Dietary fiber is recognized as a plant-based nutrient that is most times dubbed roughage. It’s a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down into a digestive sugar molecule.
Hence, a fiber transports through the intestinal tract moderately unbroken. Specifically, fiber is very important for digestion, blood sugar regulation, weight management, cholesterol maintenance, sugar balance and many more.
While it has equally been linked decreasing the risk of cancer as well as increase longevity, medical institutes have recommended a daily amount of fiber intake. It was tagged that men aged 50 and younger should consume nothing less and more than 38 grams and men aged 51 and older can consume 30grams.
Women around the age of 50 and younger can consume about 25 grams in a day and older counterparts can have 21 grams. However, fiber can be categorized into the soluble and insoluble fiber.
The soluble fiber, including gum, pectin, and mucilage dissolves in water while the insoluble fiber, including cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose doesn’t dissolve in water. In the human body, the soluble fiber dissolves and in turn becomes a gel-like substance while the insoluble retains its shape.
Both types of fibers have significant benefits. The soluble fiber is recognized to assist reduce blood glucose, i.e. the level of sugar as well as lower blood cholesterol.
On the other hand, the insoluble fiber helps speed up the passage of food through the digestive system. It also helps to prevent and regulate constipation. Importantly, an insoluble fiber help increases a human’s fecal bulk, making stools pass out easily.
Many of the plant-based foods, however, contain both the insoluble and soluble fiber, but the amount in each varies in different foods. Best sources of soluble fiber include citrus fruits, peas, oatmeal, beans, lentils, barley, apples, and blueberries.
While best sources of insoluble fiber include wheat bran, brown rice, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, foods with whole-wheats and cauliflower. Nuts and Carrots are also good sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
What’s An Antioxidant?
Antioxidants are recognized as substances that help prevent or slow down damages to the cells caused by unbalanced molecules, free radicals. Called the ‘Free-radical scavengers’, the major sources of antioxidants can be artificial and natural. Some specific plant-based foods are believed to be quite rich in antioxidants. Similarly, the human body also produces antioxidants – known as the Endogenous Antioxidants.
The free radicals are regarded as waste substances usually produced by cells as the body processes food as well as react to the environment. If your body cannot process or perhaps remove free radicals effectively, it can result in oxidative stress. Having oxidative stress can be quite harmful to one’s cells and body function.
The activities that can result in oxidative stress include excessive exercise, smoking, radiation, tissue trauma due to an injury or inflammation, environmental pollution, radiation, consumption of certain foods, most especially with refined and processed foods, as well as industrial solvents.
Free radicals, which are also known as Reactive Oxygen Species can increase production through cigarette smoke, ultraviolet exposure, pollution, and inflammation. Equally, Oxidative stress has been medically linked to cancer, stroke, respiratory disease, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, ischemic conditions, and immune deficiency among others.
However, Antioxidants are also recognized to help neutralize free radicals in the body and this is believed to help boost a human’s overall health. Catechins, polyphenols, flavones, flavonoids, as well as phytoestrogens, are all types of antioxidants found in plant-based foods – vegetables and fruits. To get antioxidants, you can try to include the following in your diet: Liver, Eggs, Berries, Bell peppers, Oranges, Leafy vegetables, Nuts and Seeds, Sunflower, Peas, Spinach, Mangoes, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Papaya, Corn, Wheat, and Legumes e.t.c.
The Fiber & Antioxidants Activity
Fiber helps in protecting the colon from cancer by transporting antioxidants into the large intestine. A research conducted on Fiber and Antioxidants revealed that fiber can bind up about 80 percent of cancer-inhibiting antioxidant polyphenols in vegetables and fruit, protecting the antioxidants from early digestion in the small intestine as well as in the stomach.
Fiber, which acts as an antioxidant trafficker by carefully transporting antioxidant nutrients to the colon can also provide protection against cancers. Fiber antioxidant activity has been researched on and it appears both can reduce the adverse effect of reactive nitrogen species and reactive oxygen species on physiological functions in humans.
The fiber and antioxidant components in food are believed by medical professionals to be important in decreasing the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Similarly, the fiber antioxidant activity is also able to protect your cells from free radical damage, scavenging radicals, decomposing peroxides as well as in binding metal ions. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown a linkage between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and a reduced risk for stroke, heart disease, and cancer. A lowered risk of obesity and better management of diabetes are other extra benefits linked to fiber and antioxidant plant foods.
While less is known about the interaction between fiber and antioxidant, it’s known that both interactions can, however, lessen the bio-availability of macronutrients like fats and minerals. Since it has also been demonstrated that pectin strongly decreased the bioavailability of β-carotene in humans, fiber and antioxidant activity are suspected to also have an impact on the absorption of other carotenoids.
The main physiological effect of fiber in the small intestine is to lower the rate of release of antioxidants. The significant factors involved in the effect of fiber and antioxidant activity/digestion include the physical trapping of antioxidants within fruit tissues as well as improved viscosity of gastric fluids restricting the peristaltic mixing process that enhances the transportation of enzymes to their substrates and soluble antioxidant to the gull wall.
Nevertheless, Fiber and Antioxidants play an essential part of a healthful diet, although a lot of individuals do not still meet with the recommended fiber daily intake. Both substances have been researched and discovered they can both help in maintaining heart health, weight loss, constipation as well as feed good bacteria in one’s gut. One significant way of improving one’s fiber and antioxidant intake is by not peeling off edible skins of vegetables and fruits.