Fiber is a substance that is abundant in foods from made from plants such as fruits, grains and vegetables is vital in maintaining a healthy diet and digestive system. . Not only does fiber aid the human body in a healthy, proper digestion of food, it also promotes healthy bowel movements. Eating a diet that is very rich in fiber is known to have the ability to promote weight loss as well.
Complex carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber is very important to our health. The majority of Americans do not eat a large enough quantity of fiber in their diets, thus, causing constipation, sluggishness, weight gain and weight retention. Although the recommended dietary fiber intake is to maintain an average of 30 grams of dietary fiber per day, most Americans average only around 12 grams. This is likely one of the main reasons that obesity is so common in the United States and other western cultures in the 21st century.
A diet which is high in fiber assists in promoting regular and soft stools, which in turn prevents constipation. It has also been reported by the Mayo Clinic that fiber may be an aid in relieving the uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, resulting in prevention of hemorrhoids.
Fiber comes in two forms; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber comes in the form of foods such as oatmeal, beans and barley. These types of foods absorb water, which makes for more bulk in the stools while aiding in regularity. This bulkiness reduces the incidents of becoming constipated. On the other hand, Insoluble fiber can be found in foods such as wheat, corn, barley and rice, and it absorbs water as well, however, it forms a very sticky consistency unlike its water soluble counter-part.
Because of the fact that fiber tends to bind fat, it is also a tremendous aid in losing weight. Since foods that are rich in fiber are generally less processed whole foods and are chewy, taking longer to dissolve in the mouth in order to swallow, the body also takes longer to digest it. These whole foods force the body to work hard in the process of digestion. The body ends up using more energy (calories) in doing so. The stomach feels full a lot faster than with foods which have little or no fiber because of this. This greatly reduces the tendency to overeat.
Other health benefits that exist from foods that are high in dietary fiber include a guard against the onset of diabetes, heart disease high and cancer.
Eating a daily diet of foods such as fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains like brown rice, artichokes and buckwheat will help insure a diet high in fiber.