Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber is that portion of foods that are not digestible. These fibers are derived from plants. Consuming fiber-based foods help to maintain healthy digestive system. Reducing belly fat and losing extra weight largely depend on healthy digestive system.

Types

Fibers or dietary fibers can be of two types. These are known as insoluble fibers and soluble fibers. As the name suggests, water-soluble fibers absorb water during digestion. These fibers increase stool bulk and may decrease blood cholesterol levels. On the other side, water-insoluble fibers remain unchanged during digestion. They promote normal movement of intestinal contents. Many foods actually contain both types. Therefore, when we talk about the difference between dietary fibers and soluble fibers we actually discuss about the general benefits from all fibers at one side and specific benefits from soluble fibers on the other side. Research conducted by the American National Institutes of Health show that most people eat only about half of the 25-plus grams of fiber. But they should consume the whole amount of 25-plus grams on a daily basis. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, dietary fibers of both types are important to good health. Therefore, you should not focus on what type you consume. Instead, you just need to make sure you get more dietary fiber overall. Eating more fruits and vegetables and switching to whole grains can gradually increase fiber-rich foods intake.

Sources

You can find dietary fibers in seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals and beans. In this article, you will read about high dietary fiber foods, their classifications and important roles in good health.

Beans and Legumes

Because of the abundant quantity of fiber, that is available, beans and legumes rank at the top of the list. In case of most beans, a one-cup contains approximately 10-20 grams of fiber. This amount is almost half of the daily minimum recommended amount in humans. An important fact is that, beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. Both of these fibers have different beneficial impact on digestive systems.

Vegetables

Talking about vegetables, three vegetable greens—collard, turnip, and beet greens are rich in fibers. About 5 grams of fiber per serving can be found from these vegetables. They are cost-effective as well. Moreover, whole grain foods can provide with sizable amounts of dietary fiber. These foods normally contain about five to ten grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. This type of foods mostly has insoluble fiber. The ratio of insoluble to soluble fiber is 4:1 or sometimes greater in these foods. In case of oats, there is a balanced ratio of two types of fiber. Among all vegetables collard greens, turnip greens, and beet greens are different and richer in fibers compared to other vegetables. Other fiber-rich vegetables include green peas, winter squash, broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, green beans, and cabbage.

Fruits, Seeds, Spices

There are fiber-rich fruits as well. Raspberries, pears, and cranberries are some of the top fiber-rich foods. Nuts & Seeds are also fiber-rich foods. Flaxseeds, sesame seeds and almonds are found to be rich in fibers. Herbs & Spices are also sources of fibers. Cinnamon is well known to provide with good amount of fibers.

Health Benefits

  • Efficient Digestive Tract Functioning: After you take foods, you will notice that the processed food is slowing inching its way through the digestive tract when a certain period has been elapsed. Sometimes the movement of this processed food is fast but sometimes it is very slow. In fact, between the small and large intestines, food and other waste products has to travel more than 25 feet digestive tract to get to the end of the path. The process of food movement inside the digestive tract is controlled by muscle movement. Whenever there is food inside the digestive tract, the muscle movement happens. In this way, presence of foods in our intestine can influence the muscle movement rate.

Fibers that are of insoluble type remain intact inside our small intestine and they can absorb many waters. As a result, insoluble fibers play a big role in maintaining a consistent food movement in our digestive tract. These fibers also control the pace at which processed foods move.

When the food is digested, the other type of fiber, the soluble fiber helps to pace and regulate the passage of food out of the stomach and along to the small intestine. In this way, soluble fibers slow down the gastric emptying, which is the name of this digestive process. These fibers also help to ensure steady pace of processed food movements.

  • Improved Cholesterol Metabolism: The fibers that are of soluble type, is able to bind with cholesterol in the intestine. These fibers can prevent the uptake of cholesterol into the body. Soluble fibers allow cholesterols to be eliminated in the stool. Fiber rich foods like barley, oats, sea vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, and other foods, such as the skins of cherries, grapes, berries, citrus fruits can lower the cholesterol. Improved cholesterol levels are good for heart health and blood circulations. Moreover, blood pressure reduction and less heart disease are also the positive effects of fiber-based foods.
  • Controlling Blood Sugar: High dietary fiber foods intake on a regular basis can improve blood sugar control. You will be amazed to know that fiber-rich meal can often extend its blood sugar effects throughout the day. A fiber-rich breakfast can steady our blood sugar levels up to dinner. As mentioned earlier, fibers slow down release of food from the stomach. High dietary fiber foods increase production of a hormone that can reduce blood sugar levels. Moreover, with the help of bacteria in the large intestine this hormone significantly reduces blood sugar levels. In this way, the risk of adult onset, type-2 diabetes and insulin resistance are also decreased with healthy fiber intake.
  • Colon Health Benefits: Fiber based foods help to create fermentation process and grow more friendly bacteria. Some of these bacteria can digest specific subtypes of fiber. In this way, fibers assist the digestive process to digest foods, which is otherwise not possible by human body to do. Bacteria can produce specialized digestive enzymes which human body cannot produce. The fibers greatly help to maintain an adequate number of friendly bacteria in the intestine, which in turn helps to maintain a healthy colon. The intimate and mutually supportive relationship between fiber in the diet and populations of bacteria in large intestine is important. These bacteria perform best when high dietary fiber food intake is best. Another matter is that, bacterial digestion of fiber inside intestine help to provide with the cells that form the lining of the colon. The risk of colon cancer is also reduced with regular intake of high dietary fiber foods.

Diet Plan with Fibers

Recommended Daily Fiber requirement for men is 35-40 grams and for women it is 25 grams. Therefore, it is important for you to build a good diet plan that can include all kinds of fiber-based foods. Keeping high dietary fiber based foods in breakfast, lunch, and dinner can help you meet the daily requirements. For example, fresh fruits can be taken in breakfast. In lunch, you can keep black been chili. In addition, in dinner, baked miso salmon along with brussels sprouts and warm quinoa salad can be taken.

This example diet plan can provide with almost 70 grams of fiber for you each day. This amount is enough to ensure a healthy digestive system.

High dietary fiber foods have important roles in maintaining good health, especially good digestive and intestinal systems.

Last update: January 26, 2017 04:11:48 pm

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