Here is some information about the different types of dietary fiber. Read about soluble and insoluble fiber.
Types of Dietary Fiber
Fibers are long, thread like structures that are present in fruits, vegetables and grains. Also known as ‘roughage’, fibers are an essential nutrient for good health and are helpful when you are practicing preventive health care. Though indigestible, they have proven to be extremely useful in case of maintaining bowel regularity, preventing constipation and other bowel abnormalities. Other benefits of fibers include lower cholesterol, reduced risk of heart diseases and managing chronic diarrhea. Proper intake of fibrous food promises a reduced transit time and results in a more thorough evacuation of waste materials. The average recommended fiber intake per day ranges from 25 to 40 grams for adults. Talking about the types of fiber, there are basically two types, depending on its solubility - water-soluble and insoluble. Go through this article below and understand the different plant-based foods and other foods that are rich in fiber and the benefits of a high-fiber diet. Keep reading.
Soluble And Insoluble Fiber
To learn more about soluble and insoluble fiber sources and fiber content, refer to the table below.
||Total (in grams)
||5.7 (1 apple)
|Raisin bran cereal
||8.6 (half cup)
||3.3 (one tbsp.)
Dietary Fiber Types
The chief characteristic of this type of fiber is its ‘dissolvability’. Soluble fiber effectively dissolves in water. Mainly comprised of pectin, gums and mucilage’s, such fibers, reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood and cut down the risk of heart and artery disease and atherosclerosis. Apart from this, it helps in weight control reducing the risk of obesity, stabilizing blood sugar and lowering blood sugar levels. Some of the foods rich in water-soluble fiber are oat bran, legumes, psyllium, nuts, beans, apples, oranges, carrots, strawberries, citrus fruits, soy beans, apricots, dates, raisins, flax seed and beets.
Benefits Of Soluble Fiber
- One of the most significant benefits of soluble fiber is that it slows down digestion in the stomach and small intestine, thereby helping in stabilizing blood glucose levels. The slow speed helps in increasing the uptake of minerals and other nutrients in food, as the food remains in the digestive tract for a long time.
- Soluble fiber is helpful in terms of weight loss, as it reduces calories, but in a healthy manner.
- As the fiber comes in contact with the water present in the digestive tract, it forms a thick gel. The result is swelling due to a slow digestive process. Such a state increases our feeling of fullness but with no addition of calories.
- Soluble fibers are mixed with the bile acids and cholesterol in the digestive tract, thereby avoiding them from being absorbed by the body. This helps in reducing blood cholesterol levels.
- Large quantities of soluble fiber intake help in controlling and preventing diabetes, by slowing the absorption of glucose from the small intestine.
Just as the name suggests, insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water. The most significant function of insoluble fiber is collection of water that increases stool bulk in the large intestine. Apart from preventing constipation and hemorrhoids, it also reduces the risk of colon cancer, by speeding the passage of food through the digestive tract. The rich sources of insoluble fibers are vegetables such as green beans and dark green leafy vegetables, fruit skins and root vegetable skins, whole-wheat products, wheat oat, corn bran and nuts.
Benefits Of Insoluble Fiber
- High intake of insoluble fibers helps in curing problems related to constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticulitis. It helps in increasing stool volume and stimulating normal bowel contractions, and as such reduces the transit time through the colon.
- Consumption of insoluble fibers helps in reducing the absorption of salt and toxins. The former proves useful in reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
- Insoluble fiber when included in your daily diet, can prove to be an effective weight-control measure. By consuming a diet rich in insoluble fibers, you tend to feel fuller, which help you eventually lose weight since you will cut-down on the intake of food.
- Much like soluble fibers, insoluble fibers helps control and prevents diabetes. It slows the absorption of glucose, thereby stabilizing sugar levels in the blood stream.
A healthy diet should contain 75 percent of insoluble fiber and 25 percent of soluble fiber. Many foods like oats, psyllium husk, bran and flaxseed provide both sources of fiber. To meet the prescribed fiber requirements include five servings of fruits and vegetables and four servings if whole grains in your daily diet.
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