Fiber in Your Daily Meal
Fiber is plant roughage — the part of veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and seeds that resists digestion. Now you might think why do we eat it when it’s eventually going to come out? Fiber makes you feel full. Fiber is made up of the indigestible parts or compounds of plants, which pass relatively unchanged through our stomach and intestines. Hence, it is important as Fiber helps clean out our digestive system and get rid of things (namely extra hormones, cholesterol, toxins and waste) that shouldn’t be there.
Dietary fiber is mainly needed to keep the digestive system healthy. It also contributes to other processes, such as stabilizing glucose and cholesterol levels. Fiber also provides a plethora of other health benefits, including proper colon health and intestinal bacterial balance. In addition, fiber-rich foods are essential for a strong immune system, faster metabolism and weight control, diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention, beautiful skin and better overall health.
There are two categories of fiber and we need to eat both in our daily diets, which are:
Soluble fiber absorbs liquid, swells and is readily digested by intestinal bacteria. It ferments and produces gases in the digestive tract. One of its major roles is to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Soluble fiber can also help with constipation.
Insoluble fiber has a laxative effect and is found in fruit and vegetable skins, wheat, wheat bran, rye and rice. A major role of insoluble fiber is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as hemorrhoids. Good sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and whole grain foods. It’s crucial for hearty, healthy bowel movements, which should be excreted at least once or twice a day.
There’s a big difference between how much fiber the average person is eating and how much they should be eating for optimal health. The recommended intake for disease prevention is 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories consumed, which averages to at least 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. Now you will ask me how it controls weight? Fiber makes you feel full. Add fiber to your meals and you’ll eat fewer calories. Consume fewer calories than you burn and you’ll lose weight. It’s that simple. Increase the amount of fiber in your diet and you’ll have less room for the concentrated, high calorie foods that make you overweight. The key is adding more high fiber foods to what you already eat.
Fiber has no magical fat-burning properties. It simply helps us feel full without adding a lot of extra calories to your diet. A high-fiber diet is protective against weight gain. High-fiber foods tend to have a lower energy density, which means they provide fewer kilojoules per gram of food. As a result, a person on a high-fiber diet can consume the same amount of food, but with fewer kilojoules (calories). The extra volume can help us feel satisfied sooner, and since fiber stays in our system longer than many other nutrients, it can also help to feel fuller longer. It delays the absorption of sugars from the intestines. This helps to maintain lower blood sugar levels and prevent a rapid rise in blood insulin levels, which has been linked with obesity and an increased risk of diabetes.
The principal advantage of a diet high in fiber is in improving the health of the digestive system. The digestive system is lined with muscles that massage food along the tract from the moment a mouthful is swallowed until the eventual waste is passed out of the bowel (a process called peristalsis).
Hence, Fiber forms an integral part of our diet and also helps to loose and maintain proper weight.
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