Health & Beauty

Do You Have A Diet Rich In Fiber?

Do-You-Have-A-Diet-Rich-In-Fiber

Dietary fibers are carbohydrates and lignin that are naturally present in plant foods and which are not digested and absorbed by the digestive system. There is also another type of fiber called functional fibers that are actually carbohydrates that have been isolated, extracted and / or purified. To be part of the range of functional fibers, they should have beneficial effects on the body. The functional fibers are not digested or absorbed by the digestive system as well as dietary fiber.

The fibers have different roles to play at the physiological level including the regularization of the gastrointestinal function, lower cholesterol levels and the management of blood glucose (sugar in the blood). They also contribute to the feeling of fullness that can help with weight management by reducing energy intake. There are also numerous studies, but not all who say a proper fiber intake protect against colon cancer.

There are two types of fiber in plant foods: soluble (viscous) and insoluble fibers. These are soluble fibers which have the property of lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber in turn, increase the faecal volume to regularize the intestinal function. Most plant foods contain both types of fiber. However, the amount of each type of fiber varies depending on the food.

Food predominantly insoluble fiber Food predominantly soluble fiber
Wheat bran and wheat grain Psyllium and fortified cereals
Whole grains and derivatives Oat bran cereal and oatmeal (porridge)
Vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage Kale, green peas, spinach, turnip greens, green beans Legumes: kidney beans, peas
Fruits: raspberries, apple, pear, banana, blueberries, strawberries Fruits: orange, grapefruit, mango, dried prunes
Nuts and seeds: almonds, peanuts Vegetables: asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots, onion
Legumes generally Barley

Daily fiber needs

Total fiber requirements have been prepared on a contribution which, according to scientific data, protects against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Age Adequate Intake (AI)
Babies 0 – 6 months ND
Babies 7-12 month ND
Babies 1-3 years 19 g
Children 4-8 years 25 g
Boys 9-13 years 31 g
Girls 9 to 13 years 26 g
 Boys 14 to 18 years  28 g
 Girl 14 – 18 years  26 g
 Men 19-50 years  28 g
 Women 19-50 years  25 g
 Men 50+  30 g
 Women 50+  21 g
 Pregnant women  28 g
 Nursing Women  29 g

* Recommended Dietary Allowance
** AMT: tolerable upper intake

Dietary Fiber sources

The main sources of fiber are fruits and vegetables, and grain products, legumes and nuts.

Food Serving Quantity (g)
Cooked legumes 250 ml (1 cup) 12 – 17
Breakfast cereals, 100% wheat bran 30 g (1 oz) 10
Soybeans, fresh (edamame), boiled 250 ml (1 cup) 8
Raspberries 125 ml (1/2 cup) 4-6
Boiled artichoke 1 medium (120 g) 5
Prunes, cooked 75 ml pitted (80 g) 5
Pear with skin 1 medium (166 g) 5
Green peas, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 4-5
blackberries 125 ml (1/2 cup) 4
Canned pumpkin 125 ml (1/2 cup) 4
Dates and dried figs 60 ml (1/4 cup) 4
Potato with skin, baked 1 medium (150 g) 4
Boiled spinach 125 ml (1/2 cup) 4
Roasted almonds in oil or dry 60 ml (1/4 cup) 4
Sweet potato porridge 1 medium (151 g) 4
Apple with peel 1 medium (138 g) 3
Winter squash, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 3
Papaya 1/2 fruit (153 g) 3
Brussels sprouts, cooked 4 cabbage (84 g) 3
Blueberries 125 ml (1/2 cup) 2-3

Tips to increase fiber intake:

  • Replace refined grains with brown rice, pasta or bread made from whole grains.
  • Consuming more fruits with fiber: apples and pears with their skins, raspberries and blackberries, dried fruits (prunes, apricots and dates).
  • Choose mostly fiber-rich vegetables: artichokes, peas, beets, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, corn, turnip, potatoes with the peel.
  • Eating more often legumes, excellent sources of dietary fiber: white or red beans, lentils, lima beans, chickpeas.
  • Add lentils or beans in soups, casseroles and salads. Cook a vegetarian chili.
  • Spread hummus on a slice of whole grain bread or crackers as a snack rich in fiber.
  • Snack, choose cereals rich in fiber (4 grams of fiber per serving and read) or rich in fiber muffin homemade.
  • When making muffins recipes, replace white flour with whole wheat flour. Add ground flaxseed or wheat bran or oatmeal.
  • Add wheat bran or oatmeal, flax seed or chia to your yogurts and compotes.
  • Add soybeans in soups, stir-fries or salads.
  • As a snack, eat a small handful of dried fruits and nuts.
  • Read food labels and choose breads, bagels, pitas, tortillas and crackers that contain from 2 to 4 grams of fiber per serving.

It is very important to increase fiber intake gradually and drink plenty of water to avoid certain gastrointestinal symptoms.

Potential interactions

A high fiber intake may impair the absorption of various nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. By cons, when there is no deficiency in these nutrients in the diet, adequate fiber intake appear to compromise the reserves of these nutrients.

Deficiency in fiber

Since the fibers are not an essential nutrient, low intake provides no deficiency symptoms. By cons, inadequate intake of fiber can lead to constipation due to the low volume fecal.

Excess fibers

Excessive fiber intake has no deleterious effect apart from some gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating or gas. Overconsumption is very unlikely.

Bibliography

Dietary Reference Intakes, Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006.

Whitney E. Rady Rolfes S. Understanding Nutrition, 11th edition, Thomson Learning, 2008.

About the author

Paul Morris

Paul Morris is an entrepreneur, consultant and author. He is an advisor at Xpert Automation, a tech-based business incubator focused on scalable startups, and founder of ContentFy.

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