Food Fibers Obtained From Plants
Medically reviewed by Priyanshi Bhatnagar
US Certified Holistic Nutritionist
Eating a robust variety of minimally processed fruits and veggies along with other plant-based foods is a great way to stay healthy and control your weight — and the fiber in these foods is likely a central reason why they’re so great for our bodies.
So go forth and repopulate more varieties of bacteria in your gut!
Food Fibers Obtained From Plants
Plant Fibers Plant fibers are indigestible carbohydrates that form important component of the human diet as they can also provide fuel for the growth and multiplication of gut microbial population. Food fibers obtained from plants are typically associated with oat, barley and rye, but are also isolated from whole foods such as chicory root, vegetables or synthesized from sugars.
Fiber is usually found in whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, which you won’t find in fast food menus and most prepackaged foods.
Dietary fiber - In most plants, there’s some part of the plant your body can’t digest or absorb, that part of the plant is thrown out of the body as “whole” after passing through the digestive system.The fibres consist of non-starch polysaccharides such as Cellulose, Dextrin ,Inulin, Lignin, Chitin , Pectin, Beta-glucan ,Wax, Oligosaccharide.
Soluble fiber - It dissolves in the water present in the body and forms a gel, acting like a sponge in binding cholesterol-rich bile acids, which are then eliminated as waste. It's a cholesterol-lowering and glucose level lowering type of fiber. Good sources of water-soluble fiber are:
Nuts (flax seeds)
Oats, rye, wheat bran
Lentils, beans, peas
Apples, oranges, pears, strawberries
Cucumbers, celery, carrots
Psyllium husk (ispaghula - It works by increasing the amount of water in the stool, making the stool softer and easier to pass)
Insoluble Fiber - doesn’t dissolve in water. Because insoluble fiber is bulky, it helps move your food through your digestive tract. Which helps with constipation or irregular stools. Insoluble fiber aids in digestion by acting like a broom and cleaning out our intestinal tract. Good sources of water-insoluble fiber are:
Whole grains and wholegrain products (100% rye bread, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta)
Fruit and vegetable peels
According to the The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Nutrition the daily value for fiber is 25 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet for adults. This number may also depend on age or sex:
women under 50: 21 to 25 grams per day
men under 50: 30 to 38 grams per day
Children between ages 1 and 18 : should eat 14 to 31 grams of fiber per day
You can improve your health by knowing your diet and some basics doubts about fiber
What are the benefits fibers for your body ?
How much fiber in a day is required by humans?
What foods you can add in your daily meals and snacks to increase your fiber intake ?
Natural Sources of Fiber
Here are a few foods that are naturally high in fiber:
• 1 large pear with skin (7 grams)
• 1 cup fresh raspberries (8 grams)
• ½ medium avocado (5 grams)
• 1-ounce almonds (3.5 grams)
• ½ cup cooked black beans (7.5 grams)
• 3 cups air-popped popcorn (3.6 grams)
• 1 cup cooked pearled barley (6 grams)
Why Fiber Is So Good For A Longer Life & Happier Gut ?
Keep the digestive tract healthy
Have you ever experienced the problems of constipation or irregular stools (watery), adding more fiber to your diet can help bulk up your stool. Eating more "FIBER" in your diet is the key to digestive health which can help your stools to come out easily. Fiber helps food move through the digestive tract. It increases stool bulk and helps prevent constipation and irregularity.
The body is exposed to toxins, the longer the waste sits in the intestinal track which promote the growth of bad bacteria ultimately leading to gastrointestinal problems.
Boost the energy levels
“Refined sugars give you the spike and then you crash.” Fiber may not provide calories (aka energy) as it slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream, so the body won’t have a crazy energy spike after eating rather it can help give you a lift by improving your digestion.
Maintain a healthy weight while losing weight
Maintaining a weight loss is not easy, adding fiber to your daily diet can help. Fibre is linked to having a lower body weight because whole grains are usually lower in calories than high-fat foods. Fiber calories from high quality, high-fiber foods are also more satiating. They add bulk and slow the digestion process, which makes it more likely for us to lose weight over time.
Lower your cholesterol and risk for cardiovascular disease
Do you want to eat less and still fell full for a long time? Then try eating whole foods that contain good amounts of fiber, you’ll feel satisfied for longer.
Substitute for white rice : Bulgur wheat, brown rice, wild rice, and barley.
Breads : Seven-grain, dark rye, cracked wheat and pumpernickel breads.
Seeds and nuts : sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, almonds (3 grams of fiber)
Beans : Navy, white beans, garbanzo, kidney, lima, or pinto beans.
Potatoes : Russet, red, and sweet potatoes (3 grams of fiber in a medium-sized spud)
Vegetables : Carrots, beets, and broccoli, Collard greens, Swiss chard (4 grams of fiber per cup) Artichokes (10 grams for a medium-sized one)
Fruits : Mango (5 grams), Persimmon (6 grams) and guava (9grams per cup)
Control the risk of type 2 diabetes
Fiber helps to control your blood sugar levels. This is good news if you’re a diabetic. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of sugar. When we add fiber to our diet, our bodies break down carbs more slowly, and this allows our blood sugar levels to rise more gradually. Eating adequate amounts of fiber can also help you reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Related : Guilt-free diabetic-friendly snacks
Remember: All things in moderation
Excessive diets high in fiber will cause an uncomfortable feeling of fullness and gas. Therefore, it is necessary for you to maintain a healthy and balanced consumption of fibres.
Increase your fiber intake gradually.
If you take too much, too quickly, you will go from constipation to diarrhoea.
Too much fiber can cause different types of gastrointestinal distress from gas and bloat to constipation to cramping and diarrhea. If you eat one serving of fruit or vegetable daily, increase it to two, then introduce whole grains. Check with your medical professional before you increase your fiber intake.
By Priyanshi Bhatnagar
US Certified Holistic Nutritionist Founder of Online Nutrition Company “Detoxpri.in” : A Simple Way To Eat for healthy mind, body & soul and an Author of CONFESSION of a Foodie Nutritionist : A Revolutionary guide to transform your Relationship with Food. She can be reached at www.detoxpri.in
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U.S Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2014. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata.