Dietary fibers are fast emerging as a prominent part of healthy diets. Fiber deficient diets are responsible for high blood cholesterol level, heart diseases, poor digestion and obesity.
Soluble and insoluble fibers
Dietary fibers are either soluble or insoluble. Both the categories of dietary fibers are beneficial for our health.
Good for diabetes patients
High glycemic index carbohydrate foods are bad for our health. They are rapidly absorbed by the body, instantly increasing the level of insulin to facilitate their absorption. Foods with high glycemic index are especially harmful for diabetes patients. Presence of soluble fibers helps to lower the glycemic index of the food. It slows down the digestion process, lowering the breakdown of carbohydrates to glucose. With gradual secretion of insulin, the blood glucose level stabilizes. Therefore, diabetes patients would benefit by including dietary fiber rich foods in their diet.
Better nutrient absorption
Since soluble dietary fibers slows the speed of digestion, the food remains in the stomach for a long time. Our body gets enough time to absorb the vitamins and minerals that are present in the body. Dietary fibers are therefore necessary to prevent nutrient deficiency.
Ideal for losing weight
By slowing the rate of digestion, fibers keep us full for a long time. If you are trying to lose weight, you can control your hunger pangs by adequate consumption of fiber rich fruits and vegetables. Fibers are low in calorie and are therefore suitable for overweight people.
Lowers blood cholesterol
Rise in cholesterol level in the blood stream is bad for our heart. During the digestion process, soluble fibers attach themselves to the cholesterol and bile acid in the stomach and intestine, obstructing their absorption.
Studies have found that dietary fibers might prevent colon and rectum cancer. They can arrest the growth of cancer cell.
Insoluble dietary fibers ease bowel movement. They prevent constipation and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease.
Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are rich sources of dietary fibers. Most of the fibers are present on the outer coat of the grains and seeds, and on the skin of the fruits and vegetables.