Sources of Dietary Fiber and Weight LossFiber, the mostly indigestible part of plant foods, is a major player in keeping the digestive tract healthy and warding off certain diseases.
Moreover, high-fiber meals tend to slow stomach emptying and digestion, making both blood glucose and weight easier to control, which also means that it aids weight loss.
The American Dietetic Association recommends that people consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. If you don’t currently get that much-and most Americans don’t- increase the amount gradually to avoid gastrointestinal side effects.
Fiber is abundant in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes (dried peas and beans). Grain fiber in particular has been linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Both grain and fruit fibers reduce the risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber partially dissolves in water, whereas insoluble fiber does not. These two types of fiber have different health benefits. Soluble fiber forms a gummy substance with water and slows the passage of food through the digestive tract.
Oatmeal, oat bran, apples, strawberries, blueberries, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and barley are all good sources of soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber (roughage) adds bulk to stools and softens them. Thus it helps prevent or relieve constipation. It also helps prevent diverticulitis, an inflammation of the bowel common in people over age 45.
Whole-grain breads and cereals, wheat bran, brown rice, carrots, cabbage, and zucchini are rich in insoluble fiber.
To reduce the risks of both obesity (severe overweight) and insulin resistance syndrome (a condition that may lead to type 2 diabetes), eating breakfast every day appears key.
That was the conclusion of an 8-year study of more than 2,800 adults. Another study found that people who routinely skipped breakfast were more than 4 times more likely to be obese than those who ate breakfast regularly.
So, make room in your mornings for whole-grain cereal or toast. Boost your cereal’s fiber content by adding fruit, nuts, or wheat germ. For leisurely weekend breakfasts, use whole-wheat flour instead of refined white flour in your pancakes, waffles, and muffins. [source: Health Monitor]