You know the spiel – eat more fiber! And even though you’re probably trying to achieve that daily norm, you are most likely not getting enough, nevertheless. And, sadly, it’s negatively impacting your health.
Fiber is a carbohydrate that comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water. When it enters the digestive tract, it ferments and absorbs water to become gelatinous. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and does not change its form even in the digestive tract.
Both types of fiber are found in plant foods, such as grains, fruits, legumes, and vegetables.
But what exactly is the hype surrounding fiber all about? Well, fiber works in many ways to help support healthy digestion along with a healthy heart, too. So if you’re not getting enough, you may notice some of the following symptoms.
You’re not visiting the bathroom
First and foremost, if you do not consume enough fiber you will find yourself not visiting the bathroom as often. Or, on the other hand, you’ll be straining and pushing on the toilet for quite some time.
Lack of fiber leads to constipation, because fiber is necessary to bulk up our stools, so if we don’t have enough, we end up straining to go.
Ideally, it’s best to get fiber from food sources, but every now and then supplements are okay to give us a boost. Just remember to drink plenty of water because not being hydrated while amping up fiber can worsen constipation.
You’re hungry more often
Fiber helps keep us full, so it is great to incorporate into our diets if we seek to lose some extra pounds. A low-fiber diet leaves us hungry, which means we most likely opt for unhealthy snacks that can actually add on more pounds.
Fiber breaks down slowly in our systems, allowing us to feel fuller, longer. So if you’re making frequent trips to the kitchen, it could be a sign that you’re low on fiber.
As mentioned, fiber doesn’t solely benefit digestion. It plays a role in heart health as well. Numerous studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of fiber can help reduce bad cholesterol, which clings onto the fiber passing through the digestive tract and leaving our system.
Other studies have suggested that those who consume proper fiber also have a reduced risk of death by coronary heart disease. So you can lower your risk of heart problems by adding more fiber into your diet.
Your blood sugar takes a dive, or spike
Whether you’re diabetic or not, when your blood sugar spikes or dives you can feel it. Foods that are refined or processed break down easily in the body, leaving us with an immediate spike but falling with a crash later. Fiber, on the other hand, helps regulate blood sugar, making us feel steady, energized, and alert.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, regulating your blood sugar is also important as constant spikes and dives can raise your risk of developing diabetes. Therefore, consuming fiber can help reduce your risk of diabetes, too.
If any of these signs of low fiber sound like you, we suggest you start packing on it in order to avoid complications associated with insufficient fiber intake.