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.
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.
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.
- 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