The benefits of fibers are way more than you think

Fibers are the structural parts of plants and are found in all plant-derived foods — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Most dietary fibers are polysaccharides. Dietary fibers pass through the body undigested and contribute no monosaccharides, and therefore little or no energy (less then 2 calories).

Fiber has been long associated with its effect on helping constipation, but increasing evidence now supports the role of fiber in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases. Higher fiber intakes have been linked with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some forms of cancer, such as colon cancer.

Fiber may also play a role in lowering blood pressure, and in preventing obesity by limiting weight gain. In addition, higher fiber diets may provide some benefit for inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome.

Dietary fibers are split into two groups according to their solubility.

Some dietary fibers dissolve in water (soluble fibers), form gels (viscous), and are easily digested by bacteria in the colon (fermentable).

These are mostly found in oats, barley, legumes, and citrus fruits, and are most often associated with protecting against heart disease and diabetes by lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels.

The second group do not dissolve in water (insoluble fibers), do not form gels (non-viscous), and are less readily fermented. They’re found mostly in whole grains (bran) and vegetables, they promote bowel movements and help avoid constipation.

A few starches are classified as dietary fibers. Known as resistant starches, they escape digestion and absorption in the small intestine.

Starch may resist digestion for several reasons, including the body’s efficiency in digesting starches and the food’s physical properties. Resistant starch is common in whole or partially milled grains, legumes, and just-ripened bananas.

Cooked potatoes, pasta, and rice that have been chilled also contain resistant starch. Similar to insoluble fibers, resistant starch may support a healthy colon.

Daily fiber intake should be at least 25 grams per day for women and about 38 grams for men. However average individual daily dietary fiber intake about 15 grams a day.

A high-fiber diet may be a little challenging when you first start, because it can increase intestinal gas, so you should add the fiber in gradually, as tolerated.

Keep adding high fiber foods in your diet, and you will see overall improvement in your health.

Some examples of good fiber sources include:

• Flaxseed: 10 grams (2.8 grams fiber)

• Chia seed: 28 grams (10.6 grams of fiber)

• Quinoa: 185 grams cooked (5.2 grams of fiber)

• Lentils: 198 grams (15.6 grams of fiber)

• Broccoli: 1 cup (5 grams of fiber)

• Split peas: 1 cup cooked (16 grams of fiber)

• Peas: 160 grams (8.8 grams of fiber)

• Fig: One large (1.9 grams of fiber)

• Coconut: 80 grams (7.2 grams of fiber)

• Avocado: 150 grams (10.1 grams of fiber)

• Asian Pear: 275 grams (9.9 grams of fiber)

• Collard green: 1 cup cooked (8 grams of fiber)

• Raspberry: 123 grams (8 grams of fiber)

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Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com or (808) 276-6892

1 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee June 20, 2018 8:08 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    This is a valuable Health Education article from Ms. Ayda Ersoy from DietDocHawaii.com, that can help to reduce or remove health problems and also prevent other serious health problems from occurring in our bodies.

    Food derived from, or sourced from, or comes from animals, such as hamburgers, steaks, any other cow or cattle parts, pigs or pork, or ham, pork chops, ribs, or lamb, or chicken, turkey and other birds, or fish or seafood of any kind do not contain dietary fiber. They may be delicious and provide nutrients, but they lack extremely important Dietary Fiber. These animal foods should not be the dominant food in ones diet. There are many, and more and more people, finding out they can live healthier and longer without animal sourced foods.

    Foods derived from animals may contain muscle fibers, but that is NOT Dietary Fiber. Dietary Fiber is what the intestines require to move our food along and have healthy bowel movements, and up to 3 bowel movements a day is fine. Not having a bowel movement evey day is something that should be of a concern. Missing a bowel movement for 2 more days is a serious failure of body function leading to disease.

    Bowel movements should not be runny like diarrhea, nor hard solid dry stools. Nutritionists recommend that bowel movements can be of a “mush” consistency, but stools that look like the shape of your colon that “rush” from your body in a few moments are a sign of good function as well. Experiencing pain during bowel movements is not healthy. Sitting and straining to empty your bowels is not good at all and this type of constipation will swell the anal blood vessels and injure the blood vessels so that they will become hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can bleed over time and by then you are into obvious rectal, if not colon disease. (Dis-ease). Colo-rectal Cancer should be the concern of people who are constipated over an extended period of time, especially decades. Using laxatives is not the best approach to a healthy rectum and colon or the function of those body parts.

    Remember, diseases, including cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc., are, or include, a process (of disease), and all processes take or require TIME. and that “time” is the silent, unseen, progress of the disease. Until finally signs and symptoms of disease are so prominent that people go to the doctor, get a diagnosis, and are sold a treatment, Of which there is no guarantee of success Ad may include negative side effects, or more prescription drugs.

    If you have a big gut, you are suffering from a colon that is over extended or bloated with food that is lacking fiber. Your “gut” in this case is your colon, your constipated colon, it is filled with, over extended, or bloated with feces that should have left your body days and even weeks ago.

    A constipated colon is the secondary effect of too much food derived from animals, predominantly the hoofed animals, but includes the finned (fish) or winged ( birds), and not eating enough DIETARY FIBER rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains mentioned above in Ms. Ayda Ersoy’s very well written HEALTH CARE article, which is all about Personal Health Care, or taking care of your own health, which is the actual PREVENTION of many diseases.

    Many men, victims of a feces bloated belly, think that eating copious amounts of meat of any animal species during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is the macho thing to do and makes them more manly, when in fact the opposite happens, as a big gut is not manly at all; just ask the women in your life, your wife, Mom, daughters, co-workers, and friends. Adding alcohol to the diet especially beer and you multiply the effect of constipation and dehydration.

    Between meals, and not during meals, you should drink large amounts of natural water, preferably not in plastic bottles, but also the water should be filtered to remove the government mandated sanitizing chemicals from it, such as chlorine, and also flouride.

    I believe Ms. Ersoy of DietDocHawaii.com has advised us to drink water at this volume:

    Take your weight in pounds…say you are 200 pounds; and divide that in half.

    That equals 100. That is the amount of ounces of water to drink per day.

    So you should drink 100 ounces of water, if you weigh 200 pounds, in a day or 12 glasses of 8 ounce size a day.

    Better carry a thermos or 2. Just keep reaching for water during the day, it will also not only help you to lose weight but also cause the gastro-colic reflex, which is the urge to defecate and rid yourself of constipation. You can also reduce constipation, dramatically, by not eating all that meat.

    You do not need all that meat for protein because protein is in the fruits and grains and vegetables you need to start eating more of.

    Prevention of disease, hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding, colon polyps, and colo rectal cancer, etc., are more important to prevent than to try to treat after the fact that, you waited too long to prevent, or did not participate in prevention. Prevention is the “pre-cure”.

    Prevention starts right now, today. You can slow, and reverse the process of disease; and prevention starts with Health Education; we can be thankful for Ms. Ersoy’s Health article.

    Mahalo,

    Charles


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