Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods our body is unable to digest or absorb. As it remains undigested, it passes relatively intact through our stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of our body. Dietary fiber good for health and can be found in edible plant foods such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, dried peas, nuts, lentils, and grains.
Generally, dietary fiber is available in two types
- Soluble fiber– Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Sources soluble fiber include oats, peas, beans, apple, citrus fruits, carrots and all type of green leafy vegetables.
- Insoluble fiber– While Insoluble fiber help to move material through our digestive system and increase stool bulk which helps to get relief from constipation and irregular stool. Sources of insoluble fiber include beans, whole wheat or bran products, green beans, potatoes, cauliflowers, and nuts.
Here are some key benefits of high fiber diet
- Dietary fiber adds weight and size of stool and makes it bulky which will be easy to pass and helps to get rid of constipation.
- If you have diarrhea or loose watery stools soluble fiber absorbs water and adds bulk to the stool. But one needs to choose only soluble fiber when suffering from diarrhea as insoluble fiber may worsen the situation.
- A high fiber diet may lower your risk for developing hemorrhoids, diverticular disease (a condition in which small bulging pouches in the stomach develop in the digestive tract) and colorectal cancer.
- 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.
- High- fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
- It helps to lower the blood sugar levels as it slows the absorption of sugar and also reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- As high fiber in the diet provides satiety by consuming very low calories which helps in weight loss.
- The inclusion of high fiber in the diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer and help us to live longer.
How much dietary fiber good for health?
Sources of fiber
- Whole grains and its products- bajra 11.4 g/ 100 g, barley 15.6 g/100 g, jowar-10.22 g/100 g,maize-12.24 g/ 100 g, ragi 11.1 g/100 g, wheat flour -11.23 g/ 100 g, Bengal gram dal-15.15 g/ 100 g, black gram 20.41 g/ 100 g, green gram-17.04 g/ 100 g, lentils-16.82 g/ 100 g,moth beans-15.12 g/ 100 g, dry peas-17.01g/100 g, rajmah-17.7 g/100 g, red gram -22.84 g/ 100 g, soya bean -21.55 g/ 100 g.
- Green leafy vegetables- drumstick leaves- 8.21 g/ 100 g, tamarind leaves-10.70 g/ 100 g, agathi leaves -8.6 g/ 100 g, curry leaves-13.1 g/ 100 g, beet greens, colocasia leaves etc.
- Fruits- dates -8.9 g/ 100 g, avocado fruit-6.69 g/ 100 g, gooseberry -7.75 g/100 g, guava- 8.59 g/ 100 g,sapota-9.6 g/ 100 g,
- Condiments and spices- green carrdamom-23.10 g/ 100 g, red chilies- 31.15 g/ 100 g, cloves -34.52 g/ 100 g, coriander seeds- 44.81 g/100 g, cumin seeds- 30.35 g/ 100 g, fenugreek seeds- 47.55 g/ 100 g, black paper -33.16 g/ 100 g, turmeric powder -21.38 g/ 100 g.
- Nuts and oilseeds- almond -13.06 g/ 100 g, dry coconut -015.88 g/ 100 g, fresh coconut- 10.42 g/ 100g, gingerly seeds-17.16 g/ 100 g,
- Kim Y, et al. Dietary fibre intake and mortality from cardiovascular disease and all cancers: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Archives of Cardiovascular Disease. 2016;109:39.
- Duyff RL. Carbs: Sugars, starches, and fiber. In: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2017.
- Nutrition facts label: Dietary fiber. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- Veronese N, et al. Dietary fiber and health outcomes: An umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018;107:436.
- Song M, et al. Fiber intake and survival after a colorectal cancer diagnosis. Journal of the American Medical Association: Oncology. 2018;41:71.
- Colditz GA. Healthy diet in adults.
- Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, total water and macronutrients. Institute of Medicine.
Article authored by