Fiber intake is essential for optimal health. A recent study has found that increasing dietary fiber improves health. So what is this fuss all about?
Dietary fiber is the portion of plant food which cannot be digested. It can be grouped as soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber gets fermented in the colon. The insoluble fiber absorbs water and helps in easy defecation.
There are plenty of health benefits from the fiber. A high fiber diet normalizes bowl movements, lowers blood cholesterol, helps control blood sugar levels and helps in weight loss. In other words it relieves constipation, lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
When there is not enough fiber in the diet the stool becomes dry and hard and the colon requires assistance to push the stools forward. The abdominal muscles begin to contribute force which results in straining of these muscles. Now do you know what happens next? It leads to the development of hernias, varicose veins, hiatus hernia, hemorrhoids, fissures and fistulae.
Sounds terrifying! Is it not? Why suffer if you include dietary fiber in your diet. These are the warning signs which signal a diet that is low in fiber content and that includes constipation, weight gain and blood sugar fluctuations.
The terrifying story does not end here. Insufficient fiber in the diet increases colon cancer risk. When the contents of colon move at a better rate fewer toxins are exposed to the interior of the colon. For easy defecation sufficient fiber should be present in the diet. If the contents inside the colon move slowly more toxins are exposed increasing the risk of colon cancer.
So from which food stuffs do we obtain fiber? Insoluble fiber is found in whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
When you increase the fiber content you should also increase the amount of water intake. Fiber can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramps. It would be wise if you increase your fiber content gradually.