Fibre is one of the most widely heard words in our daily life. So what is this fiber and why it is so important for our health?
Fibre is a hard to digest substance found in fruits, vegetables, and grain. Our digestive tract cannot digest fiber in our foods. In short, fiber is the indigestible part of the food we eat. So why do we need fiber when it cannot be digested right? We will look into the answer.
There are two types of Fibre
Water-soluble fiber will become jelly-like once it gets dissolved in the stomach fluids. These soluble fibers are usually pectin. This type of fiber is present in oats, beans, groundnut, rice flakes, barley, sweet lime, orange, other citrus fruits, grains, and pulses. It helps to reduce cholesterol in our body.
Insoluble fiber includes cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. It is present in many fruits and vegetables. Some of it includes apple skin, cabbage, beetroot, cauliflower, and carrot. This type of fiber helps with digestion and prevents constipation.
Benefits of Fibre
In the year 1960, Denis Burkitt found out something very interesting African village dwellers. He found our African people rarely have colon cancer unlike people living Europe where a number of people are affected by the disease. He pointed out the reason to be the high fiber content in their diet. After this discovery, many research was conducted on the importance of fiber. These studies pointed out consuming right levels of fiber every day prevents the occurrence of lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and pancreatic cancer. People who follow vegetarian diet usually have high fiber intake.
Insoluble fiber increases the moisture content in the poop and increases its bulk. It eases the expulsion process and thereby cures constipation.
The absence of constipation keeps our colon, intestines and gut area clear and free of infections. This effectively prevents several types of cancer.
Insoluble fiber gives the feeling of fullness more easily with very little consumption of food. It makes the food to stay in the stomach much longer (around 4 to 6 hours). It regulates the insulin secretion which gives us the feeling of hunger. This makes us feel less hungry. This indirectly helps to regulate our body weight and prevent overweight and obesity.
Soluble fiber decreases the level of cholesterol. It absorbs fatty acids, and salts like a sponge and expels it out of the system. This mechanism helps to protect your heart and reduces blood sugar levels. It increases the level of insulin. As it retards the digestion of sugar, it effectively regulates the blood sugar levels. This is beneficial for Sugar patients.
6 Main Varieties of Fibre
Cellulose: It is made of fiber. increases the bulk in poop. It is present in fruits, vegetables, bran, and beans. It is also present in seeds, and almonds. As it increases the bulk of poop, it makes the poop expulsion from the colon much easier. This also expels the toxins which can cause colon cancer. Apart from this cellulose regulates the blood sugar levels. Reduces body weight.
Hemicellulose: You would have noticed in many movies, the Hero of the movie always has a comedian by his side. This is true in case of Hemicellulose and cellulose. It has most of the qualities of a cellulose. It also helps with prevents constipation, cancer, and reduce weight. Cellulose and hemicellulose react with bacteria present in the colon and makes us to fart.
Jelly-like fiber or Gums: It is mainly present in jelly-like foods, dried beans, oats bran. It helps to reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels.
Lignin: It helps to expel gall bladder fluids, and cholesterol out of the intestines. Lignin prevents gallbladder stones. Grains, wheat bran, cabbage, tomato are some of the main sources of lignin.
Pectin: Pectin belongs to soluble fiber category. It helps to reduce fat, and cholesterol in our system. Pectin can be sourced from apple, grapes, citrus fruits, and guava fruit.
Algal Polysaccharides: This type of fiber is present in seaweed, and garlic. It is used in the manufacture of artificial fibers like methylcellulose, carboxylate cellulose, constipation medications, and low-calorie foods.