Dietary fiber plays a very important role in keeping our health in good state but how many of you exactly know what it is and how it works magic to keep our body system healthy.Today we are going to discuss about this essential component of our diets in detail.It will cover the following sub topics:
a) What is dietary fiber and its types?
b) Health benefits of dietary fiber.
c) Sources and recommendations for consumption.
d) Ways to improve the intake of dietary fiber.
e) Some interesting recipes.
Dietary fiber and its types
- Dietary fiber is that part of the food which passes out of the body without being digested also called as roughage.It adds bulk to the stools and helps keep our digestive system in good health.Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate in structure and thus sometimes also referred to as the resistant starch.
- Though fiber has been the most important component of the Indian diets its benefits have been overlooked since a long time i.e. it plays an essential role in our diets and maintaining our overall health.
- There are two types of dietary fiber in general-Soluble and insoluble fiber.Both types of fiber are equally beneficial and have their own important part to keep us in good health.
- Soluble fiber as the name suggests is the one which attracts water and turns to gel during digestion thereby slowing down the digestion process.Soluble fiber also has a lot of health benefits including the lowering of blood cholesterol levels that is it reduces the LDL or bad fat thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases.It also helps in regulation of blood sugar levels of people with type 2 Diabetes mellitus. Sources of soluble fiber include-oats,dried peans and beans,nuts,flax seeds etc.
- Insoluble fiber is the one which adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.Insoluble thus prevents constipation and helps in promoting regular bowel movements.Sources of insoluble fiber includes the following- Whole grains and its products,fruits and vegetables such as beans and dark green colored vegetables, nuts and seeds etc.
So both types of fiber are equally important in the diet thus must be consumed in adequate amounts.Also don’t forget to drink good quantity of water along with more fiber as it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool thereby helping in easy passing out of stools.
Health benefits of dietary fiber-
- As discussed by now you must be aware about the health benefits of this magical component however let us now have a close look into what other useful effects its intake has on our health and well being:
- Dietary fiber is helpful in maintaining normal body weight or should i say that if you eating enough amounts of fiber you can maintain your ideal body weight as it promotes weight loss.
- It plays a very important role in diabetics since it is helps in maintaining the normal blood glucose levels thus good amount of it should be included in the diet by diabetic people with the use of whole grains,fruits,vegetables etc.
- It eases or relieves constipation thus preventing abdominal discomfort and keeping the digestive system in good health.
- It helps to reduce the cholesterol levels thereby reducing the chances of developing any heart related disorder.
- It is also protective against many types of cancer including colon cancer.
- It helps build immunity and protect against diseases.
- Looking at so many benefits of fiber don’t you think that calling it a ‘magical’ one is right? Decide it for yourself and do let me know.
Sources and recommendations-
- Sources of dietary fiber as you all know include whole grains,barley,nuts,seeds,fruits and vegetables etc. The recommended amount of dietary fiber consumption by the Indian Council of Medical Research is about 40g/day.Even the WHO committee on chronic degenerative diseases recommended a daily intake of 30g to be must to prevent diseases.Thus just the adequate amount of fiber should be consumed because over consumption might lead to other health problems. Make sure you have atleast 2-3 servings of both fruits and vegetables in a day along with whole grains BY etc.It is important to remember that fiber is found in almost every food that we eat however the wise choices like choosing whole grain products over simple sugars are some of the ways in which you can bring about a change in your lifestyle and switch to healthy living.
Ways to increase your dietary fiber intake-
- There are so many ways in which you can improve your intake listed are some of the examples:
- By eating the skin of fruits and vegetables where possible -Yes, the outer covering of the fruits or vegetables also has good amount of fiber so next time try and eat them without removing the peel.
- By choosing to have a fruit instead of a fruit juice
- By selecting wholegrain varieties of cereals,breads etc
- Eating raw fruits and vegetables
Some interesting recipes:
- Vegetable daliya or vegetable oats-When making oats or daliya try and add a lot of vegetables to it like peas,beans,capsicum,carrot etc this not only improves the fiber content of the cooked food but also enhances the taste.Source:www.vegcravings.com
- Vegetable idli or upma- Add veggies and cook them.
- Brown bread sandwich- Use brown bread and make cucumber tomato sandwich.
- Veg Pulao– Instead of plain rice cook vegetable pulao and add soyabean,onion,tomato,spinach etc to it.
- Oats ragi cheela- Oats ragi cheela also gives a lot of it.
- Sprouted moong dal cheela
- All these recipes are alternatives to improve the fiber content of your diet thus choose these healthier options so that the health of not only but the entire family stays good.
So that was all which i wanted you people to know about the hidden gem ‘fiber’ in our diet which is equally essential as the other nutrients in the diet. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by choosing healthy food,eating on time,doing some amount of physical activity and staying it.I hope this small article serves as a useful guide towards your health journey.
Stay happy!Stay Healthy!