Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast food that is high in fiber. While fiber can promote good digestive health, it can also cause gas and bloating in people who are not used to a low-fiber diet or those who eat large quantities of fiber in a short period. Start with a small amount of oatmeal and work your way up to a full serving if you find that eating oatmeal tends to give you digestion problems.
There are two types of fiber -- soluble and insoluble -- and they both promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Soluble fiber creates a gel when it comes into contact with water. This gel slows down absorption of nutrients in the intestines. The fiber in oatmeal is mostly soluble. Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, whole grains and vegetables, is not digested, but pushes food through the colon and adds bulk to stool.
Digestive Side Effects
Large amounts of fiber can cause abdominal cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea and pain. The sensation can be quite uncomfortable; however, it eventually goes away, as you become accustomed to eating more fiber. Too much fiber, however, can interfere with the body's uptake of minerals, including zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, states Medline Plus. Yet, high-fiber foods often have a high mineral content which ensures that high amounts of fiber will not cause a mineral deficiency.
Diverticulitis occurs when diverticulosis or small pouches form in the intestinal lining and become inflamed. While a low-fiber diet may be the cause of diverticulosis formation, high-fiber foods such as peas, beans, coarse grains, corn, dried fruits, pickles and cucumbers can all make diverticulitis symptoms worse. These symptoms include abdominal bloating and left side soreness, fever and chills, nausea, vomiting and unwillingness to eat. A liquid diet and then, reintroduction of soft foods after a few days, eases the symptoms.
Diabetes is a group of conditions where the body cannot either make or use insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Prolonged elevated blood sugar levels and high cholesterol can lead to health complications. Fiber may reduce high cholesterol levels that can lead to heart disease. Soluble fiber gel slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, leading to a slower rise in blood sugar levels.
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