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Surprising Facts About High Fiber Foods

Whole grains, vegetables, and beans which have fiber have nutrients which help protect you from breast cancer

Tuesday June 18, 2019 2:55 PM, Hena Farhat, ummid.com

High Fiber Foods

Fiber is an important nutrient needed for the body. Why is it important to get fiber in our body? It is hard to believe that something is good for the body which is hard for us to digest. Including a high-fiber food in the diet is extremely important as it helps in reducing blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation.

High-fiber food contains all the necessary nutrients and have fewer calories, which are digested more slowly keeping us satiated for a longer period of time.

But wait, that is only the beginning of a high-fiber food story. There are multiple benefits of fiber.

    The gelatinous type of fiber found in bread, oats, cereals, kidney beans help to lower blood cholesterol levels and regulate blood glucose and insulin levels which is important in preventing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

    Fiber reduces risk of colorectal cancer. If you choose to add high fiber foods in your diet, then it could lower the risk of colon cancer by forty percent, according to some studies done in 10 European countries.

    Whole grains, vegetables, and beans which have fiber have nutrients which help protect you from breast cancer.

    A high-fiber food diet can reduce the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes tremendously because it increases insulin sensitivity. A high-fiber diet is important as it can be a major source of macronutrients.

Types of Fiber

There are actually different variants of fiber but it is formally classified into two types:

  1. Dietary Fiber: dietary fiber are fibers which are found in natural foods like plants and vegetables.
  2. Functional Fiber: Functional fibers are those fibers which are extracted and isolated from whole foods and later added to processed food.

But there lies a problem with classifying fiber in this particular way as it tells us nothing about the health benefits. An alternative way to classify fiber can be based on its solubility (soluble vs insoluble fiber) viscosity (viscous vs non-viscous) and fermentability (fermentable vs non-fermentable).

Soluble Vs Insoluble Fiber

The solubility refers to the ability of the fiber to dissolve in water.

Soluble Fiber: It blends with water and as it blends it forms a gel-like substance. The good benefit of soluble fiber is has many health benefits, it reduces blood sugar spikes, and has multiple metabolic health benefits.

Insoluble Fiber: Insoluble fiber does not blend in water and it passes through the digestive system mostly intact. It acts as a bulking agent and helps you

Viscous Fiber: Some fibers blend with water and form a thick gel which is known as viscous fiber. When you consume viscous fiber, it ‘rests’ in the gut helping in slowing down the digestion and absorption of nutrients, keeping you satiated for a long period of time. Good whole foods like legumes, asparagus, oats and flax seeds have viscous fiber.

Fermentable Fiber: Some bacteria are very important for humans. They play various roles related to blood sugar control, weight management, mental health and brain function. Humans can’t really digest fiber and it stays in the large intestine mostly unchanged. This is where fermentable fibers come into play, these friendly gut bacteria are able to digest and provides energy and fuel to the body.

Most of the fermented fiber are soluble but there are some insoluble fibers that functions in that way. The best fermentable source of fiber comes from legumes and beans.

Some Amazing Facts about Fiber

    Fiber is only found in plants and vegetables. Dairy and meat produce have no fiber at all.

    Soluble fiber slows the absorption of sugar and fats in the blood, which help in regulating blood sugar levels

    When you cook, you do not remove fiber from the source nor does drying. The fiber remains intact.

    Did you know that the digestive tract of full grown people is about 28 metres long and fiber helps in moving waste along this tract.

    Do include more of whole wheat in your diet as it has four times the fiber component of brown rice.

    Sometimes referred to as ‘nature's bloom’ as it is a natural ‘cleaning agent’ which helps in getting rid of waste and other toxic properties.

    Research shows that people who eat more fiber-rich foods are less prone to life threatening diseases.

    The National Cancer Institute concludes that for every 10 gram of fiber consumed there was a decrease in the risk of death, 15% in women and 10% in men.

Below is a chart of how much fiber one should consume according to their age.

Age and Sex

Daily fiber recommendation

Children 1-3 years

19 grams

4-8 years child

25 grams

Young Boys 9-13 years

31 grams

Young Girls 9-13 years

26 grams

Teen Boys 14-18 years

38 grams

Teen Girls 14-18 years

26 grams

Young adult men 19-50 years

38 grams

Young adult women 19-50 years

25 grams

50 + men

30 grams

50 + women

21 grams

Point to Ponder

Do not instantly add loads of fiber in your diet as it has certain side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation and gas. You can minimize these effects by slowly increasing your fiber intake over days and weeks, as this will give your digestive system to adjust. Make sure you drink plenty of water as it helps significantly in reducing the above mentioned side effects. When consuming dry fiber like oats, bran or high cereal, do add lots of fluid in your system.

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