Can More Fiber Mean Fewer Health Risks?
The words “high-fiber diet” might inspire some humorous musings. Many a comedy skit has tackled the connection between fiber intake and certain unspeakable bodily functions. For all the laughs we enjoy, though, some people take the research seriously.
A recent study, analyzing over four decades of research on fiber and its health benefits, suggests an increased daily intake of fiber-rich foods may help reduce not only weight and cholesterol levels, but also the risk of chronic diseases. The study, published in The Lancet, revealed that a higher inclusion of fiber in the diet among patients tested found:
- A 22% decrease in stroke risks
- A 16% decrease in Type 2 diabetes risks
- A 30% decrease in coronary heart disease risks
Do You Need More Fiber?
According to the American Heart Association, 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber is the recommended daily intake, though it’s estimated adults in this country eat half the amount. The road to improved overall health isn’t as simple as doubling down on a plate of whole grain pasta, however. If you are concerned about the amount of fiber in your diet, you may wish to consult with a nutrition expert to determine your best course of action.
Recommended foods high in dietary fiber include:
- Beans and lentils – both are also a good source of folate and protein
- Almonds – a popular snack with heart-healthy qualities
- Pears and apples – two of the most fiber-rich fruits
- Broccoli – nutrient-dense and high in antioxidants and vitamins
When adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet, it is important to counter intake with fluids, preferably water, to avoid constipation. As with any type of food, moderation is key in a balanced eating plan. If you haven’t included fiber and increase intake too quickly, it could lead to cramping, bloating, and other gastric issues.
Before making any serious modification to your diet and exercise routines, it’s recommended to consult with an expert to ensure optimal results. At Bon Secours, our team offers a medically supervised program designed to help with safe, effective weight loss. Contact us today for more information and know your options.