What is fiber?
Fiber-rich foods provide less energy than other nutrients because it cannot absorb completely in the body.
Dietary fiber is parts of plant food that body cannot digest. Indigestible carbohydrates, lignin, a resistant starch portion of food from plants.
Our body can not digest or absorb fibers in the small intestine. Fiber also is known as roughage or bulk. We get fiber only from plant foods. Meat, fishes, and dairy products are deficient in fiber. It passes intact from our body. Fiber-rich foods are the important part of balanced diet. But most of the people do not eat fiber in the proper amount. At least everyone adds 30 gm of fiber in their daily diet.
Mechanism of action of fiber-rich foods
Dietary fiber acts through three mechanism- bulking, viscosity, fermentation.
They absorb water and increase the bulk of stool.
Soluble (psyllium)and insoluble fiber ( cellulose and hemicelluloses)
Thicken the food contents in the digestive system and reduces blood sugar and binds to bile acids in the small intestine reducing the cholesterol level.
Guar gum, beta glucan, pectins
Consumed by intestinal bacteria and increase bulk, form short-chain fatty acids as a byproduct.
Fiber-rich foods are two types
Lowers the cholesterol and blood sugar level. It dissolves in water and ferments in the digestive system. Softens the stool so easy to pass.
Rich sources of soluble fiber
Fruits as apple and banana contain 1.1 gm fiber per .5 cup
Vegetables as carrots and potatoes
Oats, barley, and rye
These do not dissolve in the water so helps other food to pass through the digestive system easily.
To form bulk helps to relieve constipation and maintain pH of the intestine.
Rich sources of insoluble fiber
Nuts and seeds
Oatmeal and beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Plums and prune have insoluble fiber in thick skin and soluble fiber in the juicy pulp.
Dietary fiber found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
Fiber keeps our bowel movements regular, relieve constipation, weight under control. Keep away from diabetes and heart disease. Lowers our cholesterol level, prevent from colon cancer, kidney stones.
Daily requirements fiber-rich foods
25 gm fiber for women
35 – 40 gm fiber for men
3 parts insoluble fiber and 1 part soluble fiber
Cooked dry beans (legumes) .5 cup contains 8 gm of fiber
Dark green leafy vegetables .5 cup contains 6.4 gm fiber
28 gm contains 2.4 gm per serving
These are marketed as nutritional supplements in gastrointestinal disorders, reducing body weight and lowers the cholesterol.
Soluble fiber supplements used in irritable bowel syndrome due to prebiotic soluble fiber inulin and oligosaccharides give relief bowel diseases. Insoluble fiber resistant corn starch reduce symptoms in ulcerative colitis.
Functions of fiber-rich foods for good health
Fiber forms the bulk and softens the stool. It maintains the bowel healthy and prevents constipation. Increase rate of toxic substances from the gut.
Lowers the bad cholesterol level in the blood. Helps in bile excretion. So body absorbs less cholesterol.
Blood sugar check
Soluble fiber reduces the glucose release from digested food so prevent a rise in blood sugar level. So helps in diabetes control.
Eating high fiber diet keep us full for a longer time so we eat less during weight loss program.
Oats, oats bran, psyllium husk and flaxseeds are rich in soluble and insoluble fibers. Our aim is to eat 5 serving of fruit and vegetables per day. So we take 25- 30 gm of fiber in our diet.
Adding fiber to our diet is very much beneficial to our health. If we take high fiber rich foods it protects from heart disease by lowering cholesterol level. Insoluble fibers prevent from constipation, colitis, colon cancer. Diabetic people if eating fiber-rich foods then need less insulin than others. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are full of nutrients so they maintain our overall health.
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