It absorbs water, prevents atherosclerosis, absorbs heavy metals and harmful metabolites, takes care of blood glucose levels, positively influences the development of normal intestinal microflora, supports the weight loss process - these are just a few of the many advantages that dietary fiber has.
Dietary fiber is an important part of a well-balanced and healthy diet. Specialists at almost every step emphasize that eating the right amount of dietary fiber has many benefits for our health. However, it is worth remembering that everything has its advantages and disadvantages, so not every excess of this valuable product in your diet will serve you.
Dietary fiber? What is it actually?
Fibre is a dietary fibre which consists of vegetable polysaccharides (e.g. cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, rubber) and lignin. They are resistant to our digestive enzymes, but they are a great nutrient for intestinal microflora and thus regulate the functioning of the digestive tract. The composition of dietary fiber varies depending on the plant species.
A very important component of fibre is resistant starch, which is not found in nature and is produced after heat treatment of products such as potatoes and white rice. It is a great nutrient for bacteria found in the intestines, thanks to which they are stimulated to produce butyric acid, which regenerates the intestinal villi and rebuilds the gastrointestinal mucosa.
There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble in water. The first one: regulates the functioning of the digestive system, increases the density of the digestive content, has the ability to capture toxins from food, so that they are excreted and not absorbed into the bloodstream, is a nutrient for intestinal myctoflora, affects its composition, binds excess bile acids, supports the regeneration of the gastrointestinal mucosa.
In turn insoluble fibre mechanically irritates the walls of the large intestine, which stimulates its peristalsis and gives the feeling of satiety.
How much fibre does your body need?
Fiber consumption in Poland is about 20 grams per day. This is definitely not enough. The WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates the daily intake of dietary fiber for adults at 25-40 grams. Where did this large span in basis weight come from? This is due to the difference in body weight between men and women.
It is best to oscillate within these upper limits on a daily basis. According to specialists, it is worth thinking about increasing the share of fibre (especially water-soluble fibre) in the daily diet.
Where can we find fibre?
It is worth remembering that the amount of dietary fiber should be increased gradually in order to get the body used to this ingredient. Otherwise flatulence, diarrhoea and abdominal pain may occur.
Therefore, constipation may occur when consuming high-fibre food without adequate fluid supply. To avoid this, drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day.
The largest amount of soluble fibre is contained in products such as: cake cake husk, cake cake, lentils, white beans, peas, dried figs and apricots, currants (black and red). It can also be found in popular fruits: apples, grapefruit, raspberries and gooseberries. Insoluble fibre contains wheat bran, linseed, coconut, oat bran, almonds, brown rice, buckwheat and lamb groats, sunflower seeds.
Who should watch out for fibre?
The advantages of fibre are indisputable, but in some people it is even forbidden. People suffering from inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract (stomach, intestines, pancreas and bile ducts), as well as patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers should be particularly careful.
As is usually the case in dietetics, in the case of dietary fiber, there is no universal recommendation for everyone. Dietary fiber is a valuable nutrient, but you need to know how to use it. That is why it is worthwhile to observe the reactions of our body and react to possible signals in order to adjust its type and amount in our diet.