The nutrients that enter the body through various kinds of foods are digested by many enzymes inside present in the digestive system. There are some components of food that are not digested in the body as there are no intestinal enzymes to digest them. One such component is dietary fiber that enters the body through various plant sources. However, a part of the dietary fiber is metabolized and digested by bacteria found in the lower gut. These different types of fibers include gum, pectin, cellulose, hemi-cellulose mucilage, and lignin. There are two types of fibers present in plant food; soluble dietary fibers and insoluble dietary fibers. Presence of both these fibers is beneficial for the body in the following ways:
1.Slows the digestive process.
Soluble fiber reduces the rate of digestion in both the stomach and the small intestine. Slowing down of the digestive process forces the nutrients to expend additional time in the region responsible for digestion and absorption of foods. This improves the absorption of minerals, and vitamins present in food.
2.Beneficial for diabetics.
Due to slow down of digestive process the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose is delayed, thus stabilizing blood sugar levels.
3.Helps in weight loss.
When soluble fiber comes in direct contact with water present in the digestive tract, both together form a thick gel. As a result of this swelling-effect our stomach feels full and satiate without adding many calories. The net result of all this is loss of pounds of weight from the body.
4.Reduces levels of blood cholesterol
Regular intake of soluble fiber helps to reduce blood cholesterol. Fiber present in food, binds with cholesterol and bile acids present in digestive tract. This prevents their absorption in the body.
5.Improves bowel movement.
Insoluble fiber present in food increases the volume of stool and stimulates regular bowel movement. This promotes peristalsis- a movement by which stool easily moves out of the body. So, presence of insoluble fiber in food makes the intestinal tract healthy, preventing the occurrence of digestive problems like constipation, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
6.Prevent the occurrence of high BP
Insoluble fiber causes quick movement of waste materials from the lower part of digestive tract. This reduces the absorption of salts and toxins, reducing the risk of increased blood pressure.
With so many benefits for human health, it is important to have both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers in your diet. Make vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts a part of your diet and stay healthy.