The Benefits of Fiber
Did you know that consuming enough of the right type of fiber at the right times may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, a heart attack, cancer, hemorrhoids and obesity?
The key is to do it right. Because, if you consume too much, have GI sensitivities, or you are looking to whole grains to supply you with your daily requirements, things could go horribly wrong.
And you could miss out on all of the benefits of dietary fiber.
More on that later. Let’s look at those juicy benefits first…
THE BENEFITS OF FIBER
So when it’s consumed in the right way, fiber can endow you with:
Smooth Blood Sugar Curves
Whether you’re looking to soften the blow of blood sugar spikes and crashes—or you suffer from a condition like diabetes that affects your blood sugar—dietary fiber is your ally.
Studies show that the fiber acts like a cushion in your digestive system, slowing down how fast sugar is absorbed into your blood stream, and lessening the load for your pancreas.
What does that mean for you? More constant and higher energy levels, with fewer energy extremes.
Want to know the added, surprise benefit? Fiber also slows down the digestion of fat, so it can really help you with weight loss and maintenance, too.
Absolutely No Nasty Stony Surprises
Gallstones and kidney stones aren’t something that crosses your mind very often until you have them (ouch) or you watch someone being rushed into hospital with either of these problems.
If it’s not you, you’ll be biting your lip as you watch them rolling around in pain.
And if it is or was you, you’re nodding your head right now.
There’s almost nothing more painful—in fact, fiber is worth incorporating into your diet just for this benefit!
Studies show that fiber may protect against gallstone formation by speeding up intestinal transit and reducing the production of the acids that have been associated with stone formation.
And it is thought to prevent kidney stones, thanks to the same transit-quickening reasons.
Hallelujah and thank goodness you won’t be peeing out any stones.
Fantastic Hemorrhoid Management
Hemorrhoids are mighty common: 75% of all people in the U.S. have them!
Painful times in the bathroom, blood appearing afterwards and itchy irritation is no fun, but dietary fiber can really help.
Fiber reduced the risk of bleeding by 50% in the study group that was given fiber across seven trials.
Those who consumed the fiber saw consistent results over time. So adding more fiber into your diet is worth making a habit!
Did you know that acne and rashes can be caused by yeast and fungus being excreted through your skin?
It doesn’t sound too appealing, but the good news is that fiber (especially fiber like psyllium husk and the magic combination we mention below) may really help move those nasties out of your body lickety-split.
Now doesn’t that sound good? And glowing skin could also be yours: it’s the dream of many.
A Smile When You Jump on the Scales
For most people, weight control is a real challenge.
You might have tried a million different diets. Exercised like a crazy thing.
And still found it difficult to stop yourself from eating the wrong thing—falling off the wagon with (almost) a sigh of relief. It’s hard!
But adding fiber could make it much easier, because while you might be eating all that super-clean, low calorie fare, the fiber fills you up. It stops you from thinking about food all the dang day, morosely glancing down at your rumbling tummy while you’re trying to work because it just won’t let up.
Epidemiologic studies show fiber intake is associated with a lower body weight. Modern medicine doesn’t seem to have worked out why, yet, though there are some theories, like increased satiation.
But eating fiber definitely works. It’s scientifically proven.
It is thought that fiber helps protect against colorectal cancer—thanks to a substance called butyrate, produced by the bacteria that breaks down fiber in the lower intestine).
It is thought that butyrate may inhibit the growth of tumors of the colon and rectum.
And you don’t even have to do anything apart from eat tasty fiber-rich foods (more on that very soon).
A large-scale study also showed that women who eat more high-fiber foods during the adolescent and young adult periods may have a significantly lower risk of getting breast cancer than those that eat less fiber. Nifty.
FIBER AND WHAT TO AVOID
Now fiber can be a godsend for you if you want to prevent GI sensitivities or already have them.
Yes: dietary fiber may reduce your risk of diverticulitis by 40%!
It’s also been seen to provide relief to those with Crohn’s disease.
And soluble fiber has been shown to reduce abdominal pain in individuals with IBS, and improve general symptoms.
However, there are a few things to bear in mind. Because fiber can exacerbate those sensitivities you have.
In fact, there is a whole class of food most people should be avoiding to maximize their gut health and follow the plan that nature intended: grains.
So before you grab yourself a bran muffin, think about the following: grains actually contain anti-nutrients that may put you as risk of intestinal permeability (AKA leaky gut syndrome). That means they’ve made holes in your insides!
Leaky gut syndrome may lead to bloating, gas, abdominal cramps, and contribute to other symptoms like fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, autism, allergies, and more.
The key is to banish grains and eat a healthy (but not excessive) amount of fiber.
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