Dietary fiber forms one of the most essential nutrients in the diet. It is required in adequate amounts for sound digestion and proper functioning of the digestive system. There are many ways fiber rich foods promote sound health.
► Foods rich in dietary fiber have low glycemic index. This prevents sudden surges in insulin levels and fat deposition.
► Soluble fiber helps regulate LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.
► Soluble fiber balances intestinal pH and stimulates intestinal fermentation. This helps keep the intestines healthy.
► Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the diet which alleviates constipation.
► Dietary fiber helps with weight loss. It promotes satiety and reduces appetite.
It is now recognized that there are a number of diseases which are, at least in part, caused by a lack of dietary fiber in the diet.
► Gastrointestinal disorders: Constipation, bloating, flatulence, piles, diverticulosis, hiatal hernia, hemorrhoids, cancer of colon
There is an inverse relationship between the amount of fiber consumed and the prevalence of various diseases-higher the intake of dietary fiber, lower is the incidence of chronic disorders.
Trying to consciously include at least 3 to 4 servings of high fiber foods helps maintain sound digestion and overall health.
One should aim to consume 25g to 35g of total fiber each day or 6g to 8g per meal, and 3g to 4g per snack by incorporating high fiber foods in the diet. Fiber absorbs water, so take plenty of fluids, that is, at least 8 to 10 glasses of caffeine-free liquids daily.
All natural whole foods are high in fiber. Processed foods are stripped of this most important nutrient.
Fiber content of foods: greater than 7 grams of fiber per serving
All bran cereal
Black eyed beans, cooked (Lobiya)
Buckwheat millet (kutto)
Chick pea, cooked
Green peas, cooked
Kidney beans, cooked
Rice, brown, cooked
Fiber content of foods: 3 to 7 grams fiber per serving
Black millet (Bajra)
Cluster beans, cooked
Fiber content of foods: 3 to 7 grams fiber per serving (contd.)
Green beans, cooked
Mango, flesh only
Pasta, whole wheat, raw
Sweet potato, cooked
White millet (Jowar)
Yam, cooked, cubes
Fiber content of foods: 1 to 3 grams of fiber per serving
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