Fiber is a type of carbohydrate derived from plants that is part of a healthy, balanced diet. You may already be familiar with the digestive benefits of consuming a fiber-rich diet. But did you know that both soluble and insoluble fiber provide a range of health benefits for just about every major body organ?
Reduces blood cholesterol levels
Soluble fiber is recognized as one of the essential nutrients that lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and a high-fiber diet in general can also help reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
Improves lung function
Recent findings published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society linked a fiber-rich diet with better lung health. Researchers found that nearly 70% of adults who consumed at least 18 grams of fiber daily had healthier lung function and even larger lung capacity than those who did not consume enough fiber.
Maintains digestive health
Getting plenty of fiber in your diet normalizes bowel movements and decreases your chance of constipation, as it acts as a natural laxative by increasing stool bulk. It also lowers your risk of developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease, and may even help manage irritable bowel syndrome.
Helps with weight management
Maintaining a high-fiber diet can help prevent and control certain types of diabetes, and even lowers the risk of obesity. When soluble fiber enters the small intestine, it slows the absorption of fat, sugar, and cholesterol into the body. It also controls satiety, which is the “full” feeling you experience after eating.
Getting enough fiber in your diet
The average American only consumes about 10-15 grams of fiber per day, which is well under the recommended amount. According to the 2015 USDA guidelines, you should be consuming about 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories. Dietary fibers can be found in vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, and naturally-occurring fiber is always the most effective method of consumption. Below are the best sources of fiber: