Fiber- we see this word everyday in newspapers, on the internet, and in food labels. Why do doctors and nutritionists recommend a daily intake of fiber, and how does it help in getting people to lose weight?
The Fiber in Foods
The fiber found in food is not the same type of rope fiber used to tow cars when they break down. Fiber comes in many forms, but what our bodies specifically need is Dietary Fiber. Essentially, dietary fiber is made up of nutrients that cannot be digested when they pass through our gastrointestinal enzymes and intestines. This plant compound is mainly a carbohydrate, made up of polysaccharides such as dextrins, chitins, beta-glucans, oligosaccharides, cellulose, pectins, inulin and waxes. You might also hear the terms “roughage” and “bulk” when dietary fiber is being mentioned in context, but these might mislead you in thinking that fiber is rough or bulky in appearance.
Dietary fiber is broken down into 2 classifications, which are soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is what it sounds like- it dissolves in water, and changes into a gelatin-like substance when coming into contact with our digestive tract. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve and goes out of our intestines unchanged.
Dietary fiber is important in keeping our digestive systems healthy, but not all food that we eat have fiber in them. Good examples of foods rich in soluble fiber include soy milk and soy-based products, peas, lentils, dried beans, flaxseed and seed husks, barley, oat bran, vegetables and fruits. Soluble fiber is an excellent diet to help against constipation, and also helps lower our LDL, or the bad cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber-rich foods include wholegrain products, dried beans, seeds and nuts, the skin of vegetables and fruit, rice bran, corn and wheat bran. They mainly add bulk to your body waste and keeps it moving along until we expel them out. They can also help with related problems like hemorrhoids and maintain a healthy level of acidity in our intestines.
Fiber: The Good and The Bad
Dietary fiber is the VIP of our digestive system because it helps ease bowel movements and prevents constipation. It adds up to our faeces and hastens the removal of deadly toxins from our colon. Fiber can stave off serious diseases such as colon cancer and diabetes, and not so serious ones such as colitis and hemorrhoids. The benefits of fiber is not just limited to our intestines, but it can also protect our most vital organs. Soluble fiber keeps the bad cholesterol in check and reduces the risk of various heart-related diseases. Finally, almost all foods that are rich in fiber are also rich in essential vitamins and nutrients we need to keep our bodies healthy and in tip-top shape.
People who have food allergies will have a tough time getting enough fiber in their diet. It is also important to gradually increase the fiber intake to recommended levels to prevent increased flatulence and abdominal pain. Plenty of water intake should accompany a high-fiber diet to prevent constipation.
People need to add more dietary fiber in their diet for all the great benefits and good things that it does to our bodies. Do you need more reasons? Well, how about scientific studies that say a diet rich with fiber can lower the chances of first-time stroke in people? Or about how a key-level fiber diet can protect you from death? It makes sense due to all the serious illness and diseases lurking about when we eat unhealthy food on a regular basis.
How Can Fiber Help Lose Weight?
Are you looking for a natural way to lose weight without dangerous side effects? Look no further than a diet rich in fiber. Most foods that are abundant in fiber give fewer kilojoules per serving- meaning, these low density foods have fewer calories when compared to other food without fiber. Another great characteristic of fiber-rich foods is that they are “bulky” and more filling to eat than most. How does it do that? Dietary soluble fiber actually prolongs the time that the food we eat passes through our digestive system by forming a jelly-like substance. Doing this makes a person feel more satiated over an extended period, and their hunger pangs are significantly lessened.
Fiber can also play an important role in reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity, as it prolongs the sugar that we absorb in our intestinal tract. This prevents a sudden rise in blood insulin, and a lower blood sugar is easily maintained and stabilized.