In this part of our natural weight loss program we will discuss role of fiber in reducing body weight. The main objective of our recommended diet plan is to uncover the wonders of fiber-rich food. Dietary fiber is found in plant foods and is quite heavy and therefore hard to digest.
The role of fiber in maintaining weight has been documented frequently and nutritionists recommend eating a high fiber diet if you want to lose or gain weight. When we eat fibrous foods, we feel that the stomach has been filled thereby consuming very little calories to satisfy our hunger. Fiber helps in maintaining blood sugar level by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates and therefore we don’t feel hungry very often when we eat fiber-rich foods. It is found in many fruits and vegetables which can be easily added to our everyday diet.
Benefits of High Fiber Foods
Dietary fiber is essential for everyone, whether they are at risk of becoming obese or have normal weight. This is because deficiency of this important nutrient, sometimes known as a non-nutritional nutrient because of having no nutrition value, causes many complications in the body. Some of the most noticeable conditions caused by fiber deficiency include high blood sugar level, high cholesterol, constipation, and hemorrhoids. Today, our diet lacks this essential nutrient and as a result most of us suffer from these illnesses and more importantly are worried about our ever-increasing weight. Being overweight can make us vulnerable to a lot of other diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. That is why including fiber-rich foods in our everyday diet is very important.
Most people shy away from following a strict diet plan because they think they would have to eat a lot of foods in order to fulfill their daily nutritional needs. Fortunately, this is not the case with fiber. Commonly used fibrous foods are so rich in fiber that only one serving would be sufficient to fulfill your daily needs. For example, 3 dried figs provide 10.5 grams of fiber, while fresh figs contain 2 grams of fiber. Similarly, 1 cup of cooked peas provide up to 13.4 grams of fiber. There are many other fibrous foods that can be added to your everyday diet to keep fit and healthy, which will be mentioned later in this chapter.
Natural Sources of Fiber Rich Foods:
Some notable dietary sources of fiber are apples, cauliflower, lettuce, figs, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, pears, peaches, and oranges.
Daily Recommended Fiber Intake
The daily recommended fiber consumption depends on your age, gender, height, and frame size. Moreover, it may also vary according to your daily activity level, e.g. whether you remain seated most of the time or do moderate to heavy exercise.
1- Daily Fiber Intake For Adults:
The American Heart Association recommends daily fiber intake to be 25 – 30 grams for adults. According to the American Diabetes Association, daily recommended fiber intake is 20 – 35 grams.
2- Daily Fiber Intake Amount For Men Less Than 50 Years Old:
For men the amount is slightly higher than for women. Men, younger than 50 are advised to consume up to 38 grams of fiber
3- Daily Fiber Intake Amount For Women Less Than 50 Years Old:
Women of this age group must consume up to 25 grams per day.
4- Recommended Daily Fiber Intake Amount For Children:
For children, add 5 grams to their age to determine the amount of fiber they should intake on a daily basis. For example, if the child is 12 years of age he or she should consume 12 + 5 = 17 grams of fiber every day.
Types of Fiber
Fiber is found in two varieties: water soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both types perform their own vital functions in the body and are important for maintaining overall health.
1- Water-soluble Fiber:
Water-soluble fiber absorbs water when the process of digestion is taking place and prevents the stomach from emptying quickly. This type of fiber changes its form and becomes gelatinous because of absorbing water. Many studies have shown that soluble fiber helps in lowering bad cholesterol levels as it prevents absorption of bile acids. Bile acids are required for fat digestion but they should not accumulate in the body. Water soluble fiber regulates blood sugar level in the body and reduces the need for injecting insulin.
Psyllium is a type of soluble fiber which is known for its detoxification abilities and is frequently used in colon cleansing products. Another name for this herb is Ispaghula Husk, which is the main focus of our e-book. Psyllium husk is the outer coating of pysllium seed. Psyllium is also added to a number of fiber supplements available on the market because it is rich in fiber. These husks are low in other nutrients and provide only up to 15 calories per serving. Psyllium husks in powder form provide 4 -6 grams of fiber in 1 teaspoon. The same amount of fiber is provided by 1 tablespoon of whole husks. Psyllium husks have no side effects and can be consumed by people of all ages.
2- Insoluble Fiber:
Insoluble fiber helps in balancing the pH level in the intestines and regulates bowel movements by moving bulk through the intestines. This type of fiber does not change its form in the body. It prevents colon cancer by maintaining the level of acidity in the intestines. Because it eases bowel movements it is very useful for the treatment of constipation.
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