What is dietary fiber and what is it for?

A balanced diet should include not only the consumption of the main ingredients, but also dietary fiber. Dietary fibers or fiber are important for the well-being of the body. They help digestion and proper bowel function, but are not absorbed by the digestive system. While fiber is often referred to as “carbohydrates,” it doesn’t actually provide any calories to the body.

What is plant fiber?

Fiber is a carbohydrate component of plant foods that is not digested or absorbed when passing through the intestines. It is present in almost all plant foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Animal products do not contain fiber.

Dietary fiber has no nutritional value and does not add calories. They are necessary for the proper functioning of the intestines and are beneficial for the health of the body.

Additional Information! It is better to get fiber from food than from supplements. This is because the fibrous parts contain important vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to stay healthy.

While fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, it’s important to consume the right amount of fiber every day, spreading it out throughout the day. When using too much of it, there may be constipation, bloating, gases.

Types of fiber

Dietary fibers are chemically divided into soluble and insoluble. These two types of fibers have very similar characteristics, but also some differences. When mixed with water, soluble fiber forms a gel. The insolubles pass through the intestines almost intact. The two types of fibers complement and help each other. Each type of fiber plays a different role in digestion:

  • insoluble fiber helps food pass through the stomach and intestines faster, helps to balance the pH in the intestines;
  • Soluble fiber attracts water and breaks down food as it is digested, which slows down digestion and helps you feel full.

Most natural plant foods contain both types of fiber, although in varying proportions. Despite the different ratio, both types of fiber are useful and important for human health.

Vegetable fiber

Why is fiber useful?

The consumption of foods containing soluble fiber moderates moderate changes in blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease, regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels, and prevent cardiovascular disease. Unlike insoluble fiber, this type slows down gastric emptying unless it is taken with copious amounts of fluid.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, so it cannot be processed or absorbed by the body. It helps to remove carcinogens from the colon, because the process of its digestion is quite long.
Fiber brings many benefits
Numerous studies have shown that soluble and insoluble fiber plays an important role in the health of the human body and brings many benefits: helps reduce “bad” cholesterol; regulates blood sugar levels; improves the functioning of the digestive system; may reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Dietary fiber plays a leading role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Due to malnutrition, they have caused heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.
The benefits of dietary fiber in lowering cholesterol. Studies have shown that adding 20 grams of soluble fiber per day to a low-calorie diet helps control “bad” cholesterol levels. During the fermentation of fiber in the intestine, propanoic acid is formed, which is involved in reducing the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver.
Fiber can be extremely important for blood sugar control. They help to break down and digest carbohydrates more slowly. Thus, they help keep blood sugar within moderate limits and do not make sudden jumps. This leads to a decrease in insulin response and a protective effect against diseases such as diabetes.
Gut health. Vegetable fiber is essential to prevent and combat constipation. Insoluble fibers improve peristalsis, facilitating intestinal transit. In fact, they facilitate gastric emptying and promote digestion. Thus reducing the risk of intestinal diseases,
Fiber, on the one hand, helps digestion and metabolism, on the other hand, block hunger attacks, cause a long-lasting feeling of satiety. They give a strong feeling of fullness, helping to block appetite. When following a diet for weight loss, hunger is difficult to control, but can be controlled through the correct use of fiber in the diet. In addition, fibers do not provide calories, so they are excellent allies in the fight against excess weight.

Note! For beautiful skin, fiber is also important, helping to get rid of toxins and waste products, which prevents acne and skin rashes.

Sources of fiber

Whole grains are Insoluble fiber

Foods rich in fiber are of great benefit to our body. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and legumes are high in fiber, and it’s important to try to consume as many of them whole as possible, as their skin contains valuable fiber.

Soluble fiber is found in fruits (rich in pectin, such as apples, pears, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries) and vegetables (asparagus, beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots). Their skins often contain more insoluble fiber. Artichokes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Insoluble fibers:

  • wheat bran;
  • dark leafy greens;
  • root crops: carrots, beets and radishes;
  • fruit peel
  • whole grain.

Note! Inulin, a special type of dietary fiber, acts as a probiotic, feeding beneficial gut bacteria, improving calcium solubility, and thereby helping the colon to absorb important minerals for the body. It strengthens the bones of children and the elderly. Inulin is found in garlic, artichokes, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, elecampane and burdock. Most of it is in chicory root.

How much and how to consume dietary fiber

The recommended fiber intake is about 30 grams per day. To reach these levels, it is helpful to introduce several servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet throughout the day. Fiber absorbs water, so it is highly recommended to increase the amount of water you drink throughout the day to maintain an active lifestyle and regulate intestinal transit.


You should limit your fiber intake if your colon is irritated, because too much fiber in the diet irritates the intestines more and worsens symptoms. In any case, although dietary fiber is recommended in a balanced diet, it should never be consumed in excessive amounts because it can cause negative health effects.

You can not eat fiber In excessive amounts

Too much fiber can cause constipation. Diarrhea is a problem associated with excess insoluble fiber. Bloating and gas occur when you consume too much fiber in a short amount of time. Taking too much at one time can block the effect of mineral salts on the body.
Fiber-rich foods are part of a balanced diet. Eating everything in reasonable amounts is usually enough to get all the nutrients we need for our health.

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