DIETARY FIBER: KEEPING THE DOCTOR AWAY
You have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, this could be because an apple is rich in dietary fiber! Dietary fiber is the Portion of food from the cell wall of plants. There are two types of fibers. Soluble Dietary fiber dissolves in water or digestive juices to form a gel and is easily fermentable by bacteria in the colon. The insoluble dietary fiber does not dissolve and is less fermentable. Although dietary fibers are not absorbed into the body, they play a significant role in digestion. They also have many health benefits.
The joy of going to the toilet and coming out relieved is unexplainable. Unfortunately, good poop does not just happen! You need to eat enough dietary fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Soluble fiber allows more water to remain in the poop. As a result making the stools softer, larger, and easy to pass. Insoluble fiber on the other hand adds bulk to the poop. This makes it pass through the gut faster, therefore, increasing the frequency of pooping.
Reduces the risk of diabetes
Taking a cup of whole grains daily will reduce your risk of diabetes by 21%. Dietary fiber traps the starch granules in food. This limits their accessibility to digestive enzymes. Therefore the enzymes will take a long time to break down starch to glucose. This results in slow glucose release into the blood. Therefore preventing a sudden rise in blood glucose.
Dietary fiber also improves insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone in our bodies that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. When one has insulin resistance, their cells do not respond to insulin and cannot use glucose from the blood. Over time, their blood glucose rises. This increases the risk for diabetes. Dietary fiber increases the time food stays in your stomach and slows digestion. Slow digestion means a slow release of glucose. This lowers insulin response in the body and as a result improving sensitivity to insulin.
Role of dietary fiber in weight management
Our bodies have many types of bacteria like Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria cause weight gain, high liver fat and insulin resistance. Eating soluble fiber lowers the number of Gram-negative bacteria in the colon. Promoting weight loss as a result.
Dietary fiber also helps to reduce hunger. Hunger pangs are a leading cause of failure to keep up with weight management programs. When losing weight, one has to cut down on their food portions. Eating less can cause you to feel hungry faster. However, you can resolve that by including high-fiber foods in your diet. This is because they expand during digestion creating a bulking effect. This makes you feel satisfied quickly. They also increase the time that food stays in the stomach. Therefore promoting a feeling of fullness for a longer time. Making it easier for you to stick to the weight loss diet.
Lowering blood cholesterol
Where to get dietary fiber
It is recommended to eat at least 20-30 grams of fiber daily. Fiber is found in plant-based foods. Whole grain cereals like in whole wheat flour, legumes like kidney beans, chickpeas, green grams/mung beans. All types of vegetables, and in whole fruits. Therefore it is advisable to have plant based foods in your diet. Also remember to take fruits with their skins whenever possible.