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The Health Benefits of Fiber

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Did you know that most people in the United States consume less than half of the recommended levels of fiber daily? Fiber (also referred to as dietary fiber) is essential to digestive function. Individuals with increased fiber intake compared to those with lower consumption levels can decrease their risk for developing numerous diseases. Not only can increased fiber levels aid in the prevention against certain diseases, but it can also be beneficial to those living with terminal illnesses.

Fiber can be found in a wide variety of foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, legumes, and nuts are just some sources of fiber. Some fiber dense foods include raspberries, apples, and cooked split peas. Fiber can be categorized into two different types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers take a while to leave the stomach, which leaves you feeling full much longer. Insoluble fibers are non-digestible by bacteria, and are considered gut-healthy because they add bulk (leading to quicker satiation) to the diet. Fiber-rich foods are very filling, allowing people to moderate their portion sizes and have the satisfaction of feeling full. This leads to early signals of satiation, which leads to less caloric intake which then allows people to lose weight.

Diverticulosis refers to the medical condition in which small pouches develop in the wall of the colon due to the pressure of constipation. Constipation occurs from the lack of insoluble fiber in the diet. Fiber aids in digestion by absorbing water and moving food along the digestive tract, making bowel movements easier. Along the process, fiber helps regulate the number of bowel movements throughout the day. However, because of fibers ability to absorb water, it is important to increase fluid intake or increased fiber consumption could actually induce constipation. Another benefit of fiber that is it helps maintain blood-glucose levels and lower blood pressure. Two common health complications that fiber can provide preventive measures against are diverticulosis, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease. Not only can fiber be preventative, but it can be useful in controlling certain symptoms of disease. Dietary fiber can be effective in the prevention and/or management of obesity, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids, stroke and so much more.

If you find that you may be suffering from lack of fiber, obesity, high blood pressure, or IBS, schedule a consult with Dr. Burns at The Bien-Etre Center. Dr. Burns works with patients to help restore and regulate their body in a natural way and can answer your questions about fiber and replacing what your body is naturally missing.