INTRODUCTION

Ever wondered why there was a need to increase the classes of food from the custom six to a seven? Fiber foods were categorized under the other six classes of food until nutritionists discovered how essential fiber foods are, and decided it should be a class on its own.

A lot of people tend to overlook the need to always add fiber foods to their diets because they don’t know the tons of benefits attached. Eating well is very important for growth and a healthy body system. This is why a balanced diet is always recommended, but a diet is not balanced without dietary fiber foods.

BALANCED DIETS

A number of people believe the idea of regularly eating a balanced diet is superficial but it’s very achievable. A balanced diet is basically a diet that contains different classes of food and provides adequate nutrition needed by the body.

Balanced diets are very important for the body to function properly. When there’s a lack of any nutrients, it makes the body susceptible to health issues. In the same wise, excess of certain nutrients in the body, especially the ones needed in small quantities, can lead to complications that will cause the need for our diets to be balanced.

CLASSES OF FOOD

We’ll be looking at the seven major classes of food that make up a balanced diet. They are Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats and Oils, Vitamins, Minerals, Water, and Dietary fiber.

  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the major source of energy in the body because they produce glucose as their end products. Carbohydrates can be further divided into two main classes: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates digest quickly and provide energy for a short period of time; e.g White rice; while complex carbohydrates digest slowly and gradually provide energy for a longer period. Common food sources of carbohydrates are Yam, Rice, Sugar, Fruits, Cereals, Bread, Honey, etc.

  • Proteins: Protein is the class of food that mainly aids the repair and replacement of damaged cells or tissues in the body. When broken down, they produce amino acids that can penetrate the body cells.

Proteins are also a source of energy and they help synthesize different enzymes needed in the body. The inadequacy of protein in the body can lead to the development of several health issues such as kwashiorkor. Food sources of proteins include Milk, egg, beef, liver, fish, beans, etc.

  • Fats and Oils: Fats produce lipids in the body. Liquid fats at room temperature are regarded as Oils. Fats are further divided into two main classes: saturated and unsaturated.

Saturated fats are fats that are solid at room temperature; e.g butter and cheese; while unsaturated fats are fats that are liquid at room temperature; e.g olive oil. Unsaturated fats are considered safer than saturated fats. Fats are a source of energy and they produce fatty acids that help maintain the body. They also support organs like the kidney, liver, and heart.

Fats are not supposed to be taken in excess quantities because they can block the adipose tissues and cause obesity when not digested. Food sources of Fats include Butter, cheese, groundnut oil, coconut oil, fish oil, etc.

  • Vitamins: Vitamins are essential nutrients that are needed in the body but in small quantities. There are six types of vitamins and they all have specific functions: A, B, C, D, E, and K. Vitamins protect the body from diseases and help maintain good health. They also help in the building of a stronger skeletal system. Food sources of Vitamins include Carrots, Oranges, vegetables, milk, fish, etc.

  • Minerals: Minerals are inorganic nutrients needed in small quantities for the proper growth of the body. Examples of these minerals are calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, etc.

They help the body fight against diseases. They also aid the balance of many functions in the body and provide support for cells and tissues. Food sources of Minerals include milk, cheese, vegetables, spinach, butter, millet, etc.

  • Water: Water is a very important class of food because it aids the digestion of all other foods. It helps the body get rid of waste contents and regulates body temperature.

It also helps the body to stay hydrated. Water is needed constantly in the body and in large quantities. Food sources of water lettuce, cucumber, watermelon, tomato, spinach, etc.

  • Dietary Fiber: Dietary fiber does not get digested in the body but it aids proper digestion. Food sources of dietary fiber include Wheat, barleys, chia seeds, etc.

HIGH DIETARY FIBRE FOODS.

What Are Dietary Fibre Foods?

Also known as roughages, dietary fibers are a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body. It passes through the digestive tract and moves out as waste the same way it was consumed.

Types Of Dietary Fibre.

There are mainly two types: soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble Fibre: This type of dietary fiber dissolves in water. It helps in lowering the cholesterol level in the body. Food sources of soluble fiber include beans, barley, carrots, etc.

  • Insoluble Fibre: This type does not dissolve in water. It aids easier movement in the digestive tract. Food sources of insoluble fiber include wheat, potatoes, etc.

Sources Of Dietary Fibre.

The source of dietary fibers can be grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, dairy products, etc. Top foods that are high in dietary fiber include:

  • Apples

  • Bananas

  • Oranges

  • Strawberries

  • Raspberries

  • Blackberries

  • Carrots

  • Avocado

  • Beets

  • Broccoli

  • Potatoes

  • Beans

  • Soybeans

  • Lentils

  • Brown rice

  • Kidney beans

  • Cereals

  • Whole-grain bread

  • Oats

  • Milk

  • Yogurt

  • Dark chocolates

  • Popcorn

  • Almonds

  • Coconut

  • Chia seeds, etc.

Benefits Of Dietary Fibre

A lot of skepticism has been attached to the benefits of dietary fiber because of its indigestible characteristics. Its nutrients might not be absorbed into the bloodstream but it aids a number of body functions. Some of these body functions include:

  • Better Digestion Process: Movement of food substance in the digestive tract is aided by dietary fibers. It also helps in solidifying and softening stools for easier passage out of the body. Dietary fibers generally reduce constipation and aid in a smooth digestion process.

  • Good Colon Health: Dietary fibers are fermented in the colon. They particularly help to reduce the risk of the colon developing diverticulitis, colorectal cancer, and other colon issues.

  • Reduces Cholesterol Levels: Soluble dietary fibers help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by reducing the density of the lipids and lipoproteins. High cholesterol level is very dangerous to health because it could lead to increased blood pressure or heart attack.

  • Controls Blood Sugar Levels: Dietary fibers help slow down the absorption of sugar in the body thereby regulating the sugar level. When the sugar level in the body is regulated, there is a reduced risk of developing diabetes and other sugar-related health issues.

  • Increases Good Bacteria Action: The good bacteria in our large intestine are very important for the overall health of the body. For these bacteria to live, they need to feed on nutrients; but oftentimes, nutrients are already absorbed in the small intestine. Dietary fibers are the only nutrients that don’t get absorbed in the small intestine. So they are able to get into the large intestine unaltered. The bacteria then feeds off the fiber to optimize its actions.

  • Helps Weight Loss: Soluble dietary fibers can reduce a person’s appetite thereby leading to gradual weight loss. Some fibers can also aid weight loss by reducing the number of calories being absorbed by the body.

Complications of Inadequate Dietary Fibre

There are different health issues that can be developed in the body when your diet regularly lacks enough fiber. Common ones include:

  • Constipation: This is one of the most common conditions that can result from the consumption of low dietary fiber. Fiber aids bowel movement by bulking up stool and acting as a laxative. When there’s a lack of fiber, bowel movement becomes difficult thereby causing constipation.

  • Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is a condition where the blood sugar level reduces drastically. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia are blurry vision, fatigue, drowsiness, etc.

  • Weight Gain: When your diet lacks enough dietary fiber, you might begin to gain unwanted weight that can eventually lead to obesity.

  • Hunger: You might also begin to feel hungry incessantly when your body is low on dietary fiber because your food is not digesting properly.

OVERVIEW

In maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is very important for your diet to contain high dietary fiber foods. Vegetables, fruits, and dairy products are very good sources of fiber. Dietary fibers shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities at once so as to avoid bloating or abdominal cramps.

It should also be consumed with lots of water. Taking fibers without water can lead to much worse constipation than you’re trying to avoid. Take your fibers gradually for your body to get accustomed to it.

Dieticians recommend a daily intake of 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men. Add more high dietary fiber foods to your daily diet for good health.

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