Fiber – Why should you eat? : Health Effects of Eating Fiber
Just like any other nutrient that is important for the normal functioning of the human body, dietary fiber is one such component that is derived from a plant source. It is generally known as the roughage which is composed majorly of cellulose and is indigestible by the human intestinal tract. It retains water and improves intestinal function by adding bulk to food. Soluble fiber is a part of this dietary fiber that differs from it insoluble counterpart in the way it’s absorbed in the body. It blends with water and dissolves into a gel-like substance that is then fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active products. This helps correct large intestine disorders and keeps it functioning normally.
Absorption of some nutrients from certain foods is increased by the soluble fibers. It delays absorption of sugars like glucose and enhances bacteria growth that is essential to complete the digestive process. Studies prove that a diet that is low in cholesterol, saturated and Trans fats and high in soluble fiber content hugely decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels and helps control glucose levels. Thus it helps prevent high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disorders apart from treating people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation and hemorrhoids. It also helps curb obesity. Soluble fiber is also linked to preventing the occurrence of cancer.
The basic function of a soluble fiber food source is to bind with fatty acids and prolong the stomach emptying time in order to make sure that the release of glucose (sugar) is slow and so is its absorption. Healthy adults must absorb 25 to 30gms of soluble fiber every day. It highly reduces your risk of developing coronary diseases and diabetes. The only undesired side effect of consuming soluble fiber is the release of gas out of the body. It can be seen as an indication of your intake of soluble fiber and be controlled to a certain extent, if need arises.
The Best Food Sources for Soluble Fiber :
Following are the best sources of soluble fiber:
- Cereal grains like Barley, Oatmeal, Oatbran, Rye
- Seeds like Psyllium seeds and flax seed
- Legumes like dried beans, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, northern beans, pinto beans, green peas, black eyed peas, soybeans
- Foods with psyllium, inulin, or oligofructose on the label
- Fruits such as Apple, Bananas, Blackberries, Orange and Grapefruit like citrus fruits, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Prunes. Eating these fruits while having their peel on helps in preserving their fiber content to a great extent.
- Vegetables like corn, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. Root vegetables like beets, carrots, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Mix these foods high in soluable fiber in your regular diet. The impact of fibers in our daily diet is strong with a lot of health benefits to its credit. So it is a must for us to see to that we include substantial amounts of these foods in our daily diets. They not only give you relief from gastrointestinal and digestive problems and other major heart diseases, diabetes and blood cholesterol like diseases but also replenish your system, give your skin a healthy glow and make you feel more energetic and you remain active throughout the day.