Fiber is a substance found in plant and the dietary fiber that you eat is found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It’s very important part of a healthy diet. Eat more fiber to get maximum benefits. High fiber foods can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease other than its main function of bowel stability and strength.There are broadly two categories of fiber and we need to eat both in our daily diets for a better health and functioning of our body.
Soluble fiber – Includes pectins, gums and mucilage, which are found mainly in plant cells. One of its major roles is to lower blood cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flax-seed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Soluble fiber can also help with constipation.
Insoluble fiber – Includes cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, which make up the structural parts of plant cell walls. A major role of insoluble fiber is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as haemorrhoids. Good sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods. Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.
Health Benefits of high fiber foods.
Aids in achieving healthy weight: High fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
Lowers cholesterol levels : High fiber foods like soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flax-seed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipo-protein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
Helps control blood sugar levels: In people with diabetes, fiber particularly soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Normalizes bowel movements: Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
Fiber and ageing : Fiber is even more important for older people. The digestive system slows down with age, so a high fiber foods becomes even more important.High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.
Also, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.So bulk up your daily diet with high fiber foods for satiety, wholesome meal experience and a route to a healthy you!