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The Importance of Fiber and Your Diet as You Age

two older men sitting together and eating salads as they laugh and smile

Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that is essential to our body’s health. Besides from its nutritional value, fiber has been known to have anti-aging properties. Older people who ate high-fiber diets were 80 percent more likely to live longer and stay healthier. Here at Digestive Healthcare Center, we’re dedicated to educating you on how and why your diet is important for your health. Below are reasons why fiber is an important component of your diet, and can improve both your general well-being and lifespan.

Nutritional Value of Fiber

Fiber is nutritionally valuable. The number one benefit of fiber is that it improves bowel movements and lowers inflammation in the body. Inflammation is fine when your body is fighting an infection, but eating fatty, unhealthy foods could lead to chronic inflammation, which can result in asthma, digestive disorders, and painful diseases later on in life. Fiber also has the power to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. The suggested amount of fiber people should consume daily is 20-35 grams – unfortunately, Americans usually only consume 14-15 grams per day. Let’s change that! A plant-based diet is key to consuming the daily amount of fiber needed, as only plants produce fiber. Try incorporating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into your diet – a Mediterranean diet perfectly encompasses all of this.

Keeps Digestive System Healthy

Fiber is the component that gives strength and structure to plants. In humans, fiber takes on two forms: soluble and non-soluble. Soluble fiber can dissolve and become a gel-like substance. This fiber will add structure to your stool, preventing constipation, diarrhea, and bloody stool. Insoluble fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate, passing through the body practically unchanged. Eating fiber keeps your digestive tract healthy and toned, as your intestines need stronger contractions in order to pass it.

If you maintain a high-fiber diet, it will also prevent many digestive problems. The first of these is chronic abdominal bloating, caused by inflammation in your digestive tract. Not eating enough fiber contributes heavily to increased stress in the lower abdomen, causing hemorrhoids, along with other digestive disorders. In general, fiber both improves your digestive system and protects it against distress all throughout your life.

Decreases Risk of Diseases

Maintaining a healthy, fiber-rich diet can benefit more than just your digestive system. Fiber is linked to a lowered risk of many diseases and cancers. The British Journal of Medicine found an association between whole grain fiber and a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Eating lots of fiber leads to lower cholesterol, which means a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. A study found that those that ate a plant-based fiber diet had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease over those whose diets centered on meat and dairy. As fiber has anti-inflammatory properties, it aids in avoiding and treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In addition, since fiber is non-digestible, it instead ferments in your digestive tract, allowing good bacteria in your body to multiply and thrive. The probiotic benefits of fiber strengthen the immune system and can help your body fight off common infections.

Improve Your Diet with the Top Gastroenterologists in New Jersey

Changing your diet and adding more fiber is crucial for both your current and future health. At Digestive Healthcare Center, we offer the highest quality consultations and treatments from the most highly qualified and renowned gastroenterologists in New Jersey. We’ll meet with you and determine the exact course of action you can take to improve your digestive health. Contact us at one of our three locations today!

Make an Appointment for Comprehensive Digestive Care in NJ

At Digestive Healthcare Center, we want each patient at our three offices in New Jersey to feel confident about their digestive health. We encourage you to contact us today to make an appointment with one of our expert gastroenterologists – don’t wait to start putting your digestive health first!

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