Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Surprising Benefits Of Increasing Your Fiber Intake

March 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

You may have already known that a diet high in fiber can help regulate the digestive system and ward off constipation, but did you know it can also help improve lung function and lower your risk of developing certain forms of cancer? Let us take a look at just a few of the ways adding extra fiber into your diet can benefit your overall health.

Improved Lung Function

A recent study comprised of over 2000 adults showed that those who consumed fiber-rich foods on a daily basis had improved lung function over those who followed a low-fiber lifestyle. Out of the 2000 test subjects, 68% showed improvement while consuming roughly 18 grams of fiber per day. These same individuals performed better during breathing tests as well, showing fiber has the ability to increase lung capacity.

Reduced Risk of Developing Breast and Colon Cancer

People in their teenage years may not make the healthiest food choices, but those who start following a high-fiber lifestyle early in life have a lower risk of developing certain cancers.

A 20-year study showed that females who ate high-fiber foods (28 grams of fiber per day) during their high-school years had a 24% reduced risk of developing breast cancer than women who consumed low amounts of fiber (14 grams per day). Over the course of a lifetime, the overall risk of developing breast cancer was reduced by 16%. Researchers believe this may be due to the fact that fiber helps to regulate excess estrogen levels in the body.

A related study exposed the effects prunes had on cancer. Lab rats who were fed prunes alongside their normal diet had a significantly reduced risk of developing colorectal adenoma, which is a precursor to colon and colorectal cancer.

Regulated Blood Sugar Levels

Researchers have found a direct link between soluble fiber and blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber slows down the rate at which the body absorbs sugar, and reduce insulin resistance by up to 42%. A secondary study revealed that individuals who consumed roughly 26 grams of fiber per day had a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consume lower amounts.

Researchers concluded that fiber also helps to alter hormonal signals, increases feelings of satiety and slows down nutrient absorption, all of which are beneficial to diabetics.

Other Benefits

As if the above benefits weren’t enough, fiber can also help reduce the risk of stroke, remove excess yeast from the body, reduce the risk of developing diverticulitis, provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome and enhance weight loss.

Now that you know just how helpful fiber is to maintaining overall optimal health, you may begin wondering how much fiber is enough in order to reap these benefits. Although everyone’s individual needs will vary, a good rule of thumb to follow is 25 grams per day for women, and 38 grams per day for men.

To make sure you’re getting in the right amount of fiber, research nutrition trackers online to determine just how many grams of fiber various foods contain. Plan your meals around high-fiber foods to ensure you’re consuming enough to obtain optimal results.

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Frank Salvatore