Articles - Nutrition
Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material
through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of
benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools.
Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good
sources of insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like
material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. You
can find generous quantities of soluble fiber in oats, peas, beans,
apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
The amount of each type of fiber varies in different plant foods. To
receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.
Benefits of a high-fiber diet
Lowers your risk of digestive conditions.
Choosing High Fiber Foods
1. Choose whole fruit instead of juice. Whole apples and whole
oranges are packed with a lot more fiber and a lot fewer calories
than their liquid counterparts.
2. Start the day off by adding fruit, like berries or melon, to your
breakfast every day.
3. Check the label for fiber-filled whole grains. Choose foods that
list whole grains (like whole wheat or whole oats) as a first
ingredient. Bread, cereal, crackers and other grain foods should
have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Read "Health Gains from
Whole Grains" for a list of whole grains and their benefits.
4. Eat more beans. They are a great tasting, cheap source of fiber,
good carbs, protein, and other important nutrients.
5. Test out international recipes that use whole grains, like tabouli
or whole wheat wheat pasta, or beans, like Indian dahls.
A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of specific disorders, such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and the development of
small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
Lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density
lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels.
Controls blood sugar levels.
Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes, can help improve blood sugar
levels. A high-fiber diet may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Aids in weight loss. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no
longer hungry, so you're less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay
full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for
the same volume of food.
Reduces colorectal cancer (Uncertain)
Evidence that dietary fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed. Some studies show benefit, some show nothing and even some show
greater risk. If you're concerned about preventing colorectal cancer, adopt or stick with a colon cancer screening regimen. Regular
testing for and removal of colon polyps can prevent colon cancer.
An Abundant LifeStyle - Your Guide to Diet and Nutrition
Known as roughage or bulk, fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components
such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates, which your body breaks down and absorbs, fiber isn't digested by your body. It passes
virtually unchanged through your stomach and small intestine and into your colon.
Fiber is classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).
by Shirley Lorenzani Sperr
|The Therapeutic and Protective
health benefits of dietary fiber
An Abundant LifeStyle - Your Guide to Health and Nutrition