Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate that remains undigested in your body and is finally removed from the body. As a result it is often thought to be useless. But it is not so. It provides roughage and helps to keep your body and heart healthy so that you can smoothly enjoy a healthy life.
Fiber is obtained from plants. The main sources of dietary fiber are whole grains, oats, barley, fruits, vegetables and dried fruits. A regular intake of dietary fiber is recommended to ensure the smooth functioning of the digestive system. As fiber binds with water, it is important to take more water if you increase the quantity of fiber in your diet. However, it should not be consumed in excess as it can lead to washing away of essential nutrients without getting absorbed.
It offers many important advantages, and is helpful in keeping your digestive tract healthy. Being a carbohydrate, it helps to provide energy.
Dietary fiber can greatly help in losing weight. As fiber absorbs water, it swells. This gives a feeling of fullness while you have consumed only small quantities. This is the reason why you feel satisfied when you take large quantities of salad in your meals.
Being a complex carbohydrate, fiber maintains a slow and steady release of energy. This helps to keep you active for long hours without feeling hungry and can also help to prevent binge eating. This helps to protect you from sudden swings in sugar levels, hunger pangs or fatigue and fainting.
Additionally, as fiber helps in lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar, it eventually helps in reducing weight.
Other benefits of fiber
Apart from the weight loss benefits, consumption of dietary fiber can also provide you many health benefits. Some of them are:
- Healthy digestive tract
Fiber helps to make the stools soft and makes the passage easier. This keeps the gut functioning normal and helps to prevent constipation, piles and possibly lower the risk of colon cancer.
- Maintaining health
It is considered that fiber can bind with cholesterol and helps to remove it from the body, thus lowering cholesterol levels in blood. It also helps in lowering the levels of glucose entering blood, thus reducing the blood sugar.
Changes you can make
With simple dietary and lifestyle changes you can see the benefits of dietary fiber and make it a part of your weight loss program too. To begin with you can introduce dietary fiber in your daily diet and increase the quantity of your water intake. You can include whole grain or multigrain cereals for your breakfast. You can replace bakery products with whole grain products like whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc. Mealtimes can be more interesting by adding a range of green salads with or without dressings. Fruits, dry fruits, whole grain snack bars can be a good option when you are hungry in between meals. You can also plan to carry these in your snack box while on the move.