If you are trying to watch your weight or you have a high cholesterol issue most of the food items recommended to you will have a high fiber content. The more healthy food items you will choose, you will notice a much higher fiber content listed on them. As a beginner with no idea about fiber, this is pretty confusing. Especially because fiber cannot be absorbed by your body and has no calories. Considering that you are eating a huge portion of food that has no taste, no nutritional value, and no use in your body as it doesn’t get absorbed, most people would ask the question of why exactly it is important.
A simple way to answer this question is that fiber works as a sponge that helps in cleaning the body. This might seem like an easy way to explain it but fiber helps in facilitating the digestion process by making the flow of the digested food easier. The food rich in fiber might not get absorbed by the body but it ends up soaking all the toxins that can pollute the body. This includes bad cholesterol, a lot of other toxins, and high levels of fat-soluble toxins.
With the help of this article, we will list down everything you need to know about fiber. We will know what exactly fiber is made of and why it is so important for digestion. We will then look at its benefits and how it helps the body. Moreover, we will see what will happen if the food we eat is not rich in fiber. Also, we will see why most diet food is rich in fiber and whether it doesn’t work.
If you look at the seven most important components of food, you will see cars, protein, water, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Where most of the food components have some kind of nutrient value, fiber surprisingly has no nutrient value. In fact, fiber is the only component that is not absorbed by the body and it is not digestible. In short, the fiber you eat gets excreted by the body and no amount of calories or any nutrient is extracted from it.
Fiber is generally known as roughage. This is generally available in almost all plant-based food. Some fruits, grains, and vegetables have the biggest portion while others have just a small portion. A simple example is that within fruit fiber is mainly present in the outer skin, which makes up a very small portion of the fruits. On the contrary, the outer layer of the grain is thicker and has more fiber. The fiber in grain is generally removed from the food to get an enhanced taste.
There are mainly two types of fiber i.e. water soluble fiber and the insoluble fiber
Water soluble fiber is generally the light sticky gel-like structure that can be found in food like potatoes, bananas, oats, barley, apple, and pear. Generally, when they get mixed with water, the soluble part of fiber gets mixed and swells in size. This eventually slows down the speed of food as it passes down the GI tract, making sure that extra water gets absorbed by the tract and doesn’t lose too much water.
The insoluble part of the fiber is generally known as the roughage. They cannot be dissolved in water and they generally bind the water. It is mainly available in whole grain items, nuts, corn, apple, berries, grapes, carrots, and bran. If you eat brown bread or the fiber-based biscuit you might be consuming a lot of this. The insoluble fiber is generally helpful in regulating bowel movement and it helps in retaining water within the stool so the Stoll stays soft. In case you do not consume the insoluble fiber enough, the stool will not retain water, making it hard which will cause friction on the intestine causing bruises.
The benefits of fiber are countless. If you do not eat fiber, there is a high chance that you will end up with health issues that are mainly linked to digestion and can further extend to long-term health issues like cancer. Some of the main benefits of consuming fiber include:
You might have seen people eating a lot of fiber. This is not just limited to people who want to lose weight but also people who generally want to consume less food or have the tendency to get hungry often. Since fiber helps in slowing down the flow of digested food to the lower part of the body, the digestive tracts stay full for longer and you do not feel very hungry. Moreover, the fiber is not digestible so it stays longer in the stomach which also makes you feel full for longer.
Blood pressure is the most talked about issue in recent times. Usually blood pressure is caused because of the loss of thickness in the internal lining of the arteries and veins. Experts believe that when fat gets deposited in the linings, it becomes thicker and this eventually results in increased blood pressure. When you eat a good amount of fiber, it helps in reducing the fat content in the body, helping you lose all the deposited fat in the arteries and veins so the blood pressure-related issues can be resolved.
This is one of the most talked about benefits of consuming fiber. Since fiber has zero calories and helps in detoxifying your gut you will instantly feel less bloated and much better. Also, this helps you lose all the water weight because it reduces inflammation and bloating in the GI tract and intestine area.
Blood cholesterol level is especially high in people who consume high-fat food. In case you eat more meat than vegetables there is a high chance that you might have this issue already but you have not recognized it yet. By consuming fiber you will be supporting the cleanup since it facilitates the binding of bad cholesterol with the bile produced by the liver. Since it helps the liver in the detox process, you will be able to see a reduction in blood cholesterol.
One of the leading causes of death in recent times is heart disease. One of the main reasons behind heart disease is the high level of fat in the blood. Since fiber helps in reducing the blood cholesterol level and reduces the fat content in the body, it keeps the blood thin and helps in preventing the risk of heart disease.
As you get to your late 40s, you get closer to showing diabetic symptoms. However, experts believe that there are pieces of evidence to prove that high fiber in the food helps with slowing down digestion which makes sure that you stay full and the blood sugar level doesn’t spike right away. Instead, it keeps you energized throughout the day as it slowly gets digested.
Most people like to binge eat. Especially when it comes to high sodium-based food that has flavor enhancers added to it. To make sure you do not eat too much food that can make you uncomfortable, you need to have high-fiber food that can keep you satisfied throughout the day so you do not develop the urge to binge eat.
Fiber is great for slowing down the flow of digested food, which ensures that it holds the extra water making sure that stool stays soft and bulky. This eventually regulated the bowel movement which ease the pain in case of excretion.
As more people are eating highly processed food with a lot of flavor enhancers, colon cancer is on the rise. However, experts believe that with the right amount of fiber in your food, you can reduce the chance of colon cancer. Moreover, you will be able to make sure that there is no harmful substance buildup that can choke your digestive tract later.
Fiber is present in almost all the natural food items we eat. From grains to fruits, vegetables, and plant-based food, almost everything has at least some level of fiber. However, some food items have relatively higher fiber constant than others. Moreover, the type of fiber present in the food also varies. Some food items contain water-soluble fiber while others contain insoluble fiber. Depending on the amount of food you eat, how you eat, or which quality of food you prefer, the fiber in your diet will vary.
A simple example is that fruits have a good amount of fiber. However, if you choose to eat the fruit with the pearl, you will have a good amount of fiber. In case you remove the peel and rely on just the soft pulpy part, it will have water-soluble fiber only. However, if you take it up a notch and just get the fruit juice, you will be getting no fiber food.
This is even more common in the case of grain because the fiber present in whole grain is generally much harder and insoluble. The bran fiber in grains is extracted so the food becomes much more soft and palatable. Almost all the baked items have grain flour in them but they do not have fiber because roughage can make a food dry faster and harder to chew. It is much better to eat whole grain items, full fruits and vegetables without peeling. Also, since fruit peels have a much higher vitamin and mineral level so it is better to consume them as well.
In case you want to have high-fiber food, consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Grains like wheat, barley, corn, oats, etc. have a good amount of fiber. Also, chia seeds and flax seeds have a good amount of fiber. Bread, whole wheat pasta, and potato also have a good amount of fiber. Bananas, carrots, apples, and pears also contain a good amount of fiber. Apart from this, green vegetables, crunchy leaves, beetroot, radish, etc. also have a high amount of fiber content.
You will come across so many people who have a substandard diet. This means that their diet lacks a few elements while they may be piling up on other food items. So their calorie needs are met and they never notice that they lack an important part of the food. Fiber is also such an element that has no calories so most people never notice when they do not consume enough fiber. However in the long run when they do not consume enough fiber, it can cause serious issues.
Some of the most common diseases that can be caused due to low fiber food include:
Although the GI tract issue might not seem such a big deal at first they have a long-term impact on your body, constipation when not handled properly might lead to piles and hemorrhoids. Even after hemorrhoids are not handled, this can further lead to colon cancer, in severe issues people with very low fiber in their diet end up with ulcers and boils in the intestine which can further make issues worse.
To sum it all up, fiber might not seem like an ideal food choice but in the long run, without fiber, you cannot have a healthy digestive tract. Since most of the diseases have the root cause of bad digestion you will soon notice that lack of fiber will start to impact your skin, the quality of your hair, and your overall body. You will look chubby, have bloating issues, your skin will start to break out, stay oily, and have acne as well. Moreover, the skin will become worse with different allergies that are not just limited to skin allergies but also digestive issues. Your body overall will become sensitive and this will also disturb the whole process.
Stanislaus Okwor is the Chief Editor @ https://www.greenhealthblog.com
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