Fiber Diet and Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases manifested by prolonged increased glucose (blood sugar) in the blood either caused by decreased insulin production or the bloods resistance to insulin. Common symptoms of high blood sugar are frequent urination, increased hunger and increased thirst.
Dietary fiber is a portion of food derived from plants. It allows absorption of nutrients and chemicals by changing the contents of food in the gastrointestinal tract. It has two main components, the soluble fiber, which can be dissolved in water, and the insoluble fiber, which cannot be dissolved in water.
According to research, increasing the daily fiber intake helps maintain blood glucose. Fibers help slow the increase blood sugar after a meal as it changes the component of the food you recently took. Fiber also decrease cholesterol and provides the bulk in consumption that helps in naturally decreasing the hunger.
Recommended Fiber Intake based on age and gender:
- Men 50 years old and below should take 38 grams of fiber per day
- Men 50 years and over should take 30 grams of fiber per day
- Women under 50 years should get 25 grams per day
- Women 50 years and over should take 21 grams per day
Recommend fiber rich foods:
Grains: Oatmeal and other whole grain cereals provide as much as 9 grams of fiber per serving. Grains such as whole-grain pasta, brown rice or quinoa can provide additional fiber requirement and can be taken in addition to other daily meals.
Dried beans, including kidney, black and garbanzos, lentils: Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and iron. These will provide adequate amount of fiber and other dietary requirements when added to your meals.
Fruits with the skin on and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are proved to be the greatest source of fiber. Increasing fruits and vegetable intake is the easiest and most convenient way in obtaining the recommended daily fiber intake.
Fiber itself does not raise blood sugar levels as it is not absorbed by the body. However, it lodges itself to other food components to allow faster and more efficient digestion and absorption of essential nutrients. More importantly, it reduces the impact the carbohydrates have on blood sugar. Carbohydrates tend to affect blood sugar levels faster than fat or protein. Increased fiber intake will significantly slow down release of glucose into the bloodstream as the intestines take more time digesting fiber rich foods.
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