From what I’ve read of dietary fiber, it feels like the body does the equivalent of eating sugarcane where you squeeze the juice out of sugarcane pieces and discard the fibrous part of the grass. Similarly when you eat plants, your digestive system squeezes bioactive components like vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants and discards the indigestible parts of plants. Broadly, dietary fiber has been defined as the edible part of plants, or similar carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestine. Fiber is proving to be very important for good health. Eating a fiber-rich diet not only prevents constipation, but also helps stave off cardio-vascular disease, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
There are two types of dietary fiber- Soluble and Insouble fiber. As the name suggests, soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms viscous gels. This slows digestion. They bypass digestion in the small intestine and are easily fermented by the flora of large intestine. It’s found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils, peas and some fruits and vegetables. It is also found is psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Insoluble fibers are not water-soluble, they do not form gels and their fermentation is severely limited. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. It includes foods such as wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains.
There are many ways through which fiber exerts its effects. Firstly, eating fiber makes you feel fuller and this decreases the urge for snacking on sugary, fatty, high calorie (and tasty) foods. Second, it resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine where it is fermented by the gut bacteria to release short chain fatty acids. This triggers the release of hormones that induce satiety and also compounds that stimulate the release of insulin. Third, since fiber increases fecal bulking and viscosity, there is less time to absorb macronutrients like fats and also there is less contact time between potential carcinogens and your cells. It also eliminates toxins that are bad for skin. Fourth, increase in fiber leads to more availability of antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins and phytochemicals from plants.
More and more research is revealing the extreme importance of fiber to good health. We know the discomfort of constipation, feeling bloated and low energy when we are on a low fiber diet. This along with the numerous diseases that are prevented by fiber is more than good enough reason to consume fiber. It is very easy and delicious to consume fiber. For example, a crunchy salad with nuts, overnight oats, or spiced vegetable curry. Our products at zabardastreats are loaded with fiber. Made of dates, nuts and seeds and flavored with plant-based superfoods that have been picked for their nutritive value, they are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Next time you have a snacking urge, try our energy balls or bars. We guarantee they will satisfy your craving and give you relief!