Dietary fiber is an integral part of the human diet. It serves multiple functions, helping in keeping your gut clean while preventing the development of ailments, such as diabetes.
Fiber is found in different forms, but understand that not all of them are equal. This article will talk about dietary fiber, the recommended daily fiber intake, and the sources where you can get this all-important nutrient.
The Functions of Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber plays a lot of roles in the human body. It helps in maintaining regular bowel movement, preventing and relieving constipation in the process. Fiber also provides nourishment for the good bacteria found in your gut. This can help improve both digestion and immunity. It can also help you lose weight, reducing caloric intake by creating a feeling of fullness.
Last but not the least, adequate fiber consumption is linked to the prevention of major diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If regularly consumed and in the right amounts, it is highly beneficial to health.
The Different Types of Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber is found in various forms. The most common way of classifying fibers is by its solubility in water. Soluble fibers absorb water. As these fibers absorb water while traveling the gut, it forms a gel-like paste, slowing down digestion. Sources of soluble fiber include oats, berries, bananas, broccoli, beans, and flax seeds.
In contrast, insoluble fibers do not absorb water. Since they don’t absorb water, they travel down the gut unchanged, adding bulk to stool. Furthermore, they bind toxins and waste materials to eliminate them from the digestive tract. Sources of insoluble fiber include whole grains, wheat bran, cauliflower, celery, and avocados.
Adverse Effects of Dietary Fiber
Just like in most situations in life, it is not considered safe if you eat too much fiber. This is in spite of the fact that science has uncovered many benefits of incorporating fiber into your daily diet. Digestive symptoms such as gas formation and bloating are common, especially if you haven’t consumed enough fiber for a long time. Dietary fiber is also not beneficial for people who are suffering from chronic constipation.
Another counter-indication for a fiber-rich diet is for people suffering from irritable bowel disease (IBD). This is because high-fiber foods can potentially trigger IBS symptoms.
How Much Fiber should you Eat?
The recommended daily fiber intake for men is 38 grams. For women, the recommended daily intake is set at 25 grams.
In spite of its importance, the reality is that most people worldwide are on diets deficient in fiber. In fact, in the United States, it is estimated that the majority of the population eat less than half of the recommended daily fiber intake.
Given the number of health risks associated with lack of fiber in the diet (one important example is colorectal cancer), getting enough fiber in our diets is a must. The best way to do this is to add fiber-rich foods to your diet. This is the first and best way to ensure that you get your daily dose of fiber.
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Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.