Dietary fiber is an important part of a healthy diet
Dietary fiber is a large group of compounds that are not classified as food substances, but, as scientists have established, they should be an integral part of a person’s daily diet.
Why does the body need dietary fiber?
Dietary fiber fills the stomach and thus contributes to a feeling of satiety, the release of digestive juices and increased absorption of food. They are also absolutely necessary for the normal functioning of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, intestines, to prevent constipation, they are involved in the removal of many metabolic products from the body, such as cholesterol, as well as various poisons that enter the body with food and water – mercury, lead etc.
Dietary fiber is a kind of “food” for beneficial intestinal microorganisms, they maintain the necessary composition of the microflora, without which the human body cannot exist normally.
Insufficient content of dietary fiber in the diet is accompanied by functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, dysbacteriosis, a decrease in the function of the immune system, an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cholelithiasis, certain cancers, etc.
What are dietary fibers and where are they found?
Dietary fiber is divided into soluble and insoluble. Soluble dietary fiber is found mainly in vegetables, fruits, legumes; insoluble fiber – in grain products.
Soluble dietary fiber – pectins, hemicelluloses, gums, etc. – have a sorption effect, due to which they contribute to lowering the level of cholesterol and glucose in the blood, remove toxic substances from the body (lead, mercury, cobalt, cadmium, zinc, chromium, nickel and their compounds, radioactive strontium, cesium, zirconium, metabolic products) .
The most famous representative of soluble dietary fiber is pectin. They are rich in vegetables and fruits such as beets, carrots, peppers, pumpkins, eggplants, apples, apricots, quince, cherries, plums, pears, citrus fruits, berries. Including for this reason, sea kale is useful, containing, like all brown algae, soluble dietary fiber – alginates.
Insoluble dietary fiber – fiber, cellulose, etc. – retain water well, improve digestion, normal intestinal motility, prevent constipation.
How Much Dietary Fiber Should You Consume?
According to the canons of a healthy diet, the intake of dietary fiber with a daily diet should be at least 20 g. Consumption of 14 g of dietary fiber for every 1000 kcal of diet reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. At the same time, for medicinal purposes, their amount can be increased in the diet up to 40 g, but should not exceed 60 g per day.
In overweight and obese individuals who restrict grain products and cereals in their diet, the deficiency of dietary fiber should be replenished by adequate consumption of vegetables and fruits. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), the daily intake of vegetables and fruits should be at least 400 g.
In order to make up for the deficiency in dietary fiber intake, food products are enriched. Insoluble dietary fiber is added to grain products – bran bread, bread made from whole grains. Soluble dietary fiber, such as inulin, which stimulates the growth of beneficial intestinal microorganisms, is enriched with dairy products (yogurts).