The Missing Link to Reduce Inflammation
You may have heard in the media about inflammation and how it can cause negative effects on your body. It is important to understand that inflammation is not always the enemy. Inflammation plays an important role in healing and repairing your body. Without inflammation, your body would not heal itself properly after an injury or sickness. Inflammation is also a normal part of exercise. When you train your muscle fibers tear, and inflammation is part of growth and repair of muscle cells.
Inflammation can become a problem when it is occurring over the long term also called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause a list of unwanted outcomes, including chronic diseases like type two diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. There are many lifestyle factors which may help to reduce inflammation, one to add to the list may be dietary fiber.
The benefits of giving your body enough dietary fiber are extensive. Some of the reasons to make sure you are achieving your recommended daily dietary fiber target include supporting gut health and function, promoting a healthy weight, keeping your blood sugar levels stable and helping to lower your blood pressure. Another reason to add to this extensive list could be helping to reduce inflammation in your body.
When your body is in a state of inflammation there are many reactions which occur in your body. One of these reactions is the release of C-reactive protein. C-reaction protein is a type of protein made by your liver and released into your blood when your body is in a state of inflammation. Chronic high levels of C-reactive protein are also linked to increased risk of heart disease in the future.
A review investigated the effects of dietary fiber and C-reactive protein. Human studies were chosen which were at least two weeks in duration. Seven studies were included in this review. Six of the seven studies concluded that when dietary fiber intake was higher C-reactive protein levels were twenty-five to fifty four percent lower.
The amount of dietary fiber which was linked to these impressive results was 3.3 to 7.8 grams of dietary fiber per megajoule. One megajoule is equal to 238846 calories.
It is important to mention that dietary fiber cannot cause these effects alone. The researchers noted that the dietary fiber was part of a combination of inflammation reducing components. This included weight loss as well as a healthy composition of types of fat. This meant a modification of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats which all affect inflammation responses in your body differently. Too much saturated fat in your diet and an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fats can increase the state of inflammation in your body. Omega-3 fat in contrast, is linked to reducing the state of inflammation on your body.
The reasons behind dietary fiber reducing inflammation in your body is not yet fully understood and more research is needed to investigate the mechanisms. However, some of the proposed reasons to why dietary fiber may help reduce inflammation in your body are the positive effects of dietary fiber in promoting weight loss. Obesity is the accumulation of excess body fat. This excess energy within the fat cells excretes compounds which promote inflammation in your body.
Dietary fiber may also help to reduce inflammation due to its positive effects on reducing the amount of insulin needed to be excreted by slowing the rate of sugar into your bloodstream. Other proposed mechanisms include altering how your body makes and replaces of insulin, glucose, interleukin-6, adiponectin, triglycerides, and free fatty acids.
This research emphasizes the need to achieve your daily dietary fiber needs. You are not alone if you do not think you are getting enough dietary fiber each day. It is estimated more than 50% of children and more than 70% percent of adults are not meeting their recommended dietary fiber targets each day.
An adult requires between 25-38 grams of dietary fiber each day. Plant foods which are rich in dietary fiber include whole grains and whole grain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds. By including half of each meal as produce and including more plant sources of protein you can achieve this daily target.
Take home message: If you are one of the many people not getting their recommended daily dietary fiber needs now is the time to start adjusting your diet to allow your body to function at its best for life.
- Fayet-Moore, F., Cassettari, T., Tuck, K., McConnell, A., & Petocz, P. (2018). Dietary Fibre Intake in Australia. Paper I: Associations with Demographic, Socio-Economic, and Anthropometric Factors. Nutrients, 10(5), 599. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10050599
- North, C., Venter, C. & Jerling, J. The effects of dietary fibre on C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker predicting cardiovascular disease. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 921–933 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2009.8
- Ellulu, M. S., Patimah, I., Khaza'ai, H., Rahmat, A., & Abed, Y. (2017). Obesity and inflammation: the linking mechanism and the complications. Archives of medical science : AMS, 13(4), 851–863. https://doi.org/10.5114/aoms.2016.58928