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Gut Health and Fiber

If you've been following the latest health trends, you probably know that gut health is a big deal. After all, it's where your food goes and how well it's digested determines many aspects of your life. So perhaps you have heard about the importance of fiber in keeping things running smoothly inside your body?

 

Fibers have long been a dietary staple for cultures around the world. They are essential in maintaining gut health because they help feed the good bacteria in your gut and keep them healthy. Fibers are found in various food sources such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. In addition, in recent years, fiber has been linked to other health benefits such as weight management, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and improved overall well-being.

 

In this article, we'll cover why fiber is so essential for good gut health, as well as some great sources, to get more fiber into your diet. I hope you enjoy!

 

What are dietary fibers?

 

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage and bulk, is plants' parts that you cannot digest or absorb. Unlike fats, proteins, and carbohydrates - which your body digests and absorbs – your body can't digest fiber.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are among the foods that contain the most dietary fiber. In addition to these benefits, fiber-containing foods promote a healthy body weight and lower diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer risks.

 

Soluble versus insoluble dietary fiber

  • Soluble fiber: It dissolves in water but with a dense texture. The gelling properties of these fibers have been linked to several health benefits.
  • Insoluble fiber: These are fibers that promote the movement of material in the digestive system. It also increases the stool bulk, making it especially beneficial to those who struggle with irregular bowel movement and constipation.

 

A high-fiber diet nourishes the gut bacteria

 

Diets rich in dietary fiber promote diversity and enhance the development of probiotic bacteria like lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacteria.

 

Probiotics need to eat to get the energy to function and survive, just like other organisms. Unfortunately, most carbs, proteins, and fats pass through the large intestine and into the bloodstream before being absorbed by the gut.

 

That's where fiber comes in. Since we do not have the enzymes to digest fiber, it reaches the large intestine relatively undigested. The intestinal bacteria, however, have enzymes that can break down most of these fibers. It is for this reason that fiber is so essential for health. They feed the "good" bacteria in the intestine, functioning as prebiotics.

 

Your best fiber choices

 

You may need to increase your fiber intake if you're not getting enough. Some good sources of fiber include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole-grain products
  • Peas, beans, and other legumes

Processed and refined foods contain less fiber than canned fruits and vegetables, pulp-free juices, white bread and pasta, and non-whole grain cereals. This is because the refining process removes the outer layer (bran) from the grain, decreasing fiber content.

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