The Health Benefits Of A High-Fiber Diet
Fiber isn't just for old people or when you're feeling a little constipated. Adding more fiber to your diet can do wonders for your overall health:
Good For Weight Loss
The reason why dietary fiber can help a person lose weight is simply because it takes longer to break down and thus keeps you feeling full for longer.
Prevents Heart Attacks
Several studies have associated a high fiber diet with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. One Harvard study of 40,000 adult men found that those who ate a high-fiber diet had a 40 percent reduction in heart disease risk, compared to those who ate low-fiber diets.
Fiber is the best material for moving along digested food that would otherwise pass with greater difficulty.
Keeps Your Colon Healthy
A high fiber diet can help to prevent hemorrhoids and small "pouches" known as diverticuli from developing along the colon, The latter condition can lead to diverticulitis, in which the pouches become inflamed or infected. While this is a common and mild illness, it can lead to complications like a tear in the colon.
Lowers Your Cholesterol
Soluble fiber can play an important role in reducing low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol. The way this works is that fiber interferes with absorption of bile in the intestines so that it is excreted in the feces. To make up for this loss, the liver will need to make more bile salts which uses cholesterol. To obtain the cholesterol necessary to make more bile salts, the liver will then have to increase its production of LDL receptors. In the long run, this is an efficient way to control your cholesterol levels.
Helps Prevent Diabetes
Long-term studies have shown that a diet high in fiber can lead to a decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, especially in high risk groups. Dietary fiber helps in slowing the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, which in turn helps to regulate blood sugar levels. That's especially important for those who suffer from diabetes or are susceptible to becoming diabetic.
A study published in 2011 found that those who met or surpassed the government fiber requirements (14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed) were more likely to be around after a nine-year follow up. The group that consumed the most fiber had a 22 percent reduced risk of dying from any cause in the course of the follow up.
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