Fiber is an important food component that has several benefits to the human body. A high fiber diet has many health benefits; these benefits include reduced risk of diseases like stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is also widely known that high-fiber foods can help keep the digestive system healthy and regular.
Digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea and hemorrhoids are usually treated or prevented by either starting a high fiber diet plan or taking fiber supplements like Metamucil products. Despite its various benefits, the average American diet is low in fiber.
Fiber can be found in foods like fruits, beans, peas, and vegetables. Two types of fiber available are part of the high fiber diet; soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber contains substances made of carbohydrates, and they are dissolvable in water.
Foods like fruits, legumes, barley, and oats are made up of soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber, as the name implies, does not dissolve in water, and it is derived from the walls of plant cells. Examples of food with insoluble fiber are wheat, rye, and other grains.
Wheat bran commonly referred to as the traditional fiber is an insoluble fiber. Dietary fiber is a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Most dietary fibers are not digested or absorbed. They stay inside the intestine and helps regulate food digestion and the consistency of stool.
The benefits of a high fiber diet are
- It treats digestive problems such as constipation, hemorrhoids, chronic diarrhea, and fecal incontinence. It adds volume to the stool and softens it to make it easier to pass. It is also good for regulating the digestive system which in turn helps pass stool regularly.
- It reduces the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke by 40 to 50 percent
- It can also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- It helps to control blood glucose levels for people who have diabetes, both Type 1 and 2.
- Many also recommend a high fiber diet for weight loss.
Doctors recommend 25 grams of fiber for women and 30 grams of fiber for men. Unfortunately, most people do not stick to a high fiber diet nor do they eat high fiber diet foods; their regular diet includes less than 10-15 grams of fiber daily. Good sources of dietary fiber are fruits, vegetables and breakfast cereal.
A good source of dietary fiber helpful for treating constipation is prune or its juice. Many people do not particularly enjoy fruits, beans or vegetables, however, to get the daily recommended serving of fiber, one to two tablespoon of unprocessed wheat bran can be added to a meal. One tablespoon of wheat bran equals 12 grams of fiber.
Also, several supplements of fiber are sold in local grocery stores, drugstores and online. The fiber in these supplements is mostly soluble, and they come in powder, wafer and capsule forms. Psyllium, calcium polycarbophil methylcellulose, and wheat dextrin are examples of supplements available in stores.
A good fiber supplement is Metamucil, and its main ingredient is psyllium. Fiber supplement should be taken with adequate fluid, and intake should be increased slowly to prevent gas and cramping. A high fiber diet plan does the body a whole lot of good.