Fiber is essential for the proper functioning of our body, especially our digestion – yet we do not consume enough of it. You may want to learn more about the benefits of fiber by reviewing their various positive effects. And the reasons for increasing our daily intake should encourage us to include fibrous foods in our daily diet as often as possible.
Fibers are essential to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels and intestinal transit
We distinguish two types of fibers in our foods: water-soluble and water-insoluble. Water-insoluble fiber is mostly concentrated in the husks and bark of plants, but is also found in whole grains and oilseeds.
Water – soluble are more likely to be found in fruit flesh and vegetables (such as legumes, oats, barley, grains.
Water-soluble fibers have gelling properties because they bind water and form a viscous gel on the intestinal mucosa. This gel in the small intestine, where nutrients and vitamins are absorbed, forms a protective layer to limit the absorption of cholesterol and sugars in foods. Which is of great importance in preventing cholesterolemia (increased cholesterol in the blood) and regulating blood sugar levels.
But not only are water-soluble fibers important to our health, but they are also insoluble in water. These fibers absorb water, causing the stomach to swell, causing a feeling of fullness. Thus, they have a positive effect on the digestive system, intestinal transit, and anti-constipation. To get the most out of fiber, it is important to alternate and combine foods that contain water-soluble and water-insoluble fiber in our diet.
Our microbiota feeds on fiber
A diet low in fiber and rich in fat depletes the microbiota of microorganisms in the intestinal flora, which itself is involved in many metabolic (metabolic) functions, e.g. immunity, digestion, etc. Dietary fiber is actually a prebiotic that is the only food for the intestinal microbiota. Thus, fibers are essential to achieve a healthy microbiota, as they allow the balance and diversity of the microbiota and the proper density of good bacteria to be maintained.
And dysbiosis, the low amount of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal flora, i.e. the imbalance of the intestinal microbiota, has a direct impact on health. It is very likely that in a few years we will be able to link the vast majority of diseases to dysbiosis. We now know for sure that this condition of the microbiota plays a role in the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is associated with chronic complaints such as bloating, occasional abdominal pain, or defecation.
But it promotes the chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) pl. Crohn’s disease, or the appearance of hemorrhagic colitis, diabetes, obesity, and related liver disease. Surprisingly, microbiotic dysbiosis can also be an influencing factor in neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease.
We don’t eat enough fibrous food
While the recommendations are for 30 (minimum 25 and maximum 45) grams of fiber per day, surveys show that we are far from this intake. Nutritionists recommend increasing consumption in three fiber-rich groups of foods. These are: 1. fruit and vegetables, which are essential for every meal, 2. complete starchy foods versus refined ones, which can be cereals, bread, pasta, rice…), also included in the menu every day, and group 3 legumes (lentils, chickpeas, white beans…), consumed several times a week.
Some good tips to increase fiber intake: regularly include foods that are very high in fiber in your diet. Such vegetables: asparagus, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, spinach, etc.
Then there are also rich in dried fruits (figs, dates, pineapples, plums, blueberries, apples, etc.), oil seeds (flax, chia, sesame, sunflower seeds), which are also recommended for salads, soups or even sprinkled on cakes. But let’s not forget the unrefined cereals, um. regular consumption of buckwheat and quinoa sorghum. Fiber powders such as e.g. psyllium husk fiber, optionally as a dietary supplement, with strict adherence to dosing, with regular, adequate daily fluid intake.
The fiber content of processed foods is reduced
The more we process a food, the more its fiber and nutrients are reduced. Therefore, it is recommended to consume as many raw vegetables and complete cereals as possible. Nevertheless, cooking from raw products manages to retain a good amount of dietary fiber. The situation is different if we make the menu from industrially produced products, because it is often not the case to label “fiber-rich” or “whole-value” ingredients on the label. The product may simply be a combination of nutritionally poor ingredients, e.g. fiber crumbs are added. Therefore, buy from a verified company.
We are not equally sensitive to fibers
Fibers are extremely useful e.g. to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but in the case of said dysbiosis (multiplication of harmful bacteria, fungi or parasites, disruption of the intestinal flora) they are difficult for the digestive system to bear. The result can usually be bloating, bloating, abdominal cramps due to bloating.
To avoid this phenomenon, you may be tempted by a diet that excludes all categories of poorly digestible and / or high-fiber foods. However, it is not advisable to follow because such diets cause fiber deficiency, which in turn can result in dysbiosis. So a real vicious circle can be created! Therefore, it is more worthwhile to accurately identify the “enemy” and limit its consumption (not necessarily stop it) because, like gluten, we often have a tolerance threshold for fibers.
For identification, it is advisable to try a diet without fructose (contained in most fruits) for a few days, then cereal, and then legumes. Depending on the intestinal disorders that develop, the “responsible” food groups can be easily identified without too drastic fiber restrictions. In each category, we can also define more precisely the foods involved.
In fact, some fibers are better digested and others are less digestible. Crucifixes and legumes e.g. contain fermentable (bacterially fermentable) fibers that usually cause bloating. But in the diet, instead of completely ignoring them, it is better to limit their consumption to small portions (less than 100 g of them after cooking, on a weekly schedule). Cooking also improves digestibility, but once foods are cooked, they lose their vitamin and mineral content. Finally, water-insoluble fibers abundant in the peel of plants will be much more digestible if crushed or blended. Thus e.g. smoothies or raw (vegetable) soups are allies of the sensitive intestinal tract.
Adequate fiber intake reduces appetite
The relationship between fiber intake and appetite has been scientifically proven, both in the short and long term. Due to the fiber content, we eat less during meals that contain it, as it slows down gastric emptying and therefore quickly causes a feeling of satiety (even with subsequent meals). This strength of the fibers can be traced back to the fact that their fermentation (fermentation) in the colon leads to the formation of short-chain fatty acids, which affects the feeling of satiety for a long time from the first ingested bite.
By reducing your appetite, fiber intake helps you stay in good shape and even lose weight if you have extra pounds. But they also affect body weight at other levels, directly by influencing metabolism. The process is as follows: if we consume little fiber, we increase the risk of dysbiosis. However, dysbiosis causes inflammation, which is manifested in adipose tissue, as one of the dangerous consequences of fiber deficiency is insulin resistance. The pancreas then produces more insulin, and many of us know that insulin is a fat storage hormone that naturally causes obesity. However, the beneficial effects of the fibers will only be felt if the recommended daily amount of them is reached…
Source: Patika Magazin Online by www.patikamagazin.hu.
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