Fiber is a very essential requirement of the human body, almost every doctor recommends consumption of fiber. Fiber is generally found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, peas, etc. Fiber helps in preventing and relieving constipation. It also tends to lower the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart attacks. Fiber is thus very essential for the smooth working of the digestive system and the health of the human body. Read on to know about the food rich in fiber content.
1. Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber is also called bulk or roughage. It comprises of plant foods which the body in unable to absorb like the other food components. Fiber is not digested by the human body, but simply passes through the body via stomach, intestine, and colon as a waste. It plays a very important role in maintaining the health of the body. Fiber is classified into two categories namely insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is responsible for the movement of food through the digestive system and for increasing the stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fiber are whole-wheat flour, vegetables, and nuts. As far as the soluble fiber is concerned, they are responsible for lowering blood cholesterol and the glucose levels. Soluble fibers dissolve in the water and form a gel-like material. The soluble fiber is found in peas, oats, apples, beans, fruits, carrots, barley, psyllium, etc.
2. Benefit of a high fiber diet
High fiber diet tends to benefit the human body in more than one way. It tends to normalize the bowel movement by increasing the weight and size of stool and soften it. Fiber is very crucial to people who suffer from constipation. Fiber is capable of healing irritable bowel syndrome to a major extent. High fiber diet also lowers the risk of development of hemorrhoids and small pouches in the colon. Fiber is fermented in the colon region, thus it could help in prevention of colon related diseases. Soluble fiber helps to lower the cholesterol level of the blood as well reduction of blood pressure. It also controls the blood sugar levels in the human body and aids weight loss.
3. Requirement of fiber
Ideally, a male below the age of 50 must consume 38 grams of fiber; as far as those above 50 are concerned, they need to consume about 30 grams of fiber each day. For females below 50, 25 grams of fiber a day is sufficient whereas for those above 50, the minimum requirement is 21 grams.
4. Foods containing fiber
Foods that contain fiber are fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds, etc. Plenty of foods are available that contain a high amount of fiber and are tasty as well. The processed or refined foods contain low fiber content; it is thus recommended to consume more of natural unrefined foods. Skin should not be removed from the fruits or vegetables, as this tends to lower their fiber content.
5. Fiber supplements
There are various fiber supplements available in the market. However, it is recommended to consume whole foods instead of fiber supplements. Metamucil, Fibercon, and Citrucel are the famous fiber supplements available for you to take. People suffering from constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome need to consume these fiber supplements. Consult your doctor prior to taking any fiber supplements.
6. Add fiber in your daily meals
By now, you know how important fiber is for the human body; it is thus advised that you consume the required amount of fiber each day. Start your day with a bowl of fruits and whole wheat bread, cereals, etc. Always consume whole grain products. Eat many vegetables and consume a particular fruit of your choice in every meal. Consume vegetable soups. Increase the intake of peas, beans, and lentils in your diet.
7. Consume fiber in optimal amount
Too much of fiber would lead to intestinal gas problem, cramping and abdominal bloating. Do not increase the fiber content in your diet at once; do this gradually over a period of a few weeks. Let your body get accustomed to high fiber foods. Drink a lot of water along with a high fiber diet.