Fiber is especially important in the diet. High fiber foods can promote regular bowel movements, lower elevated cholesterol levels, maintain normal blood glucose levels, and help shed unwanted pounds off. People who can benefit more from high fiber foods are those with constipation, haemorrhoids, high blood glucose levels and high blood cholesterol levels.
Examples of high fiber foods include mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, eggplant, raspberries, cinnamon, navy beans and mustard greens. You must consume fiber in your diet so that you can prevent disease and promote good health. Dietary fiber is often derived from the edible parts of plants which cannot be digested by human digestive enzymes. They are known by experts as food that promotes beneficial effects on the body such as regular bowel movement and control of blood cholesterol as well as blood glucose levels. Fiber is also often added to foods during their processing in the form of added fiber that consists of isolated nondigestible carbohydrates that have numerous health benefits. It is said that dietary fiber is a good weapon against colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Dietary fiber is classified into several types: cellulose, hemicelluloses, polyfructoses, galactooligosaccharides, gums, mucilages, pectins, lignins and resistant starches. Cellulose is mostly found in legumes, bran, cabbages, root vegetables, outer covering of seeds and apples. Hemicellulose is often found in whole grains and bran. Gums are found in barley, oatmeal and legumes. Pectins are often found in strawberries, apples and citrus fruits. Lignins are found in wheat, fruits, root vegetables, and fruits with edible seeds. Resistant starches are often found in potatoes and ripe bananas.
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Dietary fiber functions are dependent on whether it is soluble or non-soluble. Soluble fibers such as those found in oat bran can reduce blood cholesterol levels and normalize blood glucose levels. On the other hand, insoluble fiber such as that found in wheat bran can promote regular bowel movements. They also lower serum cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of dietary cholesterol. When combined with bile acids, fiber can properly digest fat. Fiber can promote the removal of fat from the circulation and its excretion outside the body. Soluble fiber may reduce the amount of cholesterol formed by the liver.
Fiber can also help normalize blood sugar levels by slowing the time needed by the body for food to leave the stomach. Fiber also delays the absorption of glucose after a meal and increase insulin sensitivity. Fiber can be used to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. They also give a sense of early satiety or fullness after a meal and helps control weight.
Fiber is fermented by good bacteria in the large intestine. This process produces a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid which serves as fuel for the cells of the large intestine as well as helps in maintaining good colon health. Other short chain fatty acids produced during fermentation of fiber are propionic and acetic acid which may also be used as fuel for cells of the liver and muscles.
Fiber and Cholesterol
A recent study by a professor from South Dakota State University has focused on using wheat fiber to lower cholesterol and prevent the development of heart disease. This special nondigestible, chemically modified wheat fiber called resistant starch can resist digestion and can have beneficial effects on those with metabolic syndrome. The researchers found out that cholesterol levels in those with metabolic syndrome were lowered by this special type of wheat fiber. This type of fiber also significantly decreased body fat and was able to increase lean body mass in both healthy participants and in those with metabolic syndrome.
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