Dietary Fiber and Its Importance


Dietary fiber is present in wholegrain cereals, fruits, vegetables as well as nuts and seeds. Fiber is composed of indigestible parts of plants which cannot be broken-down by human body. This compound has to pass through the stomach and intestines of digestion and absorption. The majority of fiber is carbohydrates, protein and fats.

The primary function of fiber is to help keep the digestive system in good health. This also helps in keeping blood sugar in check. Other terms that refer to dietary fiber include ‘bulk’ as well as roughage that could be confusing since certain kinds such as fibers are water-soluble, and aren’t rough or bulky in any way.

There are 2 kinds of fiber, both are essential of better digestion & health life – Soluble fiberInsoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber?

Soluble fiber generally dissolves in water and body fluid forward they are converted into gel-like structure and stored in colon. One of its primary functions is to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower blood sugar level. Additionally, it may aid with constipation.

These are mostly found in plant’s cells, fruits, vegetables; raw fruits and vegetables are the finest sources of soluble fiber.

  • Barley
  • Nuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Oats
  • Husks seeds
  • Dried beans are among the legume’s beans

Insoluble fiber

Insoluble fiber is the fiber that does not dissolve in water or body fluid. 

The slowing effect of your digestive tract is typically overcome by insoluble fiber. It is not able to absorb water, and it speeds up the speed at which help food to passed through the digestive system. The main function of insoluble fiber is to provide bulk to the faeces and stop constipation related problems such as hemorrhoids. Insoluble fiber comprises the hemicellulosescelluloses, and lignin.

Cellulose is an insoluble fiber which our human body can’t absorb. Roots, leafy vegetables, legumes and fruits like pear contain high amount of cellulose. Other nutrient components present in food are easily digested and absorbed by digestive tract rather than cellulose; this offers major health benefits by preventing gastric cancer and heart disease

Hemicellulose they are found in whole grain, bran, nuts and legumes. As cellulose they are also unchanged when they travel to digestive tract. Hemicellulose improves overall health, prevent yeast infestation and also increase digestive capacity.

Lignin also an insoluble fiber which is a cell wall structure of the plants. Bran of wheat and corn, beans, peas, flaxseed, banana (unripe), and avocado are the major source. Antioxidants and anti-cancerous property are naturally present in it along with this lignin prevent overproduction of radicals so that they can’t not cause any disease.

Resistant starch is a kind of carbohydrate which cannot be further digested into digestive tract but this is also essential for the healthy gut. The bacteria that live within the large bowel are fermented and transform resistance starch to short chain fatty acids which are essential to bowel health, other health benefits and also help protect against cancer. Resistant has lesser calories compare to any other carbohydrates.

Dietary fiber is a good source of health benefits. The digestive tract is covered by muscles that help move food through the digestive tract from the time a mouthful is taken in until the final waste is eliminated from your bowel.

Because dietary fiber is indigestible, it adds weight to our feces, and helps keep the digestive system in good condition. This is essential if you want to decreasing risk of developing other illnesses.

Dietary fiber and blood cholesterol

05 – 10 gram of soluble fiber per day will have you to decrease absorption amount of cholesterol into bloodstream. If the high levels of blood cholesterol are elevated the presence of plaques and fatty streaks are formed on the walls of arteries. Further they can become dangerously narrow, and can result in an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.

It is believed that soluble fiber lowers the blood level of cholesterol via binding the bile acids (synthesize from the cholesterol in liver) to digest fats from dietary sources and excreting the cholesterol.

Weight loss and dietary fiber

A diet rich in fiber helps prevent weight gain. Foods with high fiber content tend to have less energy dense, meaning that they are less calories per gram of food. This shows that those persons who follow a high-fiber diet is able to consume the exact amount of food however, with less calories.

Soluble fiber is an emulsion that slows the emptying process in stomach as well as the speed at which food passes in the digestive tract. This fiber can absorb water and covert itself into gel like structure which will help in emptying process also this speed up digestive process. Fiber can also delay the absorption of sugars and cholesterol by the digestive tract.

This can help in maintaining blood sugar levels and avoid a rapid increase the levels of insulin in your blood which is linked to weight gain and a higher chance of developing diabetes.

Dietary fiber and diabetes

Patient suffering from diabetes, must have a diet rich in fiber, this will help them in slowing the absorption of glucose through the small intestine to the blood. This can reduce the risk of an increase in insulin, hormones created by the pancreas which helps stabilizing the blood sugar levels.

Soluble fiber is highly recommended to diabetes patient. Oats, black beans, apples, avocadoes, sprouts and peas are packed with soluble fiber. 

Dietary fiber in cancer, and heart disease

Diet which are high in fiber and wholegrain intake can reduce the risk of heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes weight gain and obesity and also increase the risk of death from all causes. Soluble fiber present in oats- oats bran raw fruits and vegetables, flaxseed, beans will help to prevent formation of LDL (low density lipo-protein) \ bad cholesterol level in blood stream which can leads to heart complication like inflammation and blood pressure.

High fiber diet also reduces cancer risk in life. Mainly insoluble fiber are recommended to prevent constipation because some of the cancer treatment medication can cause constipation to patient.

Fiber in bowel cancer

Studies have proven that dietary fiber cereal fiber, wholegrains and cereal fiber protect against certain types of cancer by diluting their contents, increase bowel size and helps to make bowel softer. Fiber has been believed to reduce the risk of developing cancer in the bowel through increasing the amount of stool in the stool as well as reducing carcinogens in the diet and reducing the length of the colon’s transit.

Additionally, the bacterial fermentation of fiber can lead to the creation in short-chain-fatty acids believed to protect against bowel cancer. This short chain fatty acid is by product of dietary fiber and resistance starch

The ageing process and dietary fiber

For elderly people, fiber is particularly crucial. The digestive system slows with age, which is why eating a diet high in fiber becomes more vital. this will prevent constipation as well as keep their heart in good shape.

Be careful to consume plenty of water. Constipation may persist despite a high-fiber diet unless you also drink lots of fluids throughout the day. Certain breakfast cereals that are high in fiber might contain around 10g of fiber per serving. If the cereal isn’t well-hydrated it could cause constipation or abdominal discomfort you could improve the diet by adding or shuffling food items which can benefits you’re eating habits and improve digestion.

Simple tips for increasing the amount of fiber you consume daily include:

  • Consume breakfast cereals that include wheat, barley, or oats.
  • Switch to multigrain or whole meal brown rice and breads.
  • Include a second vegetable in your dinner every night.
  • Snack on dried nuts, fruit as well as whole meal crackers.
  • Total amount of dietary fiber needed:

Men are advised to aim for 30 to 38 gram of fiber per day, while women should aim for 21 to 25 gram daily.

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