Dietary Fiber – Essential for a Healthy Diet
Dietary fibre and whole grains contain a singular blend of bioactive components including resistant starches, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. As a result, research regarding their potential health benefits has received considerable attention within the last several decades.
Recent studies support this inverse relationship between dietary fibre and therefore the development of several sorts of cancers including colorectal, intestine, oral, larynx and breast.
Fibre may be a sort of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are weakened into sugar molecules, fibre can’t be weakened into sugar molecules, and instead, it passes through the body undigested. Fibre helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to stay hungry and blood glucose in restraint.
Fibre also plays a major role in digestive health. Fibre is the fuel the colon cells use to keep them healthy. Fibre also helps to keep the digestive tract flowing, by keeping your bowel movements soft and regular.
They come in two variants, both are beneficial for health. They are:
Soluble fibre, which dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels also help lower blood cholesterol. Sources of soluble fibre include oats, barley, rye, dried beans, oranges, and apples.
Insoluble fibre remains more intact as it passes through the digestive system. This makes insoluble fibre especially helpful in preventing or easing constipation. Foods with insoluble fibres include wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
The benefits of including a fibre-rich diet in your lifestyle
Lowers cholesterol levels: Soluble fibres which are found in beans and oats, help in lowering the low-density lipoprotein which is commonly called bad cholesterol. It also helps in lowering blood pressure and other heart-related diseases which will be looked into detail in a bit.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels: Soluble fibres help in reducing the rate of absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. This is especially useful in diabetic patients thus improving blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fibre may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Aids in achieving healthy weight: High-Fiber foods are more filling than low fibre food thus leading you to eat less. These are said to be less energy dense and will aid in filling the tummy as much as possible, urging you to eat less.
It normalizes bowel movement: Fiber increases the weight and the size of the stool and softens it at the same time. This aids in easy movement as the bulky stool is easier to pass. If you have a constipation problem, these fibres can help you solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to the stool.
Maintains the Gut Bacteria: The good bugs that make up your microbiome feed off fibre-and flourish. As your gut bacteria gobble up fibre that has fermented in your intestinal tract, they produce short-chain fatty acids that have a host of benefits-including lowering systemic inflammation, which has been linked to obesity and nearly every major chronic health problem.
Helps Maintain Bowel Health: Fibers are natural scrubbers that keep your body’s pipelines clear and reduce carcinogenic activity. It lowers your risk of developing haemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Studies have also found that a high-fibre diet likely lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Some fibre is fermented in the colon.
Makes you Live Longer: Yes you read that right. Research has proven that people who have a fibre rich diet had an 18% greater chance of survival when compared to that of those who noshed on less fibre rich diets.
Having Healthier Bones: Fibers, especially soluble fibres are filled with “prebiotics” and are often found in soybeans, oats and wheat have shown to increase the calcium content in the bones making them denser.
Breast Cancer: A research led by doctors at Harvard showed that high fibre intake reduces breast cancer, which suggested that having fibres from a young age can influence the chances of having breast cancer.
How much do you need?
|Men||38 Grams||30 Grams|
|Women||25 Grams||21 Grams|
The sources of fibers
● Passion fruit (1 cup): 25g, 100 percent
● Breadfruit (1 cup): 11g, 44 percent
● Raspberries (1 cup): 8g, 32 percent
● Blackberries (1 cup): 8g, 32 percent
● Boysenberries and gooseberries (1 cup): 7g, 28 percent
● Pear (1 medium): 6g, 24 percent
● Prunes (5 pieces): 3g, 12 percent
● Artichoke (1 large): 9g, 36 percent
● Lima beans (1 cup): 9g, 36 percent
● Green peas (1 cup): 8g, 32 percent
● Lentils (½ cup): 8g, 32 percent
● Kidney beans (½ cup): 6g, 24 percent
● Sweet potato (½ cup, mashed): 4g, 16 percent
Nuts and Seeds
● Chia Seeds (1 ounce (oz)): 10g, 40 percent
● Flaxseeds (1 oz): 6g, 40 percent
● Pumpkin seeds (1oz): 5g, 20 percent
● Almonds (1 oz): 4g, 16 percent
● Raisin Bran (1 cup): 7g, 28 percent
● Shredded wheat (2 biscuits): 6g, 24 percent
● Oat bran (1 cup): 6g, 24 percent
● Brown rice (1 cup): 4g, 16 percent
Is eating too much too bad?
Just as with all the other diets, eating too much fibre is bad for health as it may lead to various conditions like gas, bloating and diarrhoea. A sudden increase in fibre, inadequate fluid intake, and inactivity, along with a high-fibre diet, may increase the likeliness of these symptoms.
The final verdict
In a simplified definition, dietary fibre is a carbohydrate that resists digestion and absorption and may or may not undergo microbial fermentation in the large intestine. This definition is actually the idea of its correlation between consumption levels and possible health benefits.
If you know you aren’t getting enough, have them in a controlled way. The best way is to eat natural products like fruits and vegetables as mentioned above. It is also important to note that you should follow an overall neutral diet to be fit and healthy. So eat healthily and include fibres in your diet.
Consult your doctor or dietician just to be sure as you may be allergic too (in case you think you are).