Important to a healthy diet, fiber and zinc help your body maintain proper functioning. These essential nutrients provide different types of benefits. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot digest. It is found in all plants that humans consume as food. Zinc is mineral that your body uses in cellular metabolism.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds legumes and whole grains are all good sources of fiber. However, most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diets. Adult women should consume 25 grams of fiber per day. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that the average American gets only about 15 grams of fiber from her diet each day. Two types of fiber exist, each with different benefits. Soluble fiber partially dissolves in water, while insoluble fiber does not.
A diet high in fiber has a number of important health benefits. Fiber helps to regulate your bowel habits. It also helps to relieve constipation by softening your stools. A high-fiber diet can aid in weight loss because eating fiber helps you feel full for longer. Fiber can also help you control your blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes. Eating a diet high in fiber may help lower your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. A high-fiber diet may lower your chance of developing heart disease, and it lowers your blood cholesterol levels.
Zinc plays a role in enzyme activity, immune function, wound healing, DNA and protein synthesis. It is also important for growth and development. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adult women consume 8 milligrams of zinc per day. Both animal and plant foods contain zinc. Oysters have the most zinc of any food; however, poultry and beef are also good sources. Other foods that have zinc include legumes, whole grains and dairy.
Because zinc is an important mineral for your immune system, a zinc deficiency can cause a weakened immune system. Children and the elderly in developing countries with low zinc levels are at greater risk of developing pneumonia and other infections, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Having a diet with enough zinc can reduce the duration of acute diarrhea and the common cold. Zinc is also important for your eye health and wound healing.
Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.