Five Little-Known Fiber Benefits

Everyone knows that fiber helps you digest food and relieves constipation, but did you know that it also lowers the risk of heart disease? Fiber, which is found mainly in legumes, vegetables, fruits and whole grains, also has several little-known health benefits, and after finding out what they are, you'll be sure to get your recommended daily intake from here on out. The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine recommends that women over age 50 get at least 21 grams of fiber per day.

Write your relationship success story. Find 50+ Singles on Join Free Today!

Here are five little-known health benefits of fiber:

Weight Loss Foods that are high in fiber are less energy dense than others, meaning they tend to have fewer calories for the same amount of food. They also take longer to eat, which is why they are used frequently in diet programs. Since fiber-rich foods generally require more chewing time, your body can more easily evaluate when you are full Also, a high-fiber diet will help your feeling of fullness last longer, making it more likely that you will be able to resist those tempting between-meal snacks.

Lower Cholesterol Soluble fiber, found in beans, peas, prunes, apples, flaxseed and oats, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels by reducing the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" kind of cholesterol. Studies have shown that consuming between 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber each day can lower cholesterol by nearly 20 percent. Make sure to get at least five to ten grams of soluble fiber per day to get the benefit.

Blood-Sugar Control Fiber tends to slow down the body's absorption of sugar, which can help improve blood sugar levels. A fiber-rich diet can be especially helpful for those with type 2 diabetes, since fiber aids in preventing blood sugar spikes. In fact, studies have shown that diets without sufficient fiber lead to type 2 diabetes and hypoglycemia. Soluble fiber is your best bet for controlling blood sugar levels. It works by slowing down the absorption of sugar from the intestinal wall into the blood stream. This type of fiber can be found in vegetables, pear, lentils and legumes.

May Fight Colon Cancer Some studies have shown that fiber helps prevent colon cancer, while others have been inconclusive. This potential link was first hypothesized in the 70s when researchers observed that African natives who consumed fiber-rich diets had a decreased risk of colorectal carcinoma. Even though studies have obtained contradictory results, we do know that there are no negative effects of eating fiber. Therefore, it can't hurt to load up on fiber, and it might even keep you from getting cancer.

Increases Supply Of Antioxidants Many of the foods that contain fiber also contain antioxidants, which are generally good for your cells and your overall health. Fiber-rich foods such as leafy greens, berries, pecans, whole-grain cereals, beans, and oats are great sources of antioxidants.

Also Popular On ThirdAge:

6 Excuses For Not Saving For Retirement

The Six Best Ways to Prevent High Cholesterol

4 Bone Friendly Foods That Help Prevent Osteoporosis