This is an aricle I wrote for HealthMeUp.com some days ago. As I really believe that the power of dietary fibers for your health and fitness is priceless I decided to publish it here at my blog as well.
Figuratively spoken, dietary fibers are the „road sweepers“ of your intestines. They support your body in removing the „remains“ of your food effectively in a short period and, thereby, maintain the proper functions of your gastrointestinal tract.
Dietary fibers belong to the macro nutrition group of carbohydrates (they consists mostly of polysaccharides, like cellulose or pectin) , but they don’t cause the negative side-effects (e.g. a strong increase of the blood sugar level and insulin peaks), which occur especially after eating sugar or refined carbohydrates. The reason for this is that fibers are mainly indigestible and get excreted easily.
But why are dietary fibers so important to you when they get excreted indigested?
Actually there are several benefits for your health that are induced by dietary fibers. First off, they swell up in your stomach and reduce the feeling of hunger thereby. Secondly, some parts of fibers are capable of binding toxins, cholesterol and biliary salts and help the body to get rid of them. The next very important point is that food which contains a huge amount of dietary fibers can slow down the digestion of carbohydrates in your intestines. Due to this your blood sugar level will only rise marginally after your meal (that is also the reason why your blood sugar level increases less by eating a whole apple [with lots of dietary fibers] than by drinking a glass of apple juice [without fibers]). The last benefit I want to mention here is that dietary fibers, combined with water in the intestines, are responsible for an increase of the bulk of the stools. This causes some additional pressure on the intestinal walls which promotes a fast digestion and shortens the residence time of food in your intestines.
All mentioned points lead to the fact that dietary fibers can „clean“ your body from food remains and toxic stuff, lower the release of insulin and lower the level of “bad” cholesterol (which can cause cardiovascular diseases if it is too high).
Foods that are rich in dietary fibers are for example:
Please always remember to drink enough water when you increase the amount of dietary fibers in your nutrition. Otherwise it could lead to constipation. But you should drink a lot of water anyway, because of its healthy benefits and necessity for your body.
In case that you are used to eat food with a low amount of fibers it is very likely that you have sluggish intestines by now. Due to that, the dietary change to food with high amounts of fibers could cause some inconveniences for a short time in the beginning, but these are comparatively small if you take a look at its health benefits).
Recommendation: Eat a lot of foods that contain dietary fibers and always drink enough water!