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Why dietary fiber is good for you.

Dietary fiber are carbohydrates that are not digested and absorbed in the small intestine. Fiber is mostly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grain and beans.

There are two types of Fiber:
Soluble and insoluble fiber

Soluble fiber: This type of fiber dissolves in water and is partially or totallyfermentedin the colon. It draws and retains water in the large intestine (colon) making stool larger and softer. Its fermentation produce vitamins and short chain fatty acids that lowers cholesterol synthesis.

Food sources of soluble fiber:  found in pulp of fruits and vegetables as pectins; found in barley, legume, eggplants, psyllium, oats as betaglucans; found in seeds as gums; found in legumes and brassica vegetables as raffinose

Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber doesn’t  dissolve in water and is not fermented by gut bacteria. It helps move the intestinal content and accelerate the transit of stools.

Food sources of insoluble fiber: found in wholegrain, legumes and skin of fruits and vegetables (cauliflower and potatoes) as cellulose; found in carrots, pears, seeds of fruits, bran, husks of grains as lignins

Benefits of Fiber
• Keep the digestive tract healthy
• Prevents constipation and normalizes bowel movement
• Lowers the production of cholesterol
• Traps toxic substances in the large intestine (colon) which ultimately helps to prevent colon cancer.
• May reduce ulcer pains and prevent peptic (stomach) ulcers.
• Reduces insulin peak, controlling blood sugar which helps prevent or control type2 diabetes.
• Aids satiation and weight control

Recommended Daily Allowance for Fiber:
25g for adult women below 50 years; 21g for adult women above 50
38g for adult men below 50 years; 30g for adult men above 50

Tips in adding fiber to diet
• Add fiber gradually to diet (this is because too much fiber can inhibit the absorption of some minerals).
• Keep constant with time and avoid fluctuations as fluctuations can cause abdominal discomfort,  flatulence or bloating.
• Take fiber with plenty fluids
• Squeeze lemon in water to facilitate some minerals absorption.
• Do not rely on fiber supplements, eat foods rich in fiber instead.
• Switch from refined grains to whole grains.
• Eat more legumes, fruits and vegetables.

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