Thursday, October 20, 2011

Importance of High Fiber Diet: Soluble Vs Insoluble Fiber and Foods

Complex carbohydrates are the best sources of dietary fiber. More and more research on diabetes, cardiac disease and cancer indicates that it is very vital that high fiber foods should be a major part of the diet.

What Is Dietary Fiber?
The term dietary fiber refers to the components of the plant cell wall as well as the indigestible residues. By and large, most plant cell walls comprise of 35 % insoluble fiber, 45 % soluble fiber, 15 % lignans, 3 % proteins and 2 % ash. Dietary Fiber is found only in plant based foods and hence an integral part of a vegetarian diet.

What Is Insoluble Fiber?
Cellulose is the most important component of insoluble fiber. it is insoluble I water, but has the capacity to bind water; and this accounts for its ability to regularize bowel movements and cleanse the colon.
Cellulose cannot be digested by humans, but, it is partially digested by the microbes in the gut. This natural fermentation in the colon causes degradation of 50 % of the cellulose and generates short chain fatty acids that support the intestinal cells.

What Is Soluble Fiber?
The greater part of fibers in most plant cell walls are water soluble elements. Hemicelluloses, pectin, mucilages, gums, and algal polysaccharides make up this class of fibers. It is the soluble fiber that exerts maximum beneficial effects.

High Fiber Foods

Legumes are loaded with
Dietary Fiber
The following foods are packed with dietary fiber. Make sure you include them in the daily menu:
  • Wheat bran
  • Oat bran
  • Psyllium seeds
  • Marshmallow root
  • Legumes
  • Apple
  • Citrus rind
  • Seaweeds
  • Whole Grains are a
    good Source of Fiber
  • Cabbage

Practically all fruits and vegetables supply substantial amounts of dietary fiber, however, these are excellent sources and 1 serving of any one of these must be had daily.

High Fibred Diet and Its Significance 
  • The primary benefit of including plenty of fiber in the diet is achieving good bowel movement. Fiber increases fecal weight and size and helps in their quick expulsion. This makes it beneficial in the management of constipation and Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Fiber helps chelate out heavy metals and noxious wastes and beneficial in treating indigestion effectively.
  • Helps regulate serum glucose levels.
  • It binds cholesterol and helps manage optimal lipid profile levels.
  • Increases satiety and facilitates weight loss

 Fiber Supplements 
There are a host of fiber supplements available in the market; thus, it is important to choose the right supplement wisely. Fiber supplements are available in the form of powder, capsules and tablets. It is important to bear in mind that suddenly adding large amounts of fiber to the diet may lead to flatulence, abdominal bloating and gassy stomach, diarrhea, cramping and constipation. Hence moderate your daily fiber intake.
It is imperative that you drink 3 to 3 and ½ liters per day, when taking fiber supplements, so as to avoid the unfavorable side effects.
Experts say, it is always prudent to have natural sources of fiber, rather than opting for artificial supplements. 

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