Whether you’re looking to gain health or lose weight, the food you’ll want to have more of is the kind that’s full of fiber.
Fiber-rich foods are good for you in a variety of ways:
- Increased immune support: Certain fibers can increase the levels of beneficial bacteria and reduce the levels of bad bacteria in your intestines. Different fibers have different effects, so it’s important to eat a variety of fibers.
- Increased insulin sensitivity: Viscous soluble fibers and resistant starches found in fiber-full foods can help your body to more efficiently use insulin.
- Increased satiety: When fibers ferment, they produce hormones that help you feel full longer.
- Weight management: Studies show that dietary fiber intake is lower in obese adults than lean ones.
- Increased mineral absorption: Some fibers improve the way the body absorbs minerals, especially calcium.
- Improved digestion: The short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) produced by the fermentation of dietary fibers optimize motor activity of the colon, help to regulate intestinal mobility and contribute to the defense mechanisms of the intestinal barriers. Fiber adds bulk, so it can improve regularity.
- Lowered blood cholesterol levels: Certain types of fibers (beta-glucan, psyllium, guar gum) reduce cholesterol absorption. Studies have linked a high-fiber diet with improvements in serum lipids, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides.
- Reduced glycemic response: Viscous fibers slow glucose absorption and can lower the glycemic impact of foods for a lower rise in blood glucose levels.
- Combat cancer and inflammation: SCFAs may contribute anti-inflammation and anti-cancer benefits.
It’s important to eat a wide range of dietary fibers from different sources to get all the benefits of different types of dietary fibers. To help people get these benefits, the food industry has been adding fiber to commonly consumed foods including yogurt, cereals, breads, fruit juices, milk, tortillas, baked goods, ice cream, candies, and nutrition supplement bars and beverages.
Check the Nutrition Facts Panel on the food you buy for those with 10 percent or more of the Daily Value for fiber.