Dr. Shayesteh: Health benefits of dietary fiber

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — There are two kinds of fiber and Dr. Shayesteh explains the difference between them and how both are beneficial.

He said fiber contained in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds cannot be absorbed by our digestive system, but still have significant health benefits. He said on average, Americans consume less than half of the daily recommended serving of fiber.

Dr. Shayesteh said insoluble fiber is contained in fresh fruits and vegetables and cannot be absorbed by water. Soluble fiber is contained in oats, barley and flax seed.

One of the benefits of fiber is that because it cannot be absorbed into the digestive system, it does not contribute calories or fat, which aids in weight loss. He said foods high in fiber add bulk to what we eat without added calories. He also said soluble fiber helps prevent constipation.

Dr. Shayesteh said fiber helps prevent Type 2 diabetes and also helps stabilize blood sugars, which decreases cravings for sugar and also aids in weight loss.

He said fiber also helps lower bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure, both which decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. Dr. Shayesteh said another benefit is that fiber found in fresh fruits and vegetables acts as a colon cleanser, which helps prevent colon cancer and other types of intestinal cancers.

He said fiber is fiber no matter where it comes from, but natural sources of fiber such as fruits and vegetables are preferable to fiber found in fiber bars or other foods that say “fiber added.” Dr. Shayesteh said eating whole grain cereal, whole grain or wheat bread and wheat pasta have beneficial results.

When reading food labels, Dr. Shayesteh said to look for products that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. He said he recommends at least four cups of fresh fruits or vegetables per day, but vegetables are better because they contain less sugar.

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