The nutrient which is mostly treated as less appreciated when compared with different macro and micronutrients is fiber. Many people think that the only role of fiber in the human body is regulating bowels, but no, fiber benefits the human body in many more ways.
So what is fiber?
In easy words, dietary fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate found in foods. Fiber is mostly found in plant foodstuffs like fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
It’s split into two broad categories based on its water solubility:
Soluble fiber: Dissolves in water and can be metabolized by the “good” bacteria in the gut.
Insoluble fiber: Does not dissolve in water.
Fiber is said as one of the primary nutrients which gives relief to constipation. Through consuming fiber, individuals can easily maintain an ideal weight, lower down the risk of diabetes, curing heart diseases. Fiber is the nutrient which a body cannot break down, hence it keeps moving throughout the undigested body. Fiber makes the body’s digestive system clean and healthy, helps in easy bowling movements and flushing out the cholesterol from the body. Research has shown that a diet rich in fiber is associated with many health benefits, including the following:
BETTER DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Fiber help in attaining a better digestive system through easy bowel movements by passing out stools easily. Through this, you will not get the problem of constipation and diarrhea. Also if you consume more fiber rich foodstuffs, you can reduce the risk of diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, gallstones, kidney stones and provide relief to bowel syndrome. Also, high fiber consumption daily will reduce the risk of gastro esophageal reflux disorder.
A high-fiber diet may help keep you fuller longer, which prevents overeating and hunger between meals.
PREVENTION OF DIABETES
Fiber-rich food especially those of insoluble fiber like cereals helps in lowering down the risk of diabetes type 2. While if you are already suffering from diabetes, taking soluble fiber food will slow the absorption of sugar and also helps in the improvement of blood sugar levels. In this way, you can protect yourself from diabetes even after eating lots of sweets. But on the condition of following a high fiber food diet daily.
GOOD SKIN HEALTH
Whenever there is the excretion of yeast and fungus, it can trigger skin outbreaks or even acne. Consumption of fiber-enriched food like phylum husk also called as ‘isabgol’ in India; is a plant seed that help in detoxifying your whole body. And also boosts the health and appearance of your skin.
To follow a healthy heart diet, include fiber-enriched food especially those of soluble fiber-enriched food to boost your heart health. Eating high fiber food will lower down the bad cholesterol level from your heart and boosts good cholesterol level. Also with fiber-enriched food, the risk of metabolic syndrome is reduced. Fiber is also helpful in reducing inflammation, improving levels of good cholesterol and shed off excess weight from the abdomen side.
HOW MUCH FIBER SHOULD ONE EAT?
It’s recommended consuming about 25-35 grams of total fiber per day, with 10-15 grams from soluble fiber or 14g of fiber per 1,000 calories.
Tips for increasing dietary fiber in your diet- (excerpt from clevelandclinic)
• Add fiber to your diet slowly. Too much fiber all at once may cause cramping, bloating, and constipation.
• When adding fiber to your diet, be sure to drink adequate fluids (at least 64 ounces or 8 cups per day) to prevent constipation.
• Choose products that have a whole grain listed as the first ingredient, not enriched flour. Whole wheat flour is a whole grain–wheat flour is not.
• Choose whole grain bread with 2-4 grams of dietary fiber per slice.
• Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
• Choose raw fruits and vegetables in place of juice, and eat the skins.
• Try alternative fiber choices such as whole buckwheat, whole wheat couscous, quinoa, bulgur, wheat germ, chia seeds, hemp seeds, lentil pasta, and edamame pasta.
• Popcorn is a whole grain. Serve it low-fat without butter for a healthier snack choice.
• Sprinkle bran in soups, cereals, baked products, spaghetti sauce, ground meat, and casseroles. Bran also mixes well with orange juice.
• Use dried peas, beans, and legumes in main dishes, salads, or side dishes such as rice or pasta.
• Add dried fruit to yogurt, cereal, rice, and muffins.
• Try brown rice and whole grain pastas.
With this, it’s been concluded that fiber plays a key role in protecting one’s body from being trapped by various diseases. Everyone wants to live a disease-free life that why they must consume high fine enriched food in their daily routine.