Increasing studies indicate that high fiber diets have lots of advantages for body health. High fiber diets can prevent body from diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and the returning of the lost weight. Recent studies have shown that high fiber diets can help maintain a healthy weight, especially in women. Stay in Shape by Getting Enough Fiber then note the following.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cereals. Fibers are a group of carbohydrates that the human digestive system cannot absorb. They are divided into two groups of soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fibers dissolve in water and can be found in peels, vegetables, etc. Insoluble fibers move through human digestive system, absorb water, soften and increase the amount of stools. They not only prevent constipation, but also increase the speed of food moving through digestive system. The best sources of insoluble fiber include whole grain breads, cabbages and beetroots, carrots, broccolis, turnips, cauliflowers and apple skin.
Soluble fibers can be dissolved in water and increase in size (like jelly) when dissolved. As the soluble fiber moves through the digestive system, it attaches to the cholesterol and helps its removal from food. The best sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal (containing highest percentage of soluble fiber compared to other grains), oat bran, cereal, peas, rice bran, citrus, strawberries and apples.
Fiber helps defecation and reduction in the absorption of cholesterol and fat. It is interesting that carcinogens (cancer causing agents) attach to fibers and move faster through colons. Therefore, they reduce the cancer risk.
How can fibers help lose weight?
Human body cannot digest or absorb fibers. Therefore, fibers move through the digestive system without producing calories or nutrition. They can make us feel full faster and as a result eat less food. They cause delay in food excretion. They delay the digestion and absorption processes, along with delaying excretion process and keep you feel full for a longer period of time. (For example a loaf of bread containing whole grains can keep you full for a longer time than two loaves of white bread). Fibers can make fats move faster through digestive system and reduce fat absorption.
Although the increase in fiber in diets can help lose weight, it should be increased gradually because rapid increase in fiber use can result in gas production or diarrhea. You should also make sure that along with increasing fibers, abundant water and liquids must be used. Although fibers are naturally beneficial for digestive system, without using enough liquids they not only will not prevent constipation but also will be the cause of it. Therefore, the more fibers you get, the more liquids you should get.
Strategies to improve fiber utilization
Nowadays it is recommended that adults (especially women who want to stay in shape) use 20- 35 gr fibers per day. In the following a number of strategies are proposed to increase fiber utilization:
- Use breads, cereals and crackers made of whole grains (that is, no white flour should be used to make them).
- Use more cereals. You can add cereals to soups, broths and salads to increase them in your diet.
- Eat enough fruits and vegetables during the day. Eat fruit skins as far as possible.
- Try eating fruits instead of fruit juices because fruits contain more fiber.
- Meats and dairies do not contain fiber. Breads and foods made out of refined grains have lost most of their fibers during the refinement process. Therefore, you should use whole-wheat and natural breads and foods to increase fiber in your diet.