Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre
Dietary fiber is an important nutrient of a healthy diet. It is described as plant compounds that resist human gut digestion but are completely or partially fermented by gut microbiota. Natural dietary fiber contains a number of phytochemicals, such as plant polyphenols, isoflavones and flavonoids, lignans and carotenoids, as well as vitamins and minerals.
Types of dietary fiber
Dietary fiber is classified into two forms namely soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber: In the stomach, soluble fiber gets dissolved in water to form a gel-like compound. Then, in the large intestine, bacteria breaks down the gel.
- Insoluble fiber: Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and usually remains intact as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract.
Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
1. Boosts Digestive Health
Dietary fiber works in several ways to maintain digestive health. Soluble fiber and water form a gel-like substance in the stomach that slows down the digestive process and controls diarrhoea. Insoluble fiber absorbs water in the colon, bulks the stool, and helps with constipation.
2. Lowers cholesterol levels
Soluble fiber helps lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). Studies also suggest that high-fiber foods may have other heart health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
3. Boosts Heart Health
Dietary fiber is well known for its beneficial effect on heart health. In the small intestine, soluble fiber binds to the cholesterol and excretes it from the body as it passes through the digestive system. Research on fiber and heart disease found that high fiber intake reduced incidence and death of various cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
4. Improves Immunity and Mental Health
Treatment is dependent on the particular electrolyte imbalance and its causes. Some imbalances will go away without treatment. To treat dehydration, your healthcare provider may advice rehydrating with an oral rehydration salt (ORS) solution or electrolyte drinks.
5. Increased Beneficial Gut Bacteria
Probiotics, which make up the gut microbiota, feed on fiber and help them thrive. Gut bacteria digests fermented fiber in the GI tract, producing short-chain fatty acids that have many benefits, including reducing systemic inflammation, which is linked to many chronic health problems.
6. Helps maintain bowel health
A high-fiber diet may reduce risk of developing hemorrhoids and colorectal cancer. Diverticular disease of the colon is an inflammatory disease of the lower GI tract, that is most commonly found in the elderly population. Adequate insoluble fiber in the diet is believed to reduce this risk by up to 40%.
7. Reduces Diabetes Risk and Effects
Soluble fiber has protective and therapeutic effects against type 2 diabetes for those who already have diabetes. Regular consumption of soluble fiber is linked to the improvement in insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, and metabolic profiles. By delaying digestion and enabling a slower metabolism of carbohydrates, soluble fiber helps prevent sudden blood sugar increases.
8. Helps With Weight Loss
Regular consumption of fiber, which slows stomach emptying, will keep you feeling fuller for longer and support weight loss. Also, naturally fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in vitamins and minerals and typically have fewer calories, which contributes to the nutritious diet that is required to lose weight.
9. All-Natural Detox
Fiber naturally scrubs and promotes the removal of toxins from the GI tract. Soluble fiber absorbs toxins like excess estrogen and unhealthy fats before the body can absorb them. Insoluble fiber keeps things moving faster, limiting the amount of time that chemicals like BPA, mercury and pesticides stay in your body. The faster they leave your body, the less chance they are to cause harm.
10. Strong Bones
Certain types of soluble fiber, called prebiotics, have been shown to boost your colon’s ability to absorb minerals like calcium. The increased bioavailability helps maintain bone density.