What is dietary fiber?
Fiber is a component of plant-based foods that contains substances such as pectin, lignin, and cellulose. Below are some characteristics of fiber:
● It is not digested, thus, not passed into the bloodstream. It remains in the intestine, and forms part of feces.
● It is necessary for proper intestinal function.
● It retains water
● As mentioned above, fiber is not digested as in the case with other foods such as carbohydrate and proteins. It is however, partially fermented by bacterial flora in the colon, which as a consequence brings about the various intestinal gases.
Fiber is of great benefit to the human body, its regular consumption, at least 25g daily, helps in the prevention of various diseases such as colon cancer, diverticulosis, cholesterol, constipation, and diabetes.
Below are some tips that can help increase fiber intake.
▪ Increase in the consumption of and legumes will in turn increase the total fiber intake of the body. This will be in addition to their benefits in protecting against , prevention of constipation, and reduction of cholesterol levels.
▪ Another tip that helps increase fiber intake, is to eat fruits with all of its pulp instead of drinking fruit juice. The pulp that is usually thrown away in fruits is the component that is made up of fiber, not the fruit juice.
▪ The consumption of bran and other fiber-rich supplements also helps increase fiber intake. It is more ideal to consume them in their natural state, forming part of grains or whole-grains bread.
▪ The replacement of white bread with whole-grain bread in one’s diet also helps increase fiber intake. Whole-grain bread contains about three times the fiber present in white bread.