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Health benefits of dietary fiber     

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Doctors and nutritionists insist you to eat a portion of dietary fiber every day. Why so? It’s because dietary fiber is immensely beneficial for us.

Dietary fiber is also known as roughage or bulk, is the indigestible part of plant derived foods. It’s primarily consumed to improve digestive health. Dietary fibers are of two types:

Soluble fibers dissolve in water and form a gel like substance. It keeps you full, delays stomach emptying, helps in weight management and also reduces LDL cholesterol. Insoluble fibers cannot dissolve in water; rather it acts as a laxative and is the gut-friendly type. Nuts, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are excellent sources of dietary fibers.

We summarize the health benefits of dietary fibers below:

Cholesterol reduction

Soluble fibers found in oats, flaxseed, bran, beans, etc. help in reduction of low density bad cholesterol in the body. Chances of arterial clogging are subsequently reduced to a large extent.

Helpful for diabetic patients

Soluble fiber helps to control blood sugar by delaying gastric (stomach) emptying and slowing down entry of sugar into the main bloodstream. This prevents blood sugar spike after having low fiber meals.

Regulate bowel movements

Cellulose and hemi cellulose present in whole grains and certain vegetables and fruits act as natural laxatives- bulk formers. They reduce constipation and at the same time can harden your stool when you have loose motion. This way two-way action is pronounced.

Promotes health of the colon

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When your diet is rich in fibers, then you are naturally protected against colon disorders like formation of pouches (diverticulitis) and haemorrhoids. Dietary fiber promotes growth of healthy bacteria in colon, which in turn increases its immunity.

Healthy for the heart

When cholesterol levels are minimized, your heart health naturally improves. Several studies and statistics reveal that people who consume foods rich in dietary fibers on regular basis are less prone to having coronary heart diseases than those who don’t.

Immunity against cancer

Research studies show that fibers may play a vital role in reducing risks of wide range of cancers like that of breasts, ovary and uterus. For this you need to have plenty of plant based dietary fibers.

Healthy weight management

Fibrous foods are chewy; the best examples are fruits and salads. When you take more time to chew, you do not overeat. Also a small portion of fibers quenches your appetite quickly and keeps your full for a longer time. Being extremely low in calories, you do not gain weight after eating fibers.

How much dietary fiber you should consume every day?

Men under 50 should have 30-38 grams while women under 50 should have 25 grams daily. Men and women above 50 years of age can have 30 and 21 grams daily, respectively.

You can create your diet plan accordingly, so that your daily requirement of dietary fiber is sufficed. Make sure you incorporate both the varieties adequately.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 27, 2015

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