Fiber protects the body by reducing your risk of certain diseases, such as cancer. How do you know whether you’re getting enough fiber in your diet? The typical American only consumes 14 grams of fiber each day, and according to The Mayo Clinic, women under 50 years of age should get 25 grams of fiber daily. Men under the age of 50 should get 38 grams a day. Your fiber needs decrease as you age.
While an examination of your diet and age could determine whether you consume enough fiber, there are certain physical conditions that mandate an increase in fiber:
Fiber helps you feel full. For those wishing to lose weight, increasing your fiber intake may help you drop unwanted pounds. Dieters also benefit from high-fiber eating plans because some foods that are high in fiber take longer to eat. When you take more time to eat, you tend to feel full although you’ve consumed less food.
Because it’s a a complex carbohydrate, fiber does not get absorbed by the body and therefore, has no calories. It does its work by helping to rid the body of cholesterol and waste.
2. Digestive Issues
People who suffer from constipation likely need to increase their fiber intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber plays an essential role in helping the body properly eliminate waste. Bulking up stool and making it softer, fiber makes it much easier to pass and creats normal, regular bowel movements. People who have problems with loose stool will also benefit from including more fiber in their diet. It helps prevent this condition by absorbing excess water.
Having regular, healthy bowel movements can help lower your risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulitis, which is inflammation in the intestinal tract. Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome may also find relief from uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain and bloating.
Fiber does not raise blood glucose levels, which is beneficial to diabetics. Glycemic, fiber, which is considered a good carb, comes from healthy high fiber sources such as multigrain products–as opposed to food made with white flour. Multigrain foods, such a bread, help the body regulate blood sugar levels. This has proven to be a valuable weapon in the diabetic’s arsenal.
4. High Cholesterol
Having a high cholesterol level is another sign that you may not be getting enough fiber in your diet. Fiber helps lower cholesterol by removing bile acids that digest fat. Consuming foods that are high in fiber, such as oatmeal, fruits and vegetables are proven to lower cholesterol levels when added to the diet consistently.
Clearly, huge gains come from making sure that your diet is rich in high fiber foods. While foods such as whole grains and beans provide some fiber, foods derived from plants tend to be the best sources. Although providing other nutritional benefits, meats, fish, poultry and dairy products contain no fiber. Taking dietary fiber supplements on a daily basis may be helpful in assuring that your high fiber diet goals are accomplished.