Saturday, 30 July 2016

What is the importance of fiber in meals?


Fiber is a type of carb found in plant-based foods.

1. While most carbs break down into sugar, fiber stays intact as it passes through your digestive system. Eating fiber along with other carbs helps you feel fuller for longer.

2. It also slows the time it takes digestible carbs to be absorbed into your bloodstream. That helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

3. Fiber helps nourishing the friendly bacteria in the intestine which is known as a prebiotic effect, and is believed to be very beneficial for health and body weight 

The bacteria in the intestine (the gut flora) outnumber the body’s cells 10 to 1. In that respect, we are only 10% human (5). Whereas most foods we eat feed only 10% of our cells, ferment-able fibers and resistant starches feed the other 90%

Fiber and resistant starch passes through the digestive system mostly unchanged, eventually reaching the friendly bacteria in the intestine who end up digesting the fiber and turning it into usable energy.

In the colon, gut bacteria ferment the fibers, producing beneficial byproducts such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate. Butyrate improves colon health and reduces inflammation.. 

Another less-known byproduct is succinate - An organic acid (dicarboxylic acid) 

Succinate is converted to glucose by intestinal cells, a process known as intestinal gluconeogenesis (IGG).IGG improves blood sugar control by inhibiting liver gluconeogenesis.

4. It can reduce constipation and help with weight loss and maintenance. 

5. It may also lower cholesterol levels, as well as your risk of diabetes and heart disease. This may be because fiber is a prebiotic, meaning it promotes healthy gut bacteria. 

So getting enough fiber is important for our health. Yet most people aren’t getting enough fiber. The recommended requirements are 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams for women.


Whole-food carb sources all naturally contain fiber. These include fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

1. Fruits and vegetables

Have more of fruits and vegetables.  Use whole Fruits and Vegetables, do not juice them or peel their skin in case of apples/potatoes/cucumber 

Use more of green leafy vegetables, salads or soups.

All fruit delivers fiber, although some have significantly more than others.

half an avocado delivers five grams of fiber.

For the most fiber, choose raspberries or blackberries at 8 grams per cup. Other good choices are strawberries (3 grams) and blueberries (4 grams)

one small apple has 4 grams of fiber

one small pear has five grams of fiber, whereas a cup of watermelon has one gram

2. Whole grains

Choose Whole Grains over Refined Grains

Whole grains have the germ and bran intact, making them more nutritious than refined grains.

Air-popped popcorn delivers over a gram of fiber per cup. It’s a delicious snack food that’s also a healthy whole grain.

Replace the refined grains in your diet with whole-grain versions. In addition to oatmeal or brown rice, try: Amaranth.Barley.Buckwheat.Bulgur wheat.Farro.Freekeh.Millet.Quinoa.Wheat berries.

Replace all-purpose flour with alternatives. These include whole-wheat flour and flours made from nuts, coconut and other whole grains.  Include almond, hazelnut, chickpea, buckwheat and barley flours.

3. Legumes

Legumes — that is, beans, dried peas and lentils — are an important part of many traditional diets.

They’re very rich in fiber, as well asprotein, carbs, vitamins and minerals.

In fact, a cup of cooked beans can deliver up to 75% of your daily fiber needs

They can also be had as sprouts, hummus and other bean dips.

4. Nuts and seeds 

They provide protein, fat and fiber too

An ounce of almonds has three grams of fiber. They’re also high in unsaturated fats, magnesium and vitamin E

Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses.

They provide omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as 11 grams of fiber per ounce

Flax seeds and fennel seeds also have a good amount of fiber.

5. Supplements

It’s best to get your nutrition, including fiber, from food. But if your fiber intake is low, you might consider taking a supplement.


Although fiber can be obtained from a variety of whole foods, supplements may be convenient for those who find it hard to get enough from their diet.

Here is a list of a few types of prebiotic fiber:

Beta-glucan: Found in cereals, especially oats and barley.
Galacto-oligosaccharides: A food additive also sold as a supplement.
Guar gum: A food additive widely used in a variety of products.
Inulin: Found in chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions and asparagus.
Pectin: Found in fruits, such as apples, oranges, plums and bananas.
Resistant starch: Found in whole grains, legumes, green bananas and potatoes.


Spread your fiber intake throughout the day. Focus on eating high-fiber foods at each meal, including snacks.

Here’s an example of how to make high-fiber choices throughout the day:

Breakfast: Choose a high-fiber cereal or oatmeal and add berries and seeds.
Snack: Pair raw vegetables with bean dip or raw fruit with nut butter.
Lunch: Have a salad. If you make a sandwich, choose 100% whole-grain bread.
Dinner: Add beans and other vegetables to casseroles and stews. Try a variety of cooked whole grains.


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