Public Health Guidelines are often reminding everyone to consume at least 20-30 grams of fiber per day. But most of us don’t even eat half that much.
This is not surprising because fiber refers to the indigestible portion of plant foods and in the largely refined standard everyday diet, healthful fibers are often processed right out.
Unless you regularly eat whole nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits, you may be missing out on the healthiest forms of fiber there is, and that could be a problem.
Fiber plays an important part in your heart, digestive and skin health. But why is fiber so important?
Why is Fiber so Important?
The type of fiber in your diet and your gut health, plays an important role in harnessing fiber’s health potential. Below are important facts about fiber.
Your body cannot digest fiber, that is why it plays an important part in digestion. Soluble fiber, like the fiber found in blueberries, cucumbers, nuts and beans dissolves into a gel-like texture, which helps to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full much longer.
Insoluble fiber, which is found in foods such as green beans, dark green leafy vegetables, carrots and celery, does not dissolve at all and it can add bulk to your stool. This helps the food to move through your digestive tract much faster for healthy elimination.
Many whole foods, such as vegetables and fruits, naturally contain both insoluble and soluble fiber.
Effects of Not Having Enough Fiber:
1. High Cholesterol
Studies have suggested that fiber may help lower cholesterol levels. What happens is fiber passes through your body whole, and as it goes through your body, cholesterol basically attaches onto it and leaves with it. Therefore, if you are not getting enough fiber, the cholesterol does not have as many chances to leave your body.
2. Higher Risk of Heart Disease
Research have shown that the more fiber you consume, the less likely your risk to have high cholesterol. The reason? This is because fiber does not break down in the body and cholesterol clings to it, as it passes through your digestive system.
3. Irregular Bowel Movement
Most of you assume that being constipated is a sure sign of lack of fiber. But constipation is the extreme scenario, which means that not going on the regular can mean you are coming up short on fiber.
4. You Will Be Hungry an Hour After a Meal
A low-fiber diet, even if it is rich in protein can leave you feeling constantly hungry. Fiber breaks down more slowly or digests slower than other nutrients, so it keeps you feeling fuller.
The fiber and cholesterol combination, gets flushed out of your body through the toilet. Studies also show that individuals who consume more fiber are less likely to die of coronary heart disease.
5. Your Blood Sugar Level Gets Out of Control
A low-fiber and high-carbohydrate foods can quickly increase your blood sugar, which sets you up for subsequent drop, that is so fast. That constant spike or up and down not only leaves you feeling lethargic, but it could increase your risk of diabetes, according to the Harvard School Of Public Health.
Studies have proven that individuals who consume mostly a low-fiber and high-glycemic foods, which are known to increase blood sugar quickly, are twice as likely as fiber to develop type 2 diabetes.