Experience has shown that rural African dwellers who feed largely on plant-based diet rich in fiber rarely come down with various colon diseases which have now become prevalent in the western world today. In fact, the incidence of lower gastrointestinal tract disorder is almost unheard of among these people just because of their dietary choice. Fiber-containing foods have always been around us but unfortunately, they have been slightly cherished. Fibers are also known as roughages. According to the American Association of Cereal Chemist, Dietary fibers are “the edible parts of plants or analogous carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion or absorption in the human small intestine, with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine. Such include polysaccharides, Oligosaccharides, lignin and associated plant substances.” They are special kinds of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. As opposed to other carbohydrates whose end product of digestion are glucose, fibers pass through the body and goes to the large intestine undigested.
According to WebMD, It is estimated that about 20 to 30 grams of fibers are needed every day by both children and adult for a healthy bowel but most Americans and other westerners get less than 15 grams of this very important food component per day. It should be noted that not all fibers are edible, hence the name dietary fiber.
Dietary fibers are of two varieties namely soluble and insoluble. The basis for this classification is the ability of one to dissolve in water whereas the other cannot. Insoluble fibers are in addition, not fermentable by colon bacteria but soluble ones are. Both are beneficial to man and virtually all plant foods rich in fibers contain both types of fiber only that the proportion may vary. Very good sources of both are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Soluble fibers are normally broken down by the body into a viscous byproduct that are later fermented by bacteria in the colon to release gases and acids which only permits beneficial bacterial to grow in the lower part of the gut. Foods rich in this category of fibers include beans, oatmeal, nuts, apples, Konjac Noodles, Konjac fruit fibers and blueberries. The advantages of consuming soluble fibers are differs some of which include:
Protection from Diabetes
If fibers constitute a large stock of your diet, you are less likely to come up with diabetes especially the type 2. This is made possible because the soluble fibers are not well absorbed by the body and as such, do not constitute any risk of increased body sugar. Should you have been diagnosed of either types of diabetes, consuming fibers can even help keep it under control.
Soluble fibers if regularly consumed leaves you with the feeling of being full and hence, you eat less. This eating less is a great weight-loss strategy. You aren’t starving yourself neither are you eating more than necessary.
Soluble fibers in your digestive tract attach themselves to cholesterol particles in there and by so doing, get rid of them. This action reduces the overall cholesterol level of your body which has been identified as a major threat to the well-functioning of the heart. Of the various soluble fiber sources, oatmeal presents the most viable protection in this regard.
Healthy Movement in the Bowel
Because of its ability to soak up water, soluble fiber bulk up your stool and prevent you from developing diarrhea or constipation
Short-Chain Fatty Acids
When soluble fibers are fermented, short-chain fatty acids such as propionate, butyrate and acetate are produced. A lot of physiological health benefits have been associated with these short-chain fatty acids some of which include
- Stability of blood glucose level
- Provision of nourishment for colonocytes
- Stimulation of gene expression of transporters of glucose in the mucosa of the intestine
- Suppression of the production of cholesterol by the liver
- It aids in the production of T-helper cells.
How to Ensure You Get Enough Soluble Dietary Fibre in Your Body
You cannot leave getting enough soluble fiber in your body to chance. You have to be determined about it. The right quantity is the key if you must get all the attached benefits. Here are some tips to ensure this important food component is not deficient in your system
- Consider eating the whole of an orange instead of just going for the juice
- Instead of settling for white rice, pasta or bread, consider whole grain foods and brown rice
- If you must snack, let it be on raw vegetables instead of chocolates or chips
- Reduce your meat intake and replace the reduction with beans or other legumes
The numerous benefits of fiber-containing food items in ensuring overall bowel health of every human being calls for concerted effort in ensuring that it is not missing or deficient in our diet.