Not Getting Enough Fiber? 4 Health Risks

One of the simplest ways to help you achieve a healthier body, is to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Recent studies have shown that the majority of people in Western countries are falling way short of the amount of dietary fiber they are consuming on a daily basis, and this can have severe detrimental effects on the body. There are a few important points to highlight that pose health risks to those who are not eating enough fiber.

1. Constipation

Ok, everyone should know this one, but it is still one of the most common complaints of people with a poor diet. The kicker is it can be easily solved, and takes almost no effort. Fiber is not digestible by the human body, so it travels through the gut acting like a scrubber, bringing with it free radicals, acids, cholesterol and other impurities that line the walls of the intestines.  Not enough fiber means that the waste products travel much slower through the gut and the intestines start to absorb water from the waste, resulting in a dry, hard stool by the time it reaches the bowels, and making it very uncomfortable to pass.

2. Colon Cancer

Cancer of the colon is much more prevalent in countries that eat more refined and processed foods compared to whole grained foods. Eating a healthy amount of fiber, especially insoluble fiber that does not absorb water on it’s journey through the digestive tract, will help to eradicate cancerous compounds from the body quicker.  It has been shown that a high fiber diet can even possibly reverse the cancer in some patients.  If eating more fiber can prevent cancer, it is probably the very best reason for doing so.

3. Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is basically when the colon is continually, vigorously contracted, like when trying to force out a small, dry stool, causing small cracks and pockets in the colon walls. If it continues, these cracks can become infected or sometimes even break open further to cause more widespread inflammation and infection in the lining of the abdomen. A thicker, softer stool would relieve the pressure on the colon and the cracks can be reduced or stopped.

4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Not an actual disease in itself, IBS is a collection of unpleasant symptoms that say all is not well in your diet. IBS carries unpleasant symptoms like cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, excess gas and some pain in the abdomen.  Increasing the amount of fiber in the diet can basically steady the digestive system, regulating the consistency of the stools and easing these unpleasant symptoms.  

More than 4 million people in America alone suffer from constipation every year, an the majority of these are women and people over the age of 60. By being aware of a few of the health risks associated with not enough fiber in the diet, this number can be drastically reduced, and you can lead a healthier and happier life.


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