When I looked to research how to naturally control cholesterol, an increased intake of fiber was among the recommended actions to lower cholesterol with diet. But, why is fiber good for you and what else is it good for?
Fiber can help improve heart, skin and digestive health as well as help in losing or maintain your weight and help control your blood sugar levels.
There are 2 different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is the type that helps to control blood sugar and can help lower blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber is best found in oatmeal, legumes, apples and citrus fruit among others.
Insoluble fiber helps to keep you feel full to promote weight maintenance/loss and also helps keep you regular. You can find insoluble fiber in whole-grain foods as well as skins and seeds of fruits and vegetables.
Fiber for Heart Health:
The Heart & Stroke Foundation says that a healthy Canadian adult needs 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day, but that most Canadians average about half of that with an average daily intake of about 14 grams. Fiber has antioxidants that are good for the heart because they help to prevent free radicals from forming which may prevent diseases.
Diet for Healthy Skin:
Fiber can help prevent rashes and acne as it can help to move fungus and yeast out of your body. Psyllium husk, in particular, is known to help promote skin health.
Fiber for Digestive Health:
Fiber is great for digestive health. It helps in keeping you regular, especially insoluble fiber helps keep everything moving through the digestive tract.
Soluble fiber feeds healthy bacteria in your intestines that can improve your immune system and even may prevent allergy development.
Digestive condition improvements can also be seen from a diet high in fiber. Conditions like Irritable bowel Syndrome, Diverticulitis, Ulcers and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder can be prevented or managed or have a lower risk through high fiber diets. One thing to note is that some high-fiber, such as wheat bran could worsen symptoms, so speak to your doctor and do your research.
Fiber for Weight Loss:
Fiber has been shown to help keep people feeling fuller for longer. So, while a diet rich in fiber won’t necessarily make you lose weight, it can be a tool to help keep the calories down.
The Canadian Diabetes Association says that soluble fiber may help control blood sugar by delaying the emptying of your stomach. This slows the entry of sugar into the bloodstream and helps keep blood sugar from spiking. By lessening these spikes, you can help to prevent type 2 diabetes as well as strokes.
So while, I will look to increase my fiber intake as part of my goals to naturally reduce my cholesterol, there are clearly many other benefits to our overall health.
Have you ever increased your fiber intake and found a difference in your health?