What are dietary fiber?

Dietary fiber should not be missing as part of a healthy diet. They have a positive effect on the digestive system in the body, ensuring that the stool stays soft. Thus, they can effectively prevent blockages. Adults should consume around 30 grams of fiber per day, for example via foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. However, you should not give too much fiber to the body: otherwise, not only flatulence, but also problems in the mineral household can occur.

Build up of fiber

Fiber is found almost exclusively in plant foods and are largely indigestible to the body. That is, they are not decomposed in the stomach and intestine and excreted almost undigested again. This is because they can not or only partially be broken down by the enzymes occurring in the gastrointestinal tract.

The group of fiber includes various substances, including substances such as:

  • pectin
  • inulin
  • cellulose
  • hemicellulose
  • Agar Agar
  • guar
  • lignin

In general, a distinction is made between water-soluble and water-insoluble substances. Water-soluble dietary fibers are mainly found in foods such as fruits and vegetables, while water-insoluble fibers are more likely to be found in whole-grain products.

Positive effect on digestion

Fiber has some positive effects on digestion. They can bind water as swelling and filling agents, sometimes up to 100 times their own weight. As a result, the stool volume in the intestine increases and the intestinal peristalsis is stimulated. In addition, the chair becomes looser and can be better eliminated.

In addition, dietary fiber also has a positive effect on the intestinal flora. You this namely as a food base for the settled there, 'good' intestinal bacteria. These can multiply particularly well if enough fiber is present.

Other health effects

In addition to the positive effect on digestion, fiber should also be able to prevent or reduce the risk of certain diseases. These include arteriosclerosis, heart attack and diabetes (type 2). The substances ensure that the blood sugar level rises slowly after eating. Thus, they can not only prevent diabetes, but also play an important role in the daily diet of diabetics.

In addition to the blood sugar level, dietary fiber can also have a positive effect on the cholesterol level. In addition, studies indicate that when consumed enough, some cancers are less common. However, whether or not fiber can really lower the risk of colon cancer will have to be scientifically proven. It is more certain that they can prevent other diseases of the rectum - for example, hemorrhoids.

Fiber hardly has any calories

Fiber is largely indigestible. As a result, they provide the body with little energy and thus have almost no calories: For 100 grams of fiber only two calories are calculated. However, foods that are high in fiber, such as wholegrain bread or whole wheat pasta, may have a relatively high caloric intake. At first glance, therefore, they do not seem to be suitable for losing weight.

Since fiber is full for a long time, it can make sense to use it as part of a diet. But then you should be careful not to consume too many foods rich in fat or sugar at the same time. For this reason, do not use nuts as far as dieting is concerned. Although they are rich in fiber, they also contain a lot of fat.

Diet: High fiber foods

It is generally recommended to consume about 30 grams of fiber per day. In Germany, however, most people consume significantly less, in women it is about 23 grams and in men 25 grams. This is partly because of the fact that many white flour products are eaten.

If you want to pay attention to a high-fiber diet, you should resort to the following foods:

  • Fruits such as apples, pears, berries, kiwis or citrus fruits
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, peas, carrots, potatoes and rose and white cabbage
  • Whole grains such as wholemeal bread or wholemeal pasta
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes such as peas, lentils or beans

Dried fruits such as dried apricots or dried plums are particularly high in fiber. Here you should note, however, that they also have a high sugar content and thus contain many calories.

Change diet slowly

In sensitive individuals, flatulence may occur with increased fiber intake. Because of this, slowly get your body into an elevated dose. For example, start by replacing white bread with wholegrain bread. You can also use whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta. Or just take some more fruit and vegetables (preferably with shell!) During the day.

Attention: If you pay more attention to a high-fiber diet, you should also adjust your drinking habits. Since fiber in the intestine can bind water, a sufficiently high hydration is particularly important. In addition, do not eat too much fiber: as these bind next to water and minerals and trace elements, otherwise deficiency symptoms may occur.

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