It is a well-known fact that fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, but did you know that plant-based fiber can be divided into various classifications? Primarily, fiber is categorized into soluble and insoluble fibers, and under these two categories we have quite a variety of particular soluble and insoluble fibers, including pectins, lignins, beta-glucans, fructooligosaccharides (if you can pronounce it!),polyols, etc.
Among these numerous types of fiber, many are considered to be fermentable fiber. Let’s take a look at what exactly fermentable fiber is, how it benefits us, and, of course, the question we’re all wondering; is there fermentable fiber in black gram?
What is Fermentable Fiber?
When we talk about fermentation in regards to fiber, it is not a method of food preparation as in the case of fermented kimchi, sauerkraut, or yogurt. Rather, fermentable fiber refers to a natural process that begins to happen after certain soluble fibers are consumed.
When we eat foods with fermentable fiber, it creates an intestinal environment where gut microbiota can flourish, because many bacteria and other microorganisms in our gut that provide health benefits to us feed off of the fiber. This interaction between the microbiota and the fiber is what causes the fermentation.
Are There Different Types of Fermentable Fiber?
There are several different fermentable fibers, all falling under the category of soluble fibers. Beta-glucans, inulin, oligofructose, pectins, and resistant starches are all fermentable fibers that are found in common foods we eat, like oats, onions, apples, legumes, and others.
What Are the Health Benefits of Fermentable Fiber?
All dietary fiber provides benefits to our health. While insoluble fiber specializes in moving food through and out of the digestive system in an efficient manner, fermentable soluble fiber makes itself available as a food for gut bacteria, as we’ve mentioned above.
The significance of this particular intestinal activity is still being researched in order to fully understand the extent of the health benefits it promotes; but current studies show that when fermentable fibers are consumed, it increases the numbers of, among others, the microbe Bifidobacterium. This beneficial bacteria not only contains a lot of letters in its name, but it also contains the potential to greatly aid the body in many ways!
- Creates Vitamins – Bifidobacteria generates many B vitamins including thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin and folate. These important vitamins are agents that promote proper hormone growth, DNA production and maintenance, generation of neurotransmitters, metabolism, and more!
- Protects Against Pathogenic Bacteria – Although Bifidobacteria is a bacteria, it has the capability to protect the digestive system from other bacteria, specifically the harmful type. It’s not clear how it distinguishes between the good and evil, but one way or another, it promotes the propagation of other beneficial bacteria, yet hinders the growth of harmful ones by producing antimicrobial chemicals.
- Strengthens the Gut Barrier – Bifidobacteria binds to the walls of the colon and protects it from toxins and other harmful bacteria by tightening and strengthening the junctions of the mucosal barrier.
- Creates Short Chain Fatty Acids – Beneficial Bifidobacteria colonies produce acids known as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that help the body in several ways. One such SCFA produced by Bifidobacteria is called acetate, and it keeps the gut pH stable. Acetate can pass through the breast milk of a nursing mother and protect her infant from common pathogens. Acetate also binds to receptors in the lining of the gut to regulate appetite and the storage of fat; these affected receptors are responsible for the release of certain hormones, such as peptide YY and GLP-1.
- Alleviates Irritable Bowel Syndrome – As the beneficialBifidobacteria binds to the tissue of the intestines, it blocks off the ability for harmful pathogenic bacteria to latch on. This can alleviate irritation and infections in the colon.
Other studies are indicating that the fermentable fiber known as resistant starch shows promise as a preventative measure against serious health concerns such as colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Unlike the starch found in potatoes, pasta, and pastries, resistant starch is not digestible, and fuctionally behaves as fiber.
Does Black Gram Contain Fermentable Fiber?
It looks like fermentable fiber is undeniably great for our health! And so now you’re wondering if black gram can help us out in this department. Can this lentil (that already does so much for the world) also supply us with fermentable fiber?
The answer is, YES!
Legumes like black gram are among the best sources of the resistant starch. In fact, pulses such as black gram and others are being researched for their potential medicinal qualities due to this fact!
How Can You Get the Most Out of Black Gram?
Studies have shown that different preparation methods of black gram can increase or decrease the amount of resistant starch in the finished product. Interestingly enough, the process of cooking traditional Indian dhals results in the highest levels of resistant starch, multiplying it up to nine times that of raw uncooked black gram! Pressure cooking increases resistant starch up to 8 times more than raw, and deep frying increases it 3 times more than raw.
You know what that means? It’s time to find some delicious dhal recipes and get cooking! These savory traditional style dishes are a great way to up your intake of fermentable fiber, nourishing your hunger for truly beneficial food, and getting a great cultural experiance as well!
Forever the Favorite!
It seems as though the ancient Indian culture knew what they were doing by making black gram a staple food and medicinal custom. As science continues to discover the benefits of various nutrients, black gram only gets more and more esteem as the world sees how it is the champion of foods. We love it, and we hope you will too! If you have any questions or comments about black gram and its amazing qualities, feel free to contact us; we want to hear from you!
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