Dietary Therapy: High Fiber Diets
Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010
Can high-fiber diets really do all they claim to do? Studies have looked at the relationship between high-fiber diets and many diseases, including colon cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Proven benefits of a high-fiber diet include prevention and treatment of constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. In addition, certain types of fiber help decrease blood cholesterol levels.
Pectin and gum are water-soluble fibers found inside plant cells. They slow the passage of food through the intestines but do nothing to increase fecal bulk. Beans, oat bran, fruit and vegetables contain soluble fiber.
In contrast, fibers in cell walls are water insoluble. These include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Such fibers increase fecal bulk and speed up the passage of food through the digestive tract.
Wheat bran and whole grains contain the most insoluble fiber, but vegetables and beans also are good sources.Sometimes there is confusion as to the difference between crude fiber and dietary fiber. Both are determined by a laboratory analysis, but crude fiber is only one-seventh to one-half of total dietary fiber.
Diverticula are pouches of the intestinal wall that can become inflamed and painful.It is now known that a high-fiber diet gives better results once the inflammation has subsided.
Foods high in fiber often require more chewing, so a person is unable to eat a large number of calories in a short amount of time. Dietary fiber is found only in plant foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Meat, milk and eggs do not contain fiber.
The form of food may or may not affect its fiber content. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables contain just as much fiber as raw ones. Other types of processing, though, may reduce fiber content. Drying and crushing, for example, destroy the water-holding qualities of fiber.
It appears that the various types of fiber have different roles in the body. For these reasons, avoid fiber supplements. Instead, eat a variety of fiber-rich foods.
This is the best way to receive the maximum benefits from each type of fiber present in foods, and obtain necessary nutrients.
About the AuthorNick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847
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