FIBER, YOUR FRIEND
Fiber is a nutrient found only in plants and foods of plant origin. Foods of animal origin contain zero fiber. Dietary fiber is of two types – soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance which helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oats, barley, flaxseed, lentils, peas, beans, carrots, apples, and citrus fruits.
Insoluble fiber as its name implies does not get fully digested. It promotes the movement of food through the digestive system and increases the bulk of the stool. Insoluble fiber is found in foods like wheat bran, nuts, seeds, legumes with skin, and most vegetables and fruits.
Here are a few of reasons why fiber is your friend and how fiber improves your health.
1. Helps in maintaining a healthy weight
High-fiber foods take longer to eat since they need to be chewed well. They are bulkier, fill you up faster, and have less calories than foods with little or no fiber. These are some of the reasons that a high fiber diet is beneficial in weight management. You can actually eat more of this food and weigh less!
2. Controls blood sugar
During the process of digestion, glucose is formed. The glucose is then absorbed into the blood about 30-60 minutes following a meal, resulting in increased blood sugar. Fiber slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood, thus preventing a rapid rise in blood sugar.
3. Lowers blood cholesterol
Fiber decreases fat absorption and increases excretion of cholesterol in the stool. This lowers the blood cholesterol which in turn protects against heart attack and stroke.
4. Prevents constipation and other diseases of the bowel
Fiber promotes bowel movement, prevents constipation, piles, and diverticulitis. The risk of colon cancer is greatly reduced with a high fiber diet since toxic waste products in the bowel pass through it faster.
MBBS, DO, DPHN