Dietary fiber is that component of your food that does not get digested in the small intestine and passes into the large intestine intact where it is completely or partially fermented and are known for promoting health!
Foods rich in dietary fiber are termed ‘good carbs’, this is because they are not easily absorbed and stored as fat. Yayyyy, so some carbs are actually good! So what you should bother about is if you are getting adequate dietary fiber daily. Men usually need more dietary fiber than women (25g for women and 38g for men), due to their higher energy requirement and basal metabolic rate. Here are reasons you should add food rich in dietary fiber to your diet:
1. Dietary fiber keeps your gut healthy!
The fermentation of dietary fiber in the small intestine helps through the production of short chain fatty acids and also by regulating the gut’s microorganisms.
2. Reduces risk of Constipation, Hemorrhoids, and Crohn’s disease
Adequate intake of dietary fiber helps to add bulk to stool and prevent constipation. Large, soft stools helps to ease rectal (anus) muscles and prevent swelling of the rectal veins, a condition known as hemorrhoids. It has been shown that for daily increase of dietary fiber by 10g, you can reduce the risk of Crohn disease by 13 percent!
3. Can help you lose weight!
It enhance excess fat loss by curbing appetite and giving the feeling of fullness thereby playing an important role in weightloss, Also, foods rich in dietary fiber are usually low in calorie which helps to reduce energy intake.
4. Dietary fiber lowers blood cholesterol which reduces the risk of hypertension and heart disease
Foods rich in soluble fibers (such as oat bran, barley, and legumes) are known for lowering blood cholesterol. Also, the by-products of fiber fermentation in the colon also inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the liver.
5. Helps to prevent and manage diabetes mellitus
Soluble fiber slows starch digestion and glucose uptake, in turn lowering the amount of insulin needed to process blood glucose after a meal.This helps in the management of Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
6. Dietary fiber reduces the risk of certain cancers
A research study found that People who ate the most dietary fiber (35 grams per day) reduced their risk of colon cancer by 40 percent compared with those who ate the least fiber (15 grams per day). Also dietary fiber may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
How to increase your dietary fiber intake
To increase your dietary fiber intake, focus on whole grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables and fruits. The following are the dietary fiber content of some foods that are rich in dietary fiber
|Food Item||Dietary Fiber content/100g|
|Wheat flour (whole grain)||12.2g|
|Brown rice (long grain and cooked)||1.8g|
Source: U.S Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2014. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata.
S.A Bingham and coauthors, Dietary fibre in food and protection against colorectal cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC): An observational study, Lancet 361 (2003): 1496-1501.
M. L Slattery and coauthors, Plant foods, fiber, and rectal cancer, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 79 (2004): 274-281.