Why Dietary Fiber Is So Important For A Healthy Diet

Why Dietary Fiber Is So Important For A Healthy Diet

No matter what diet you read about, all of them will always say the same thing: Eat more fiber.

Why? Fiber is good for you!

Fiber helps with digestion, maintains bowel health, lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugars, and helps you feel fuller to achieve a healthier weight.

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Fiber is abundant in numerous foods and can help you achieve a healthier body.

What Is Dietary Fiber?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by the body. Although most carbohydrates are broken into smaller molecules, fiber is not digested into smaller sugar molecules – rather fiber passes through the gastrointestinal tract undigested.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can lower sugar levels and lower blood cholesterol.

Typically soluble fibers are found in oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and helps pass food through the digestive system, which promotes regular bowel movements and decreases constipation.

Insoluble fibers can also be found in wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

As you can see, most plant-based foods contain rich sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

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However, it’s important to vary your diet so you can attain high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber to get the most benefit.

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

The Institute of Medicine recommends that a range of fiber intake recommendations for different populations.

In general, it is recommended that men younger than 50 get 38g of fiber a day and men over the age of 50 get 30g of fiber a day. While women younger than 50 get 25g of fiber a day, and women over age 50 get 21g of fiber a day.

Table 1: Fiber intake recommendations

What Foods Have The Most Fiber?

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the best sources of fiber are whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

While it is true that you can find fiber in processed or refined foods – canned fruits, vegetables, pulp-free juices or white bread – these are lower in fiber.

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The reason being that refining removes the outer coat (bran) of the grain which contains the high fiber content.

While some enriched foods may have added vitamins and minerals, they will still lack in fiber since processing removes fiber from the grain.

Why Fiber Is Important In A Healthy Diet

Studies have routinely shown wonderful of health benefits of fiber. Fiber reduces the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease and constipation. It has also been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer. Fiber plays a pivotal role in lowering cholesterol, weight loss and helping maintain a healthy weight.When you eat more fiber you feel fuller and this decreases your appetite so you are less likely to overeat.

why fiber is important in a healthy diet

How To Add More Fiber To Your Diet?

There are plenty of simple changes you can do to increase your fiber intake without totally changing your diet.

In the morning start your day off right with oatmeal. A cup of oatmeal contains 4g of fiber. Simply mix this a one cup of raspberries (8g of fiber), one cup of blueberries (8g of fiber), or a banana (3g of fiber) to increase your fiber intake.

At lunch ditch the white bread and white rice and opt for whole grain bread or whole grain pasta.

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Pack some fruits with you like bananas, pears or berries for a sweet healthy snack that is loaded with fiber. Or carry some nuts with you at work for a crunchy salt-free snack that packs of punch of fiber too!

During dinner be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and legumes to complete your fiber recommended intake for the day.

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While you should strive to eat the recommended fiber intake for your gender and age, be mindful that if you eat too much fiber this can cause bloating, cramping and gas. Be sure to drink plenty of water too so that the fiber can help your digestive tract.

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Should You Use Fiber Supplements?

It is always better to eat whole foods rather than rely on fiber supplements since whole food provides the essential vitamins, minerals, protein and other beneficial nutrients not found in fiber supplements.

However, for those that cannot get the recommended total fiber in for the day, it is advised to take fiber supplements such as Metamucil. However, try not to relay on this as you want to have a varied diet.

Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, medfit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions. Dr. Mallipudi serves as a contributing writer for the Diet and Fitness sections.

disclaimer: Vixen Daily and its authors may offer health, fitness, nutritional advice but this is designed for educational and informational purposes only. All the information contained on Vixen Daily and its articles is not intended to constitute the practice of medicine. The information provided in articles on Vixen Daily should never be relied on, or used as a substitute or replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Vixen Daily and its authors are not responsible for any actions or inaction, safety or liability on a User’s part based on the information that is presented in the Site. If you seek medical advice, speak to a health professional in person about your particular issues.

30 comments… add one
  • kameron February 26, 2018, 1:56 pm

    i had issues with my digestion before and fiber was the only natural solution i had. i’m glad i found out about it sooner. now i have developed a healthy eating habit too and i never had problems anymore.

  • jessie February 22, 2018, 8:05 pm

    one of the best things i could do to increase my chances to have a healthy and long life is to eat more fiber. it will also make me feel and look sexy.

  • johanna February 21, 2018, 6:45 pm

    i am struggling with slow digestion and always constipated. i will make sure incorporate high-fiber foods in my diet to end my dilemma.

  • lucille February 20, 2018, 8:06 pm

    i will stock my pantry with these high-fiber foods and make sure to drink plenty of water too because fiber can also dehydrate you a little.

  • amilen February 19, 2018, 8:04 pm

    one thing i noticed about all the weight loss program, they all require high fiber foods. I will make sure to include the foods listed here in my diet.

  • maya February 16, 2018, 1:42 pm

    dietary fiber is good for the health..i tried this and it helped me with better digestion. filling up with more fiber made me feel like always full so i started eating less.

  • vina February 15, 2018, 4:56 am

    fiber supplements are helpful but you can get most out of fiber from food that are naturally rich in fiber. choose healthier, eat more fiber in each meal.

  • irina February 13, 2018, 12:00 pm

    whenever i get constipated, i load up on fiber and it does the magic. i’m not big on fiber but i realized how important it is to include it in each meal. my digestion has never been good.

  • gwen February 12, 2018, 1:11 pm

    it’s best to get fiber from natural whole foods than from supplements. that way, you get the most from what you eat.

  • josie February 12, 2018, 4:22 am

    it’s been proven that fiber is good fot the heart. this is the reason why fiber is very important in our household.

  • jayla January 25, 2018, 5:29 pm

    i always go with high-fiber foods because of their amazing health benefits.

  • jade January 23, 2018, 7:01 pm

    i always include high fiber foods in my diet because of their health benefits.

  • shiela September 26, 2017, 12:39 pm

    take as much fiber and you’ll definitely see good results sooner that you even think.

  • kelly September 18, 2017, 7:29 am

    this is what i’ve been telling my class in aerobics.

  • zaine September 7, 2017, 3:53 pm

    yes, this is how important fiber is to your diet.

  • laurie September 6, 2017, 4:34 pm

    fiber is very important especially if you’re trying to lose some weight. i make sure i get loads of it.

  • phoemela August 29, 2017, 1:48 pm

    i’m always on the search for fiber rich foods because i’ve been constipated to may times.

  • yasmien August 23, 2017, 3:10 pm

    thanks for the guidelines, i really appreciate the posts you’re sharing.

  • michaela August 21, 2017, 9:07 pm

    i started being conscious about my fiber intake when i got really constipated. from then on, i always include high fiber foods and i never experienced constipation again.

  • nigela August 20, 2017, 6:51 pm

    why use supplements when you can have fiber the natural way? there are surprisingly so much choices for fiber sources that are definitely just within reach.

  • krizia August 14, 2017, 8:51 am

    thank you for posting this. it’s really important that we have a healthy dietary fiber

  • carmela August 10, 2017, 2:24 pm

    fiber is best in helping you achieve a healthier body without too much effort

  • pilita August 9, 2017, 1:32 am

    this is really something everyone should know about. we all need healthy digestion to prevent bloating and weight gain.

  • lainey August 6, 2017, 11:31 pm

    i really believe fiber is important to the body thats why i always check food labels.

  • april July 31, 2017, 11:46 pm

    very true! this is how beneficial fiber is to our health.

  • elizabeth July 30, 2017, 10:31 pm

    always include high fiber foods in your diet

  • sandra July 26, 2017, 3:01 pm

    i usually get my fiber from oats and fruits, it helps me digest food properly.

  • alessandra July 23, 2017, 11:27 pm

    fiber is very important, i love it and i make sure i have it at least once a day.

  • sammy July 18, 2017, 9:49 pm

    fiber is indeed very important in every meal.

  • sharon July 17, 2017, 11:23 pm

    i always stock up on fiber-rich foods, it’s very important to eat more fiber to avoid weight loss

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