In healthy eating, dietary fibers are regarded as essential food nutrients. The prominence of fibers has increased up to the mark and the huge and potential market has been established on a larger level for fiber-rich products in recent years. Also, supplementation has been utilized to improve the fiber content of various foods. All of these befall due to the positive impact of these fibers on human health.
These health benefits of fibers also include potent chemoprotective effects and that is why this nutrient is believed to be a part of influential anti-cancer foods. Chemotherapeutic treatments along with anti-cancer foods and a healthy lifestyle are the best synergistic amalgam that can be adopted by a cancer patient.
Let’s explore how dietary fibers help in cancer prevention and in what quantities we should include these in the diet:
- What are dietary fibers?
- Sources of dietary fibers
- Dietary fibers against cancer
- Recommended intake of dietary fibers
What are dietary fibers?
Dietary fibers are the plant’s part that is consumed in the diet, for instance, cellulose and noncellulosic polysaccharides (pectin, gums, hemicelluloses, and lignin). These nutritional components are generally resistive to the gastrointestinal (GI) enzymatic digestion.
Sources of dietary fibers
The sources of dietary fibers are divided based on their types: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibers: These dietary fibers entice water and convert into gel form during digestion. It can be found in lentils, peas, oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, some of the fruits and vegetables. It is also found in Psyllium, a form of fibers composed of husks of Plantago ovata seeds.
Insoluble fibers: These fibers renowned to help passing food more quickly via stomach and intestine. The foods like whole grains and wheat bran consist of this type of fiber.
Dietary fibers against cancer
As anti-cancer foods, dietary fibers associated with 29-46% reduction in endometrial cancer risk and 16-18% reduction in renal cell carcinoma risk. It also exhibits a significant role in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
Let’s understand the mechanisms via these fibers reduce the risk of the cancer cell lines:
- By fermenting in the GI tract, these fibers generate certain bioactive components, such as, SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) which initiates the process of apoptosis against cancer cells.
- Fibers are known to enhance the expression of proapoptotic factors and suppress expressions of cell proliferating chemicals.
- These fibers tend to regulate cancer cell growth and survival via acting upon tumorigenesis.
- Fibers lessen the contact time of carcinogens in the intestinal lumen.
- Fibers significantly improve the healthy gut microbiota, bile acid deconjugation, and modulate certain inflammatory bioactive substances.
By exhibiting these functions, dietary proteins can prominently help in improving a person’s health and immunity against fighting cancer cells. Also, the anticancer properties considerably lower the risk of cancer or tumor formation.
Recommended intake of dietary fibers
- Age group 1 – 3 years old – 19g
- Age group 4 – 8 years old – 25g
- Age group 9 – 13 years old – 26g
- Age group 14 – 50 years old (males/females) – 38g/25g
- Age group over 50 years (males/females) – 30g/21g
The dietary fibers exhibit a positive perception in the prevention of various types of cancer. Also, along with reducing the risk of various cancers, these nutrients are very important to maintain cardiovascular health and the body’s insulin levels. Overall, dietary fibers are good to be included in the diet either in the form of anti-cancer foods or simple nutritive supplements.