Don’t trust me, trust the benefits of dietary fiber! Here’s 5 of them:
So now that you know what psyllium is, and you’ve browsed the store with some interest, you might want to know a bit more about the benefits of dietary fiber. Your doctor has advised you to get more fiber, but a doctor telling you to get more fiber sounds a little bit like your mother threatening to keep you at the dinner table all night if you don’t eat your broccoli. You know it is good for you, but you are not yet convinced that it is something you want to do. Well lucky for you, dietary fiber won’t just leave you hanging there. It has a wealth of benefits, and if it is as easy as mixing some fiber with your smoothie in the morning, then why in the world are you not taking advantage of it yet?!
Okay, let’s get 5 of those benefits rounded up to give you a better picture of why I am a borderline fiber-pusher.
1. Dietary fiber makes you feel full!
This to me is an awesome reason in and of itself to start taking a dietary fiber supplement like the psyllium husk powder from Now Foods (reviewed here). In order to lose weight, some weight-loss experts advise taking a glass of water before a meal to help you feel full faster and eat less. Great idea, except I have yet to have a glass of water stop me from eating that final piece of chocolate cake at the end of an already large meal. But what if you could swallow a sponge with that glass of water that would expand in your stomach and make you truly feel full? Well, that is exactly what fiber like psyllium husk does! It absorbs the water and expands into a gel-like substance in your stomach that makes you feel fuller than with just water. When I started taking dietary fiber, I would take it immediately after arriving home from work. This is a great way to quell any hunger pains while I prepare dinner. It significantly reduced the amount of snacking I would do while cooking too which helped maintain my healthy eating habits.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be greatly relieved by dietary fiber.
If you have read the About Me page, you will know that I had some unfortunate gut issues when I was (a little) younger. It is also the reason that a doctor first recommended I use a dietary fiber and prescribed Metamucil… AND. IT. CHANGED. MY. LIFE. Now, I am not saying that Metamucil will have the same effect for everybody that takes it, but it has been proven that dietary fiber assists with the regulation of symptoms associated with IBS. And if you keep it up, you might even discover what the elusive “ghost wipe” is all about….
3. Don’t want to experience complications with or exasperate hemorrhoids?
Being irregular presents symptoms of diarrhea or constipation, and both have been identified as leading contributing factors in the development or exasperation of hemorrhoids. While some people accept hemorrhoids as a fact of life, I can’t see why one would even risk it if dietary fiber can make such a big difference in the avoidance and fighting of hemorrhoids.
4. Lower Cholesterol for the win!
Do all dietary fiber supplements lower cholesterol? Not necessarily, but there are tons of studies that show that soluble dietary fiber, in particular, is directly linked to lowering levels of LDL cholesterol. Many of the bigger players in the dietary fiber space also claim this in their product descriptions and marketing material which is encouraging as they wouldn’t be able to make claims like that without some substantive proof and studies. I have to admit that I am not sure if my LDL cholesterol levels are down since I started taking Metamucil dietary fiber given that I didn’t do a before and after, but what a great idea for one of you readers. Volunteers?
5. Let’s slow that sugar absorption levels down with fiber.
Regular dietary fiber use can slow the absorption of sugar in the body. This is not something that will happen overnight, but with continued use, this will be very beneficial to someone who wants to control their sugar absorption levels, such as a person diagnosed with diabetes.
There are a few things that dietary fiber does that helps the heart and with general heart health. We’ve touched on some above like lower cholesterol and weight loss, but some studies have also shown dietary fiber to help with lowering blood pressure and lowering risks for strokes.
There are great benefits to increasing your fiber intake. Most of us don’t get enough fiber out of our regular diets and a dietary fiber supplement is a great way to complement your healthy diet with the fiber you need. Are there any benefits of dietary fiber that you were not aware of before today, or others that you have heard of?