Importance of Fiber in Health: Fiber is very beneficial for health; it is derived from plant mostly in the form of carbohydrate. In this article I am going to cover amazing health benefits of fiber.
It is also known as undigested part of food as it can’t be broken down by human digestive enzymes. But fiber considered as a very helpful part of the diet as it provides a huge range of benefits to our body as it helps to prevent various diseases some of them are constipation, heart disease, diabetes obesity gallstone appendicitis, colon cancer, piles, irritable bowel syndrome etc.
Fiber classified in to two types soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fibers (pectin, gums, mucilage) also known as fermentable fiber, it dissolved in water and for a gel like substance. it found in grains like (oats, barley, rye)fruits (banana, apple) beans and pulses(baked beans, chickpeas)root vegetables(carrot and potatoes).
- Insoluble fibers (cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin) it doesn’t absorb water found in whole wheat, whole bran, nuts, beans, and vegetables such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes.
Some plant food oatmeal, bran contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Health Benefits of Fiber #1: Fiber is good for gut functioning
There is a number of bacteria’s lives in gut and known as gut flora, these microbes plays beneficial effect in reducing blood sugar, weight loss, improves immunity and boost brain functioning.
Soluble fibers absorb water and form gel and get digested by friendly bacteria and gives usable nutrient or energy, Feeding friendly bacteria known as prebiotic effect. These bacteria’s lowers the level of inflammatory markers.
Fiber helps to keep regular bowel movements and increase the number of good bacteria in gut and Prevents from constipation, irritable bowel disease and colon cancer.
By absorbing water fiber increases the bulk in stool and make it easy to pass thus it prevents from constipation and other digestive problems.
Fiber keeps normal bowel movement increase frequency of defecation.
Studies say that increase fiber intake lowers the inflammation which can be a major cause of obesity.
Inclusion of fiber in diet helps improvement in irritable bowel disease but on the other hand high dose of bran worsen the symptoms like gas and bloating.
Due to its viscosity fiber increase bulk and makes stool easily to move through the GI tract, promotes gut functioning and prevents from constipation
Some fibers act as laxatives like bran and cellulose good proportion of fiber in diet reduce the risk of constipation, IBS, appendicitis, colon cancer etc.
Health Benefits of Fiber #2: Fiber reduce the risk of colon cancer
Fibrous diet in lifestyle lowers the level of toxic substances and carcinogens increase in transit time there is less time available for contact between bacteria’s and carcinogens.
By increasing transit time there is minimum contact time available for bacteria and carcinogens. Intestinal transit time decreases with low fiber diet and increases with high fiber diet.
Health Benefits of Fiber #3: Fiber Benefits Weight Loss
Shows beneficial role in weight loss: Soluble fibers dissolve water form gel like substances in gut (viscous fiber such as pectin, beta glucans, psyllium, glucomannan and guargum) which slow down the emptying of stomach and increase feeling of satiety and lower the appetite reduce rate of digestion and absorption of nutrients
Fiber rich foods take long time to eat, fibrous food need more mastication which increases salivary secretion and make you feel full.
High fiber foods are low in calorie but need more effort in eating lower overall intake
High intake of fiber form gel which sets in stomach for a long time slows the rate of digestion and viscosity of soluble fiber slows the passage and delay gastric emptying
As you know fiber rich foods are low in calorie by adding these in diet you can easily reduce overall calorie intake and they are more filling also.
Fibers increase the bulk and rate of defecation and slow down the absorption of nutrients and alter the process of fermentation in large intestine.
According to a study published in the annals of internal medicine, adding 30 gram of fiber to your diet can help to reduce weight.
Health Benefits of Fiber #4: Lowers the risk of cardiac diseases
Fiber reduces cholesterol, blood sugar blood pressure and constipation found in oats, barley, rye and fruits.
Well known for cholesterol lowering effect especially soluble fibers reduce LDL (bad cholesterol)and blood pressure inflammation as it cannot digested by human body enzyme resist absorption in small intestine thus it lowers the level of cholesterol in blood
Guargum, pectin is well known for its hypocholesterolemic effect oat bran is very popular to reduce serum cholesterol promoted by various food industries.
By reducing serum fibrinogen it decreases the risk of clot formation which leads to heart problems like narrowing of artery and myocardial infarction.
Some food rich in fiber like Rice bran oil, fenugreek, oats, fruit, vegetable and legumes in diet shows benefit for heart. Oats has beta glucan which decrease cholesterol.
Fenugreek seed rich in fat, protein, fiber mucilaginous fiber has hypocholesterolemic effect. It reduces blood pressure by increasing calcium, magnesium absorption
By affects lipid absorption it lowers the risk of CHD, fiber absorb fatty acid, cholesterol and bile salt in digestive tract.
Fibers inhibit absorption of lipid in small intestine and excrete via large intestine in feces.
Many studies say the high fiber diet helps to lower the cholesterol and blood pressure and risk of heart disease. 25-30 gm fiber per day is recommended by heart foundation keep you health.
Health Benefits of Fiber #5: Helps in diabetes
From various advantages of fiber lowering blood sugar is very important and proven by various studies
Fibers (soluble fiber) decreases the digestion so that carbohydrates and other nutrients, it takes long time in breakdown gradually release glucose in to the blood glucose doesn’t raise too quickly.
According to ADA 25-30 gram dietary fiber recommendation per person per day suffering from diabetes.
25 gram fiber a day helps to reduce risk of diabetes as it alter hormonal signals decreases insulin after meal increase insulin sensitivity, fiber decreases the glucose production from liver
Insoluble fiber (cellulose and lignin) helps to decrease intestinal transit time increase bulk and lowers glucose absorption slows starch hydrolysis and increases peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity mucilaginous fiber which is found in fenugreek seed delays glucose absorption lowers blood glucose concentration also decreases post prandial glucose concentration and requirement of insulin.
Fiber Supplement and Foods
Some isolated fibers used as supplementation psyllium, guar gum, glucomannan used for weight loss taking fiber from natural sources as a whole plant food is better and healthier than the supplement available in market
For better health incorporate fibrous food in daily diet rich source of fiber are bean, legume, flaxseed, asparagus Brussels sprout and oats.
Must Read: You Should Know These Facts while Adding Fiber to Your Diet
- Gradually increase fiber in diet as adding too much of fiber may cause some problems like abdominal discomfort cramps bloating etc as fiber get fermented by intestinal bacteria.
- Some fibrous food contain high amount of phytate content it is known to reduce calcium, zinc and iron.
- If you take it in high amount than the recommendation affect the absorption or availability of vitamin and minerals eating bran and skin of some fruits and plant food which can allow intake of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.
- According to British nutrition foundation 1990, because of alteration in gut micro flora there is a possible chances of developing food intolerance.
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Also read – Reasons Why You Should Eat Breakfast Everyday