causes it to be bulky and take up more room in your stomach and intestine. This added bulk makes you feel fuller, but because insoluble fiber cannot be digested, it contributes no calories to your daily intake. Overall, a high-fiber diet makes you feel more full and thus helps you control your appetite (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983).
Heart Health and Fiber
A high-fiber diet can reduce your risk of heart disease by 40% (https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/25/9-fiber-health-benefits.aspx). Part of this risk reduction comes from the fact that fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can help to lower cholesterol levels. Whatever the reason, fiber is good for your heart, even if you prefer your oatmeal with brown sugar and honey.
Fiber and Stroke
Researchers are not sure why, but adding fiber to your diet can reduce your risk of stroke. In fact, you can reduce your risk of first-time stroke by about 7% for every seven grams of fiber you add to your diet. Add 21 grams of fiber to your daily diet and you will reduce your risk of stroke by 21% (https://newsroom.heart.org/news/eating-more-fiber-may-lower-risk-of-first-time-stroke).
Boost Your Skin Health with Fiber
Fiber can help to reduce levels of fungus (yeast in particular) in your body and thus help to prevent these microbes from causing acne and skin rashes. Fiber also benefits your skin because it helps you to stay hydrated and thus helps to ensure your body has a steady supply of clean water for flushing out pores.
The benefits of fiber are not limited to the topics above. In fact, fiber can reduce your risk of a number of things like diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and even irritable bowel syndrome. Of all the organ systems that fiber benefits, it has the greatest impact on your intestine. It really can keep you regular and help to soften stools. You can find soluble fiber in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, and certain grains. You will find insoluble fiber in wheat, nuts, green beans, and potatoes.