Dietary fibers also known as roughage are indigestible substances found in fruits, vegetables and cereals. Unlike other foods, fibers present in plant food cannot be digested or absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, yet they have great importance in maintaining good health. During past few decades there is enough evidential data that suggests fibers play a vital role in reducing risk of common as well as chronic diseases.
Dietary fibers have now been recognized as an important nutrient group after carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals, vitamins and water because of their important role in human health.Most fibers are insoluble in water and cannot be digested by enzymes. They are made up of cellulose, lignin and hemicelluloses. Soluble fibers include pectin, guargum, and oligosaccharides. Soluble fibers are usually used as additives in food industry.
Fibers help easy movement of stool in the intestine and help in removing harmful carcinogen compounds from the digestive tract. People who do not take enough dietary fiber often suffer from constipation, sluggishness etc. Reduced intake of fibers is also linked with increased risk of colon cancer and many other health problems. There are innumerable health benefits of fiber in diet, let us know them.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Dietary Fiber?
As already mentioned dietary fibers come in two forms; soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber gets dissolved in water and form a gel like substance. Insoluble fiber absorbs water from the intestine and forms a bulk like substance which aids in easy bowel movement. Insoluble fiber also helps in maintaining optimal pH in the intestine. Here are some important health benefits of eating fiber containing foods:
- Increased use of fiber containing food in diet helps to maintain healthy blood glucose level in the body. Appropriate consumption of fruit and vegetables in diet reduces glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). It also helps to prevent complications that arise from diabetes.
- Eating adequate amount of dietary fiber helps to lower the risk of obesity in adults. Childhood obesity is often associated with insulin resistance which later on causes disruption in metabolism of glucose and ultimately leading to diabetes.
- Research suggests eating more amount of dietary fiber reduces the risk of heart disease which also includes coronary artery disease.
- Increased intake of soluble as well as insoluble fiber reduces risk of brain stroke.
- One of the main benefits of eating fruits, vegetables in plenty is that it cures constipation, even of chronic variety. Besides people who consume fiber containing foods is daily diets are at lesser risk of suffering from colon cancer.
- Regularly eating foods that are rich source of fiber reduces risk of acne and pimples besides several other fungal skin diseases.
- Consumption of cereals, green leafy vegetables, lentils and legumes in daily diet helps to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. Fibers facilitate smooth passage of stool and hence person does not have strain during bowel movement.
Following are foods that are rich source of fibers:
Soluble fiber is found in oats, rice bran, legumes, peas, beans, fruits, pinto beans, spinach, apple, grapes, oatmeal, wheat bread etc.
Insoluble fibers are found in whole wheat flour, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, green leafy vegetables, fruit skin and skin of root vegetable, nuts and seeds.