Dietary fiber is a staple of any healthy diet. Found in many fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, dietary fiber provides a host of benefits ranging from weight maintenance to lowered risk for certain non-communicable diseases. When you think of fiber, you’re likely to recall its relationship to improved regularity and general gut health maintenance. However, the benefits of a high-fiber diet extend well beyond the stomach and intestines, and reach all the way to the colon.
Dietary fiber differs from other nutrients because of its unique ability to survive the digestive power of the body. Rather than being broken down and absorbed like fats or carbohydrates, dietary fiber passes (mostly) intact through the stomach, small intestine, and colon. Because fiber doesn’t break down as it moves through the digestive tract, it adds bulk to the stool, allowing it to pass more easily.
It’s clear that dietary fiber makes trips to the bathroom easier and more regular. But fiber isn’t done with the colon just yet! A high-fiber diet not only helps normalize bowel movements, but it also may help lower the risk of developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease.1 Its symptoms can be painful and, when left untreated, can result in serious complications. Increasing fiber intake can help soften stools and reduce straining during bowel movements, thus lowering the risk for inflammation or irritation of diverticula.
The colon may not always be your first priority when it comes to thinking about and improving your health. While the health of your colon and digestive system should not be discounted, the benefits of consuming the recommended amount of daily dietary fiber are far-reaching. Explore the Smart Choices catalog of posts for more information about the benefits of adequate fiber consumption. And, to get more of the daily fiber you need, Fiber Choice® prebiotic fiber supplements are a convenient and delicious way to get closer to your fiber goals.
1 Mayo Clinic Staff. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic website. Published November 16, 2018. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983. Web.