Fibers are a type of carbohydrates that are not digestible by humans. They’re one of the vital components of a healthy diet. Why so? Because, they have positive effects on our body functions such as digestion and weight management.
According to nutritionists, every day, women and men should consume 25 grams and 38 grams of fibers respectively. However, most of us don’t consume as much fibers as we ought to, capping our average consumption to around 15-17 grams per day.
What stops us from meeting our daily intake of fibers? One of the reasons could be our lack of awareness. So, we decided to share some knowledge about the goodness that fibers can bring to your body.
Here are the different kinds of fibers with different health benefits.
Soluble and Insoluble fibers
Soluble fibers are those that dissolve in water and insoluble are those that don’t. Soluble fibers mix with water to form a gel-like substance which aids in boosting our metabolic health and reducing blood sugar spikes. Insoluble fibers pass through the digestive system with no change, but speeds up the passage of food and waste through the gut.
Where will you find them? Plant foods – Fruits and vegetables
Much like, soluble fibers, viscous fibers also combine with water to form a thick gel in the gut. This gel stays in the gut for some time, slowing down the digestion and the process of absorption of nutrients from the food. This keeps you full for a longer time. Thus, these fibers reduce your urge to eat more aiding in better weight management.
Where will you find them? Legumes, Brussels sprouts, oats, flax seeds
Our gut has around 100 trillion bacteria, most of which live in the large intestine. As you know fiber is non-digestive, they reach the large intestine unchanged where they meet the friendly gut bacteria. These bacteria ferment the fiber and use them as fuel. This leads to a rise in the population of good bacteria in your gut. However, fermentation of fiber leads to gas, which is why people often complain of discomfort in the stomach after having foods high in fermentable fibers.
Where will you find them? Beans and legumes
As a general rule of thumb, most plant foods have fibers in them in some capacity. Apples, pears, strawberries, avocados, bananas, carrots, beets, broccoli are good examples.
In addition to improving digestion and aiding weight loss, it has also been found that people who consume a fiber-rich diet have lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.