Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, except that it is indigestible. There are two types of fiber. One is the insoluble fiber, and the other is the soluble fiber. These two types of fiber differ based on what happens to them after being absorbed in the digestive tract.
Soluble fibers are usually dissolved by water as it travels through the body and reaches the digestive tract. In there, it will form into a gel-like sticky substance that will hold food in your digestive tract. Meanwhile, the insoluble fibers are those that absorb water and expands. The expanded mass of insoluble fibers helps to push waste materials through the digestive tract, promoting a regular bowel body movement.
Moreover, a good diet with the right amount of fiber could bring benefits like improving gastrointestinal health, helping with weight management, lowering cholesterol, and improving blood pressure. Fibers can easily be acquired through eating fruits and vegetables in your diet. Regardless if you prefer to eat it raw, juiced, or blended, fibers can still be acquired. Other rich-source of fibers are nuts, seeds, legumes, or whole grains.
On average, people need to get their daily dose of fiber to remain healthy. For women, the recommended intake of fiber should be at least 21 to 25 grams, depending on the age. For men, 30-38 grams of fiber is required depending on the age. Although it is quite easy to acquire fiber, scientists have stated that American adults are only getting 15 grams of fiber. With that, diseases that are associated with low-fiber levels have been a problem. Some of the diseases link to a low fiber diet are colon cancer, diverticulosis, as well as unhealthy cholesterol levels. Losing out on those recommended intakes may then significantly change how your gut functions.
On the contrary, if you are a person who consumes too much fiber, other things could happen. Below are some of the things that could happen if you are above the required amount of fiber.
Eating fiber could reduce constipation, yet, high amount of fiber can also cause constipation. The reason for this is simply because you may be lacking water or fluids. As aforementioned, the soluble fiber mixes with water which forms a gel-like substance, which will eventually be excreted out of the body. If this water that mixes with the insoluble fiber is not replaced, the tendency of having a dry stool is high. Hard and dry stools are usually difficult to pass. Therefore, if there is an increase in fiber intake, the same goes with the water intake should be taken to balance your fiber and fluid accordingly.
Aside from constipation, getting too much fiber can also cause diarrhea. With that, if you are noticing that you have diarrhea, chances are you may be overdosing with fiber. In this case, you will need to cut down your fiber a bit.
Poor Mineral Absorption
One of the many benefits of fiber is its ability to hold food in the human’s digestive tract for nutrients to be absorbed. However, too much fiber can have a counter-effect. If this happens, your body will be prevented from absorbing minerals such as zinc, calcium, and iron.
Loss of Good Cholesterol
Furthermore, fiber is known to help in removing cholesterol from our blood. Although not all cholesterols are bad, too much fiber may also remove good cholesterols in our body, including the ones in our brain and heart. Therefore, in this case, consuming too much fiber could lower the level of HDL cholesterol in our blood.
Although fiber has numerous health benefits, we should still be aware of the potential risk it could cause our bodies. Like most things, you cannot have too many of the good things, and fiber is no exception for that. With that, it is most important to follow the expert’s advice of taking the right amount of fiber in our diet. As well as that, it will also be good to add fibers to your diet gradually and don’t go overboard. Luckily, some of these symptoms can be reduced by simply reducing your fiber intake, drinking lots of fluid, and exercise.