You may know, in a general way, that fiber is good for you, but how does it specifically impact your health? These are some evidence-based ways that fiber-rich recipes improve your health.
HOW FIBER-RICH RECIPES CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
1. Better Bones (and Joints!)
A 2018 study looked at how high-fiber diets impacted bone and joint health and found that eating fiber-rich foods can help you build stronger bones and help prevent arthritis. When you eat fiber, your gut bacteria produces more of the short-chain fatty acids that fight inflammation and improve bone density,
2. Healthy Weight Loss
Fiber’s anti-inflammatory effect does more than support bone health. Inflammation may also be an underlying cause of weight gain, and eating foods rich in soluble fiber and resistant starch help fight that inflammation.
One type of fiber—called viscous fiber—also helps improve satiety. Satiety is the full feeling that makes you stop eating. Foods rich in this type of fiber include beans, flax seeds, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and oats.
3. Improved Digestion
Are you eating probiotic foods to support gut health? It won’t mean a thing without dietary fiber to go with it. Eating fiber-rich recipes supports those probiotics in easing constipation and improving overall digestion.
Fiber is a probiotic, basically food for all of the beneficial bacteria in your belly. Bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole grains are all great sources of probiotics.
4. Lower Risk of Chronic Disease
Many studies have looked at how dietary fiber impacts our risk of developing chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There is also research on whether fiber helps prevent metabolic syndrome, an early warning sign for diabetes and heart disease.
There is a lot to dive into here, but long story short, as you eat more fiber, your risk of chronic disease goes down.
For example, a 2018 Georgia State University study found that eating more fiber can help prevent metabolic syndrome, even if you’re eating a high fat diet. Another found that eating more fiber can help improve insulin levels, even if you don’t lose weight. You can read more about dietary fiber and chronic disease here.
5. Healthy Aging
Care2′s Elise Moreau explains that “healthy aging” refers to, “aging without developing disability, cognitive impairment, depression, respiratory problems or chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke.”
She points to a 2016 study which found that adults who ate more fiber-rich foods were dramatically less likely to develop these conditions as they grew older. In a 10-year follow-up, the researchers found that adults eating the most fiber were 80 percent less likely to develop these conditions.
6. Lower Cancer Risk
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, there’s also evidence that fiber-rich diets, especially plant-based diets, may also reduce your risk of developing:
- mouth cancer
- throat cancer
- esophageal cancer
- prostate cancer
HOW TO EAT MORE FIBER-RICH RECIPES
Fiber is found only in plant foods, so eating a plant-based diet is the best way to ensure you’re getting enough fiber each day. If you’re used to a more standard American diet, this can feel daunting, but it’s not impossible!
Need help getting started? Here are some great resources for fiber-rich recipes:
Don’t feel like you have to change your whole diet overnight. Take your time, replacing one or two meals a week with plant-based meals to give your routine and your body time to adjust to the change. You’ve got this.