Unfortunately enough, fiber is often ignored when someone talks about or opts for a balanced diet. All talk focuses on changes in protein, carbohydrate, fat, and water intake while fiber takes a backseat.
This however, is not a very good approach. Consuming adequate fiber is as important as having the rest of the nutritional components.
There are two types of fiber, namely soluble and insoluble. Of the two, soluble fiber dissolves in water and slows down digestion. On the other hand, insoluble fiber neither dissolves nor absorbs in water but passes through the digestive tract, speeding up the movement of food.
Here is why fiber should be an essential part of your diet.
Can help regulate blood glucose levels
Fiber intake has been associated with maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Soluble fiber is considered especially beneficial as it can help control blood glucose levels by slowing digestion and preventing sudden blood glucose spikes that can occur after a low fiber meal.
Can help normalize bowel movements
A significant benefit that fiber has for the digestive system is that it softens stool and helps in its excretion from the body. In fact, it is a highly recommended remedy for people who suffer from constipation. A diet rich in fiber greatly helps overcome this uncomfortable issue.
Can help with weight management
Fiber also plays a vital role in weight management. By consuming enough fiber, you fill your stomach so that the brain receives messages of satiety or of being full. This will relieve your hunger. However, fiber cannot be digested by your body, so it will not accumulate in it.
Complications of inadequate dietary fiber
A lack of fiber in diet can lead to many complications involving the digestive system. Constipation is merely the milder consequence. It can also lead to a disturbance in the normal and naturally occurring flora/bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract.
The amount of recommended fiber intake varies from person to person.