Foods High in Fiber
When your body does not get the right amount of fiber daily, then slowly over time major health hazards can form. These may not be visible at first but will become more prominent at later stages and will create severe problems and diseases. Dietary fiber is not digested in the body but this carbohydrate helps regulate your immune system, maintains your body weight and cholesterol levels. If you eat a diet that is high in proteins but low in carbohydrate, you are limiting your fiber intake. Other processed carbohydrates like pasta and white bread are also low in fiber content. Let’s look at some of the foods high in fiber.
How much fiber is required by the body?
According to the Institute of Medicine, women below the age of 50 years should consume atleast 25 grams of fiber daily while those over 50 years should consume around 21 grams of fiber. For men below the age of 50 years, 38 grams of fiber is required in a day while for those over 50 years, 30 grams of fiber are required in day. This is the daily intake that each person needs to remain healthy and anything above or below this can create severe health hazards. You can add more fiber to your diet by eating foods like vegetables, whole-grain brown rice, fruits, seeds, oatmeal and quinoa, nuts and legumes. Other foods high in fiber are, Berries, Apples, Grapefruit, Cherries, Pineapple, Apricots, Avocados, Kale, Green Peas, Beans, etc.
What health hazards does it cause?
A diet that is low in fiber has many negative effects on the body such as:
Dietary fiber may not be digested in the body but it absorbs a lot of water in your body and thus expands and adds volume to your fecal matter. This helps the fecal matter move out of the body regularly and keeps it soft as well so that it is easy to get out of the body. Thus, fiber helps regulate your bowel movements and ensures that most of the rubbish in your body is excreted. If you don’t consume the required daily intake of fiber daily, you will have severe digestive problems like indigestion and constipation.
Often hemorrhoids can also form in your body due to severe constipation as you strain to excrete the fecal matter. If you have enough fiber, you will not need to strain to excrete the fecal matter and thus hemorrhoids will not form. An irregular bowel movement and straining can also create pouches in your colon. This is called diverticular disease where the colon gets inflamed and causes severe pain. Thus consuming the right amount of fibers will also prevent this painful condition, but make sure you also drink enough water when consuming fibers.
Generally, when your body digests food, it secretes bile acid that is full of the cholesterol from your body. A part of this bile acid is reabsorbed into the body with the nutrients and thus your cholesterol levels increase. However, when you consume the right amount of fiber, the bile acid gets bound to the fiber and thus most of the cholesterol is removed from your body when the fiber is excreted out. Thus if you consume a diet high in fibers and low in saturated fat, your cholesterol levels will fall drastically.
Studies have shown that there is an inverse relation between your body weight and the amount of fiber consumed. When you consume less fiber, you tend to gain weight. This is because fiber helps keep the body satiated and makes you feel full for long. Thus you don’t feel the need to compulsively overeat and will consume smaller meals. It also has a lot of water to help dissolve food and contains very little calories. Food items that are rich in fiber also take more time to chew and thus you tend to stick to the basic minimums. Thus your overall weight remains constant and you may even lose a few pounds and stay healthy by consuming a diet that is rich in fibers.
Consuming less fiber can also help increase the risk of chronic diseases like colorectal cancer. When your body gets the required amount of fiber, the antioxidants in these plant-based foods help protect the body from any kind of damage and diseases. Thus eating fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk of cancer and keeps you fit and healthy for a long time. A fiber-rich diet will also regulate your immune system due to the presence of vitamins and minerals.
Your body is at high risk of developing diabetes if you don’t consume enough fiber as the fiber content in your body helps regulate insulin levels and also heightens metabolism. This is especially true of plant-based food that is high in water content like fruits and vegetables as the food dissolves faster and better and breaks down easily in the body. Thus increasing your fiber intake can also help prevent diabetes in your body and keep you healthy and fit.
When a low-fiber diet may be necessary
Generally, doctors may recommend a low fiber diet after a major surgery or treatment. Also, when the bowel gets narrow after an inflammatory disease, you may have to consume less fibers. In such cases you will have to consume a low-fiber diet but consult your nutritionist as to what alternatives do you have and how you can keep your body fit despite the low fiber content. You should only follow a low-fiber diet when it is recommended by doctors and otherwise you need to maintain the regular levels of fiber in your body.
Thus, as you have seen fiber plays a major role in keeping your body strong by regulating most of its functions and preventing many diseases. Consuming more plant-based foods helps dissolve food more easily, speeds up metabolism, removes cholesterol, increases fecal matter, prevents constipation, reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer and helps you maintain a good figure. Thus keep piling up on that fiber daily but make sure you don’t go overboard or you may heighten certain conditions like constipation etc. Just consume the daily required amount of fibers. Let’s eat foods high in fiber and live disease-free.
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