A high fiber diet has distinct benefits and health advantages from avoiding constipation to reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease. Foods rich in fiber present definite challenges as well. Before you opt to start a high fiber diet, understand how it can help, basic menu items and how even minor changes can boost your health.

First, A Few Disadvantages

Tackling the bad news first, if you don’t increase your liquid intake, adopting a high fiber diet can potentially result in many of the complications you want to avoid like increased and uncomfortable constipation or hemorrhoids.

Whether you increase your fiber by small amounts or adopt a full menu outlook, be sure to drink water and clear liquids to enable proper cleansing of both your intestinal tract and your bladder.

Another disadvantage to a high fiber diet is easily countered: Many people don’t understand that there are two types of dietary fiber — soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber is readily fermented within the intestine and may cause excess gas. Some dietary portions of soluble fiber are good, but too much can become uncomfortable. On the other hand, insoluble fiber is not absorbed by the body and helps carry out waste products. These bulk fibers absorb liquid in the intestine and soften stools. Equalize each type of fiber into your diet for maximum benefits.

Conditions Aided by a High Fiber Diet

Diverticulitis, irregular bowel movements, and weak immune systems are only three conditions that can be bolstered by a well-rounded, high-fiber diet. It can help control your hunger and aid in weight loss, and it can help control your blood sugar as well. A high fiber diet can also help you reduce your cholesterol.

Natural fiber in your diet presents the best benefits, for nutrients are included with the benefits of a high fiber diet. Women should ingest at least 25 grams of fiber per day on average, and men should have at least 35 to 40 grams per day. Unfortunately, the average fiber intake is only about 15 grams, far below the average recommended for each gender.

Fiber-Rich Foods

Oats, whole wheat breads, peas, beans, pumpkin, raspberries, pears, nectarines, peanuts, blackberries and walnuts barely touch the list of fiber-rich foods. Whether you adopt a whole new regime or merely add fiber to your current diet, opt for food items instead of supplement pills for maximum benefit of a high-fiber diet.