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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Importance of Dietary Fiber in Your Daily Diet

Importance of Dietary Fiber in Your Daily Diet

 

Introduction

 

Do you know the importance of dietary fiber in your daily diet? Can it help you lose weight? Does it relieve constipation? What about its effect on insulin and cholesterol?

Yes! Today we will discuss the benefits of dietary fiber and more.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
Benefits of Dietary Fiber


It is one of the most important nutrients in the diet. It is also known as roughage.

Fiber is the non-digestible part of plant-based foods. Generally, it is mostly present in whole grains, lentils, fruits and veggies. It has several health benefits from the gut to the heart.

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate in nature and not digested by human gut cells. But it can be digested by the gut flora or microbiota present in the digestive tract and produces the benefits.

So, let’s explore the various health benefits and many more about dietary fiber.


 

Types of Fiber

 

Dietary fiber is generally two types: i) Water-soluble fiber and ii) Water-insoluble fiber.

1. Soluble fiber

This type of fiber can dissolve in water and form a gel-like substance in the gut. By the gut-friendly bacteria, this gel-like substance can be metabolized. It provides some amounts of calories to the individuals.

Soluble fiber provides some health benefits. It reduces the absorption of carbohydrates (or sugar) in the body and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, it also reduces blood cholesterol levels by affecting dietary fat absorption.

The sources of soluble dietary fiber are oatmeal, fruits, nuts, seeds, veggies etc.

 

2. Insoluble fiber

It does not dissolve in water and mostly has intact in the gut. It passes through the digestive tract and remains unmetabolized. It does not provide any calories.

Insoluble fiber plays a supportive role in the digestion. It adds bulk to the stool and helps to pass it easily. That means, it can prevent constipation.

The sources of insoluble fiber are whole grains, peel of various fruits and veggies, nuts etc.

However, fiber can be categorized as fermentable vs. non-fermentable fiber. This category refers to whether gut-friendly bacteria can use or not.

 

 

  Recommended Daily Intake

 

The recommended daily intake amounts of dietary fiber are needed to know. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the recommended daily intake is 21-25 gm for men and 30-38 gm for women.

During pregnancy or breastfeeding, at least 28 gm of fiber must be needed on a daily basis for women.

But only 5% of the total population consumes the adequate recommended intake.

However, it has various health benefits, but eating too much fiber can cause some side effects also, such as gas, indigestion, bloating, constipation etc.

More than 70 gm fiber per day, consumption exerts the side effects.

 

 

Benefits of Dietary Fiber

 

Keep in mind that there are various types of fiber present, while most are useless but some of these fiber has significant health benefits.

 

i.Fiber Can Help in Weight Loss

 

Maintaining a healthy weight can keep you away from a serious illness like heart disease and diabetes and here is the significance of dietary fiber.

Fiber helps to lose weight by suppressing appetite. Fiber drags more water in the intestine, delays the absorption of nutrients and filling the satiety. Finally, it restricts excess food intake.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
Dietary Fiber for Weight Loss


According to some studies, increasing fiber content in the diet automatically reducing calorie intake. Since you end up consuming fewer calories, it fills you up quicker.

So, whenever you get a chance, sneak more fiber in your diet.

There is an effective fiber supplement present for weight loss, which is glucomannan.


know more: Breakfast Foods for Weight Loss

 

ii. Fiber Maintains A Healthy Gut

 

A healthy gut is crucial to maintaining a healthy body. There are several benefits of dietary fiber present to keep a healthy gut.

About 100 trillion, 500 different species bacteria live in our digestive system, both good and bad. They are collectively known as the gut microbiota.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
Dietary Fiber for Healthy Gut


Good bacteria are essential, as they produce nutrients like acetate, butyrate, and propionate. Our body needs these short-chain fatty acids for optimal functioning.

Human cells cannot digest fiber, but good bacteria can. Fiber reaches your large intestine almost unchanged, where these bacteria feed upon them. In this way, fiber produces short-chain fatty acids and promotes the growth of good bacteria.

That means dietary fiber acts as a prebiotic and supports friendly gut bacteria.

So, the fiber in our diet keeps our gut healthy by increasing the population of good bacteria. This is the reason health experts tell you to follow a well-balanced high-fiber diet.

A happier gut means a healthier digestive system!


know more: Healthy Fats- Friends or Foes

 

iii. Fiber Relieves Constipation

 

Dietary fiber can provide relief from constipation.

It absorbs water, increasing the bulk and frequency of your stool. However, a lot depends upon the type of fiber you are ingesting.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
Fiber Relieves Constipation


Generally, Insoluble fiber is believed to help transition the food into your digestive tract faster and responsible for relieving constipation.

But, according to some experts, soluble fibers are more effective in relieving constipation. This is because they are not fermented by gut bacteria and form a gel in the digestive tract.

Psyllium is one such soluble fiber that promotes bowel movement in the intestine and prevents constipation. Sorbitol also has a laxative effect, as it draws water into the colon.

The fiber in citrus fruits and legumes increases the growth of colonic flora. This in turn increases the stool weight, promoting healthy bowel movements.

Wheat bran’s high fiber content acts as a natural laxative and relieves constipation.

Besides constipation, dietary fiber has positive impacts on other gastrointestinal disorders, such as hemorrhoids, GERD, colon ulcers, Hiatal hernias etc.

 

iv. Fiber Reduces Blood Sugar Spike

 

Dietary fiber can stabilize blood sugar levels even after a high-carb meal. If a high carb diet has become your daily habit then try to add lots of fiber in your meal.

Simple carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels faster than fat or protein. If you eat a carb meal higher than what your insulin supply can handle, your blood sugar level rises.

Simple carbohydrates (or sugar) have a high glycemic index, whereas complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods have a lower glycemic index.

Fibers are also complex carb in nature, they slow down the absorption process of simple carbs or sugar in the intestine and lower the blood sugar spike. Additionally, it improves the body’s response to insulin. By increasing insulin sensitivity, high dietary fiber diets may also help prevent type-II diabetes.

If you’re having blood sugar issues, following a high fiber diet with complex carbs may help in the long run.


know more: Zinc-rich Foods for Your Better Health 

 

v. Fiber Can Improve Heart Health

 

According to various researches, dietary fiber plays a vital role in heart health.

One study says that by aiming to eat 30 grams of fiber each day, you may lower your blood pressure as well as reduces body fat.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
Fiber promotes Healthy Heart


On the other hand, water-soluble fiber may reduce blood cholesterol levels. Studies show that soluble fiber, when obtained naturally, lowers both bad cholesterol (LDL) and overall cholesterol levels. It prevents diseases like stroke and atherosclerosis.

Dietary fiber is thought to bind cholesterol particles and throw them out of the system before getting absorbed. They may drop your cholesterol level and help you get healthier.

So, the next time you go grocery shopping, fill your cart with fiber-rich beans, chickpeas, lentils, and legumes.


Know more: How to Prevent Heart Attack

 

vii. Reduces the Risk of Colon Cancer

 

Colorectal, or colon cancer is the world’s third leading cause of cancer death.

Studies have found that a high dietary fiber diet can lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
Fiber Prevents colon Cancer


Experts link this ability of fiber to reduce contact time of carcinogens within the intestine, along with its gut flora-promoting effects.

Fiber can modify metabolism in various ways by producing short-chain fatty acids, modulating inflammatory bioactive substances, and enhancing bile acid deconjugation.

So, add more fiber to your daily diet to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

 

Know more: Benefits of Antioxidants 


Sources of Dietary Fiber

 

Generally, dietary fiber is a plant-derived non-digestible complex carb.

So, the excellent sources of fiber are plant-based foods.

Fruits and vegetables are a storehouse of fiber. It is easy to include fruits and veggies in your daily diet.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
Dietary Fiber Rich Foods


Start your day with an apple. Berries are also rich in fiber, so you can eat them along with your morning cereal and yogurt. Some fruits and veggies have more fiber content in their skin, like sweet potatoes. In such cases, avoid peeling.

Switch your dessert ice-creams with homemade banana versions. Banana is another vital source of soluble fiber. You can also try fruit salad for dessert.

Legumes are an excellent source of dietary fiber and several other nutrients. Makes beans, peas and lentils are your friends. You can add black beans and kidney beans to your diet.

 

Know more: Benefits of Pomegranate 


How to Increase Fiber Intake

 

You can increase daily fiber intake by small changes in your diet. The recommended daily intake should be kept in mind.

These steps you can follow to increase dietary fiber intake:

i. Includes more fruits and veggies in daily diet. Avoid peeling.

Importance of Dietary Fiber
try to avoid peeling


ii. Replace pasta, white bread with whole grains.

iii. Increase beans and lentils consumption to soup, salad and side dishes.

 

know more: Importance of Alkaline Water for Your Better Health 


Now, The Conclusion

 

Dietary fiber is one of the most significant nutrients in the daily diet. It has various health benefits.

It acts as a prebiotic and provides short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the intestinal wall.

On the other hand, fiber reduces constipation and other digestive disorders, such as bloating, GERD, hemorrhoids etc.

Additionally, fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut, suppresses appetite, reduces sugar absorption, reduces cholesterol and control blood sugar as well as maintain a healthy heart.

To increase fiber intake, add more plant-based food in your diet. Always Keep fresh fruits and vegetables nearby, so you can snack on them when hungry.

Eat in-season fruits and vegetables. When you go grocery shopping, do not buy fruits and veggies from the cold storage section.

Another thing to remember is to eat the whole fresh fruit rather than drinking its juice. Juices contain more calories, high added sugar and less dietary fiber than the actual fruit.

You can also use fresh veggies in your soups and sauces. For example, broccoli and fresh carrots in spaghetti sauce are healthy and taste delicious.

At last but not least, if you are aiming to lose weight and a healthy lifestyle, staple a variety of fiber from fruits, veggies, whole grains n your regular diet.

 

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