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Gastroenterologists often give the advice, “Eat more fiber.” But why, and what benefits does fiber have for your digestive system?
In fact, fiber is essential to keeping your digestive system running smoothly. It’s great for your stomach, intestines, and overall health.
What Is Fiber?
Fiber is defined as the parts of plants that your body can’t digest. It is divided into two categories: soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, and insoluble fiber, which doesn’t dissolve. Fiber is found in many foods, including veggies like peas and beans, fruits like apples and oranges, and whole-wheat bread and rice.
Why Is Fiber Good for Me?
Since your body can’t digest fiber, it goes straight through your digestive system untouched: esophagus, stomach, intestines, and all. It may seem strange that eating material you can’t digest is good for you. But fiber provides many benefits on its way through your body.
Chief among these, fiber absorbs water and helps to bulk up your stools, making them easier to pass. Fiber helps maintain the perfect balance between loose, watery stools and hard, solid ones. It helps to normalize your bowel movements so you’re never straining, preventing hemorrhoids and other rectal problems.
Fiber also helps control your blood sugar levels, improving symptoms for those with diabetes and reducing the risk of developing diabetes in the first place. This is because fiber slows the absorption of sugar and contributes to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Fibrous foods are also filling. Since they usually take longer to eat and leave you feeling more satisfied, they make it easier to eat less and lose weight.
If you have any questions about diet and its impacts on your stomach and digestive system, contact our office. We’ll be happy to provide recommendations to improve your health.