Why Is Fiber So Important for Good Health? Prebiotics Benefits & More
7 minute read
Fiber is one of the main reasons why fruits and vegetables are so good for you. Most produce contains high amounts of fiber, and this substance is incredibly beneficial to the human body for a number of reasons.
Perhaps the main reason why fiber is so good for you is because it feeds the “good” bacteria that reside in your gut. Here is how fiber’s effect on your gut can give you incredible health benefits.
When fiber is feeding your gut bacteria, it helps keep them strong and resilient within your gut microbiome. This is essential because there are also “bad” bacteria that inhabit your gut, and they are fed on foods that can slow you down. These include processed carbs, high-sugar foods, and other items that are known to cause a dip in your body’s energy levels.
When you are eating a high-fiber diet, it helps to ensure that good bacteria can outweigh the bad bacteria. Fiber is a type of prebiotic, a substance that feeds the good gut bacteria. Promoting good bacteria with a gut health supplement that contains fiber helps you to break down food more efficiently, which gives you clean-burning energy that lasts all day without a crash.
In addition to a boost of energy, eating a high fiber diet can really help with your body’s digestive abilities. The good bacteria in your gut that rely on fiber to grow and thrive are an essential part of the digestive process, so when you load up on fiber, it helps keep your body regular and your digestion smooth.
When the good bacteria in your gut are functioning at an optimal level, you can notice the effects in your digestion. Your gut is more able to break down food, so you don’t suffer from digestive issues that can arise when the bad bacteria take over. Eating a high fiber diet, especially with probiotic foods, ensures that the good bacteria can stay hard at work breaking down the food inside your gut.
Believe it or not, your brain and your gut actually have a stronger connection than you might think. Known as the “brain/gut axis,” this pathway between your digestive system and your brain is used for everything from telling you when you’re full to regulating your hormones.
One byproduct of this connection is that eating a diet that consists of junk food and other processed ingredients that feed the “bad” bacteria in your gut can cause your mood to become disrupted. Eating a high fiber diet and keeping the “good” bacteria happy can result in a better mood overall.
More Restful Sleep
When your digestion is off, it can affect your sleeping patterns. That’s because your body can’t digest food properly, so it isn’t able to convert it into the useful energy your body needs.
As a result, you aren’t burning the right amount of energy during the day, and it can affect your ability to fall asleep at night. Not only that, but once you’re asleep, you may not be able to get that restful REM sleep that your body really needs.
So if you’re having trouble sleeping, maybe shifting your diet to include more fiber could help adjust your sleeping patterns and get them back on track.
As you eat more fiber and the good bacteria in your gut get stronger and stronger, you’ll begin to notice the effects in terms of your bloating, especially after meals. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet involves a lot of processed foods and salty snacks, which can be high in carbs and can gum up digestion by feeding the “bad” bacteria in your gut instead of the good.
When that happens, it causes bloating, which is when your belly becomes distended, which often happens after a big meal. If you’ve noticed this occurring frequently, it could be that your diet is not conducive to good bacteria growth, and you may need to increase your fiber intake.
Gas is another side effect of bad bacteria growth, and it can be remedied by feeding the good bacteria with a strong dose of fibrous foods. Gas can be the result of bad bacteria overgrowth, as they take over the good bacteria and produce more waste and less useful energy.
To help reduce gas, it is a good idea to load up on vegetables that are high in fiber, like celery, which can help ease the digestion process.
Sharper Mental Focus
Just as your gut can affect mood via the brain/gut axis, it can also affect your ability to focus or remember things clearly. If you’ve ever walked into a room and forgotten what you were doing, you know this effect firsthand.
Keeping your gut bacteria in good working order can really help your cognitive focus, even when it comes to everyday tasks.
Fewer Junk Food Cravings
Another side effect of an imbalanced gut microbiome is increased junk food cravings. As mentioned earlier, “bad” bacteria feed on junk foods like processed carbs and sugars.
Eating more fiber will allow the good bacteria to fight back against the bad bacteria, which can help keep those junk food cravings at bay.
Easier Weight Loss
When your gut bacteria is functioning properly and you’re craving healthier, more fibrous foods, it becomes easier to lose weight because your efforts to eat healthy are supported by your digestive system.
Your body can sabotage itself when you’re in a cycle of eating bad foods and feeding the bad bacteria. By adjusting your diet and eating more fiber-filled foods, though, you can get your health back on track, and weight-loss efforts will become easier.
The Bottom Line
So, now you know a bit more about fiber and how it can help your body in a variety of different ways. If you’ve been considering adding a prebiotic fiber supplement to your routine or adjusting your diet to include more fiber-rich foods, maybe this list will give you the push you need to improve your health in this regard.
And if you’re already eating a diet high in fiber, now you know just how it can benefit your health.