Dietary fiber is part of the plant food in the diet, known for its resistance to digestive enzymes, in addition to being a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest, and fiber includes both polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignin. Unlike most of the carbohydrates that are broken down and converted within the body into sugars, the fiber is not broken down into sugars, and instead it passes through the body undigested.
Many suffer from a lack of fiber, which is due to the prevalence of modern diets that in most cases ignore some categories of foods rich in fiber or severely restrict the amount of food eaten. Things get even worse when some food products are labeled «made with whole grains» in loose terms, for example, on any item that contains any amount of whole grains.
Most types of whole grains are rich sources of fiber, including brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta and bulgur. The percentage of fiber in different whole grain products should range from 3.5% to 18%, meaning that they contain between only 0.5 grams of fiber to approximately 3 grams per meal, so you should choose products that contain more than 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Dietary fiber is characterized by many physical and chemical properties that are responsible for its functional behavior, such as solubility, fermentation, viscosity, and water absorption. It should also be noted that fibers are divided into dietary fibers naturally present in foods, and functional fibers, which are fibers extracted or isolated from whole foods, and then added to processed foods.
The Importance of Fiber
Fiber is generally defined as «a type of carbohydrate with a pattern that is not easily digested in the small intestine. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes contain natural fiber». It is worth noting that children and adults need between 20-38 grams of fiber to ensure the maintenance of good health. Women should eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should eat 30 to 38 grams per day. In terms of how much fiber to eat, an ideal fiber intake based on daily calorie intake, meaning that for every 1,000 calories, 14 grams of fiber should be consumed.
It is worth paying attention to the amount of fiber allowed to be eaten by an individual within its age group. As eating more than 70 grams during the day can cause some discomfort in the digestive system and the most important symptoms associated with this are gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and a feeling of abdominal cramps.
Excessive intake of fiber may result in a lack of absorption of some important elements and minerals, such as iron, calcium, and zinc, due to the association of fiber with these elements, and in some serious cases, too much fiber may lead to blockage of the intestine and prevent the movement of its contents.
Types of Fiber
There are 2 types of fibers:
• Insoluble fiber: The main function of these fibers is to facilitate the movement of food through the digestive system.
• Soluble fiber: It absorbs water like a sponge, hinders the absorption of fat and cholesterol in the body and helps control blood sugar.
It is recommended to eat more of the two types of fiber for their multiple health benefits that promote a healthy whole body. There are many health benefits of eating a food rich in fiber, the most important of which are the following:
Maintaining normal bowel movement
Fiber, especially insoluble ones, helps reduce the incidence of constipation, by increasing stool weight, size, and softness, the matter which leads to easy passage and exit from the body, in addition to the fact that fiber relieves the problem of diarrhea by absorbing water from the intestines and increasing the consistency of stool.
Maintaining the integrity of the intestine
A diet rich in fiber helps reduce the risk of hemorrhoids, colitis, diverticular disease, and colorectal cancer.
Preventing heart disease
Soluble fiber helps reduce the risk of heart disease, by lowering total cholesterol levels, especially low-density lipoproteins, known as bad cholesterol.
Controlling blood sugar levels
A diet rich in insoluble fiber helps reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and water soluble fiber reduces the speed of sugar absorption and improves blood sugar level.
Healthy body weight control
Food rich in fiber helps you feel full and full without adding more calories to the body. Since fiber is not absorbed by the body, and these foods often take longer to eat, and this helps prevent weight gain.
Symptoms of Fiber Deficiency
The lack of fiber in the diet causes a person to suffer from:
Irregular bowel movements
• Fluctuations in blood sugar
• Not feeling full after meals
• Increased risk of high blood cholesterol levels
• Increased risk of developing high blood pressure
It has also been tested that low levels of the gut microbiome can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, weaken the immune system, and affects skin, mood, and general energy.
17 Foods Rich in Fiber
Dietitians advise gradual intake of fiber-rich foods, with the need to make sure to drink plenty of water. These foods can be added gradually to your meals, as one portion of fiber-rich food to one meal per day, then increase it according to your endurance. However, you need to be cautious that eating too much fiber without enough fluids (water) can cause abdominal pain, constipation, or bloating.
Beets are a popular vegetable available during the winter season, as they are loaded with fiber and many essential nutrients. They are also rich in iron and potassium which participate in preventing anemia and high blood pressure.
One of the popular foods rich in fiber. Easy to find, as it is and available in public markets. Carrots are widely used for daily culinary needs.
A popular choice for fiber is green mustard. It is known for its good effect on health and the good taste that it has. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K which are essential for the healthy functioning of the body. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that provides powerful protection against injury caused by free radicals and infection. Viral like the flu.
Apples are rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and more, these nutrients are touted to help shed extra kilos, manage diabetes, and promote a healthy heart.
Legumes are high in fiber and protein. They include lentils, beans, and chickpeas. It can easily be substituted for meat.
Nuts and Seeds
It is widely known that nuts and seeds are a good source of fiber and they are also rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Dates are rich in fiber and potassium. In addition to the great taste, dates contain protein, vitamins and minerals. It contains a high percentage of polyphenols and polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds that can protect the body from infections, and dates contain more polyphenols than most other fruits and vegetables.
Dates are an alternative to calorie-free sweets while providing essential nutrients, such as vitamin B6 and iron. They are high in fiber, only half a cup of dates provides 12% of an individual’s daily fiber needs, and fiber helps a person feel full for a longer time.
Dates are rich in potassium, a substance the body needs for a healthy heart. Potassium also helps build muscle and protein in the body. People can replace sugar, chocolate chips, or candy in baking recipes with dates to make sure they’re eating natural sugars instead of refined sugars.
In addition to their rich vitamin C content, berries of almost all types are at the top of the fruit category in terms of fiber content. Raspberry gives a good sense of fullness.
Pears are rich in fiber and several other vitamins. Pear can be cooked with a sprinkle of cinnamon as a tasty dessert.
It is a nutritious, low-priced food, rich in proteins and many other nutrients. It is also rich in fiber. One cup of cooked lentils provides the body with 15.6 grams of fiber.
It is a legume rich in proteins and minerals, and one cup of cooked chickpeas contains 12.5 grams of fiber.
It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and it is also rich in fiber, especially beta-glucan fibers, which have significant effects on blood sugar and cholesterol levels. One cup of raw oats contains 16.5 grams. of fibers.
It is a type of cruciferous vegetable, which is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, manganese, iron, and potassium. It is also rich in protein compared to other types of vegetables. It is worth noting that one cup of broccoli contains 2.4 grams of fiber.
It is a fruit rich in nutrients beneficial to health. Such as vitamin C, antioxidants, and manganese, and it is also characterized by its delicious taste, and it contains a good amount of fiber. One cup of strawberries contains 3 grams of fiber.
It is recommended to eat whole wheat bread, oatmeal with whole grains and fiber, whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, and quinoa or brown rice instead of white rice.
Avocados are known for their healthy fats, but they are also a surprisingly excellent source of fiber. This fruit differs from other fruits in its high content of healthy fats instead of carbohydrates, and it is also rich in many beneficial nutrients. In addition to their high fiber content, as one cup of avocado provides the body with 10 grams of fiber.
Bananas are a very rich source of potassium and fiber. It is advised to peel and cutting the bananas into bite-size pieces and then freezing them for later use to thicken juices or mash them up into a nice cream.
Foods that Lack Fiber
Most types of plant foods contain fiber, but in different proportions, and the following is a mention of foods that do not contain dietary fiber:
Fish, meat and poultry: Fish and seafood do not contain dietary fiber, including tuna, salmon, swordfish, halibut, and other types of fish, in addition to crab, shrimp, and oysters, and these foods are a very rich source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. as potassium. Red meat and poultry also do not contain dietary fiber, including beef, veal, lamb, chicken, turkey, and duck, and in the event of a diet low in dietary fiber, it is recommended to avoid luncheon meat, sausages, and sausage.
Eggs: They are also considered a fiber-free food.
Milk and dairy products: Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cheese, ice cream, and frozen yogurt do not contain dietary fiber, but you should pay attention to some dairy products such as: yogurt or ice cream that contains fruit pieces, which contain different amounts of dietary fiber. Milk products containing nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, or granola should also be avoided if you are on a low-fiber diet.
Gelatin and broth: Clear broth, and broth with meat that does not contain vegetables are foods without dietary fiber, and pure gelatin desserts do not contain dietary fiber, and the high percentage of water in these foods can help to reach the body’s fluid needs, especially if The health condition was causing diarrhea.
Clear drinks: Clear drinks often do not contain dietary fiber, such as: water, tea, coffee, cranberry juice cocktail, and some types of fruit drinks. It is worth noting that fruit and vegetable juices contain different amounts of dietary fiber, so it is recommended to consult a doctor about The possibility of allowing fruit and vegetable juices for a diet low in dietary fiber.
In a diet low in dietary fiber, the doctor or dietitian may allow eating a certain number of grams of dietary fiber per day, i.e. 10 to 15 grams for some health conditions, and in this case it is allowed to eat foods low in dietary fiber, but some of these foods can cause inconvenience. Therefore, you should consult your doctor or dietitian if one of the foods may worsen of your health. The following is a mention of some foods that are allowed to be eaten in a diet low in dietary fiber:
Low-fiber starches: Refined white bread, white pasta, biscuits, and dry cereals such as: puffed rice, and corn flakes can be eaten, and you must make sure that these foods contain less than 2 grams of dietary fiber per meal, and whole grain bread should be avoided, Brown rice, barley, oats, and popcorn, as well as whole-wheat crackers, cereal, and pasta.
Low-fiber vegetables: Some types of fresh vegetables can be eaten, such as shredded lettuce in small quantities at first, cucumbers without the skin and seeds, zucchini, and some other vegetables if they are well cooked or canned without seeds and pulp, and juices made from them can be drunk if They did not contain seeds.
Examples include: yellow squash without seeds, spinach, pumpkin, eggplant, peeled potatoes, green beans, beets, and carrots. You should avoid eating any kind of vegetables not mentioned, and it is not recommended to eat fresh vegetables if they can be cooked, and all kinds of fried vegetables, vegetables and sauces that contain seeds should be avoided.
Low-fiber fruits: Fruit juice that does not contain pulp, and many types of canned fruits and fruit sauces, such as: apple sauce, can be drunk, but canned fruits should be avoided in heavy drink, and fresh fruit that can be eaten are well-ripened apricots, bananas, and cantaloupe watermelon, nectarines, papaya, and peaches.
You should also avoid any kind of fresh fruits not mentioned, and you should avoid canned and fresh pineapple, fresh figs, berries, all kinds of dried fruits, fruit seeds, dried plums, and the juice made from them. Fats and oils: Butter, ghee, oils, mayonnaise, whipped cream, and various salad dressings can be eaten.
Disadvantages of Using Fiber
There are some cases that must be careful and alert when consuming fiber, and we mention the following:
People with Crohn’s disease: Fiber may cause a blockage in the intestines for these patients.
People with diabetes: As mentioned previously; fiber helps reduce blood sugar levels, so diabetics should pay attention to their blood sugar levels when eating it. It is also recommended to consult a doctor or health care provider to plan a diet appropriate for their condition, and it contains the recommended amounts of fiber.