Fibers for health
July 13, 2009, 5:29pm
Aside from celebrating Nutrition month this July, we also celebrate diabetes awareness week. In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that there are around 171 million people worldwide who suffer from this illness. For the year 2030, WHO has further estimated that, worldwide, diabetes could afflict 360 million people, 1/3 of which may come from the Southeast Asia Region. In the Philippines alone, people with diabetes can reach an estimated number of 7.7 million.
While diabetes can be hereditary, a type of diabetes called Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with active lifestyle and proper diet. But for most adults, having an active lifestyle and maintaining proper diet is really very difficult. This is because of the ever increasing time of inactivity among adults. On a conservative estimate, an adult can have at least 18 hours of inactive periods in a day. Well, it’s so easy to say: “then, there’s still six hours a day to be active”, but not most offices have their mini gymnasium for their employees, and in this time of crisis, to spend for gym memberships wouldn’t be that easy to include in the family budget. Oh yes, a walk in the city’s park or open-to-public university campuses would be an option where to walk, run, bike or play, but not too many could really have this done. With many people becoming inactive, we can really come close to the estimated number diabetics in our country alone. We should really exert effort to make our bodies physically active as it can be.
As always mentioned, having a high-fiber diet is another means to prevent diabetes. For you to have more idea as to what fiber your purchased products contain, here are different types of fibers that you can look for from the label’s ingredient lines:
Cellulose, a principal component of the cell wall of most plants and is therefore present in fruits, vegetables and cereals. Much of the fiber in cereal bran is cellulose. Cellulose forms about one quarter of the dietary fibre in grains and fruit and one third in vegetables and nuts.
Hemicellulose/s are polysaccharides that contain sugars other than glucose, and are associated with cellulose in plant cell walls. Approximately one third of the dietary fibre in vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts consist of hemicelluloses.
Pectin. Although fruits contain the most pectin, they also represent 15 to 20 percent of the dietary fibre in vegetables, legumes and nuts.
Beta Glucan, a major component of the cell wall material in oats and barley grains but are present in only small quantities in wheat.
Resistant Starch. Legumes are one of the main sources of resistant starch (RS1) as they have thick cell walls that make the starch inaccessible to enzymes. The cooking and processing of foods can disrupt cell walls, making the starch more available for digestion. Banana is a major source of another type of resistant starch (RS2) in the human diet; but as the banana ripens the amount of resistant decreases.
Non-digestible Oligosaccharides in general are highly fermentable while some have so-called prebiotic properties. Onions, chicory and Jerusalem artichokes are the major dietary sources of naturally occurring fructans, from which inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides are obtained.
The more types of fiber that you see on your food’s label, the better it could be for you for type 2 diabetes prevention and management.
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