Treating and Preventing Disease With Dietary Fiber | Revere Health

For many people, an increase in fiber intake as part of a regular diet can help with the prevention and reduction of several very common medical conditions. Eating the right high-fiber foods can have positive benefits across several major health areas–here’s some information on what those health benefits are, plus a general range for the proper level of fiber in your diet.

What Can Fiber Help With?

The right fiber consumption can help with a number of medical areas, including:

  • Treat hemorrhoids – proper intake of fiber can help treat hemorrhoids when they are present; on the flip side, levels of fiber that are too low can contribute to hemorrhoid formation in the first place
  • Prevent and treat hyperlipidemia
  • Prevent constipation
  • Prevent diverticulosis, along with exercise and weight loss if needed – like with hemorrhoids, inadequate levels of fiber are associated with higher risks of developing diverticulosis
  • Reduce LDL cholesterol levels
  • Reduce risk for obesity and diabetes
  • Reduce risk for heart disease

Children with chronic constipation consume less fiber on average than their peers who do not have these issues, a sign that fiber is important even at a young age. But how much fiber do you need?

Proper Fiber Consumption Levels

In general, the basic recommendation for healthy people is to consume between 25 and 35 grams of fiber per day. Per the Mayo Clinic, more specific recommendations based by gender are as follows:

  • Females: 21 to 25 grams per day
  • Males: 30 to 38 grams per day

If you’re below these thresholds and looking to increase your fiber intake, it’s best to do so in a gradual manner. This will help you avoid certain side effects that can come with eating too much too quickly, which can include bloating and significant flatulence in many cases. Look for ways to slowly increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.

One caution here: beware of many of the products out there labeled as “whole grain.” These products are often labeled this way despite containing very little actual fiber; you need to look beyond those claims and spend time actually examining the food labels before purchasing. Look for products that have at least three grams of fiber per serving.

For a list of foods that are high in fiber and the appropriate serving sizes, this resource is good to keep on hand. Your doctor can offer additional recommendations on your fiber intake and how it might help with various conditions.

My profession allows me to interact with people on a level that few other jobs would. The number one way to provide safe, effective healthcare is to educate patients and make sure I listen to and understand their story and what they want to get out of their healthcare.

Sources:

“Treating and preventing disease with dietary fiber.” American Family Physician. http://afpjournal.blogspot.com/2018/02/treating-and-preventing-disease-with.html

“Nutrition and healthy eating.” The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948

 

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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