Every plant has some fiber, but for considering it as a source of dietary fiber, it should have high concentrations of fiber. Dietary Fiber promotes regularity, helps control caloric intake and helps to promote weight loss. Fiber is a carbohydrate that is obtained in plant cell walls.
It is formed of two types; soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is the one that dissolves in the water in the digestive system to create a sticky gel like substance whereas insoluble fiber absorbs this water and expands in the digestive tract. Both fibers have no calories, no vitamins and cannot be digested. Though this fiber is still vital to stay healthy and it should be a key part of every person’s diet. There are different benefits of fiber that induces an individual to stay fit and healthy.
Plants rich in fiber can be included in the diet directly or supplement foods can be made using them. Processed foods rich in fiber are also available. Plum is a good source of fiber. Its thick skin contains insoluble fiber and the juicy pulp inside has soluble fiber. Good amount of soluble fiber is available in legumes such as beans and peas, grains such as oats, barley, chia and rye, fruits such as plums, bananas and plums and vegetables such as carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli, onions, sweet potatoes and potatoes. The inner portion of pears and apples are rich in soluble fiber. The husk of psyllium seed contains soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber is available in whole grain foods such as corn bran, wheat, nuts and seeds, skins of potato, flax seed, lignans, vegetables such as green beans, zucchini, cauliflower, nopal and celery, and skins of some fruits. According to the Linus Pauling Institute lentils, peas, beans, wheat bran, prunes, Asian pear and quinoa are very rich in fiber. Blackberry and raspberry have good amounts of fiber.
Health Benefits Of Fiber:
1. Indigestion and Constipation
The most important use of fiber is in digesting food. Fibrous substances add considerable bulk to the stools. The stools become big and soft, thus making it easier to pass through the intestine. Eating fiber rich foods can cure constipation.
2. Heart Ailments
Foods that contain soluble fiber like barley, beans, lentils, etc. have good effect on cholesterol level and normal functioning of the heart. Citrus fruits have similar effect on human body system.
3. Weight Loss
Fibers do not contain calories. Hence whole meal bread contains fewer calories than white breads and pastas. Regular intake of fruits and vegetables involves lower intake of calories than other kinds of foods. Fiber makes you feel heavy and full or longer. Insoluble fiber absorbs water and your digestive tract expands. Hence it swells and fills your stomach so your appetite is satisfied. Hence, the combination of feeling filled for long and intake of low calories makes fiber a great weight loss food.
Medical experts suggest that fibrous food helps in protection against colon cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Significant research is yet to confirm these findings.
Normalized blood sugar level is mandatory for reducing the risk of diabetes. Diabetic people have found subsequent reduction in their glucose levels through intake of fiber rich foods. By holding food in your digestive tract for longer soluble fiber also slows down the digestion process. This means that food is converted into glucose/sugar and released into the blood at a slower, more controlled rate. This benefit is particularly important for people with diabetes where blood sugar control is a common problem.
High fiber foods are more bulky than other food items. Taken under dietary expert guidance, fiber foods give the feeling of a full stomach and curb the urge to eat more. This helps people who would like to reduce their weight and control their eating habits without staying hungry!
Fiber speeds up the passing of food through the intestinal tract, thus preventing constipation or diverticulosis disorders. Toxic waste materials are also easily bundled out of the system through soft and easy stools.