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Dietary fiberFor a long time believed that dietary fiber was not necessary for the human being, since our digestive system did not have the necessary enzymes to degrade and thus digest it. However, studies have shown that the fiber is an essential part of the nutrition of the people currently being recommended intake daily, essential to any healthy and balanced diet.
How fiber is classifiedThere are two types of fibres, with specific features depending on their solubility in water:
Insoluble fiberPresent in bread, whole grain cereals and their derivatives, as well as nuts. It is responsible for the good intestinal transit, decreasing constipation, since the digestive tract contains almost no intestinal bacteria able to degrade it.
Soluble fiberIt is able to absorb water easily, contributing to decreased absorption of sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in the digestive tract, thus reducing the presence of cardiovascular disease, avoiding the appearance of constipation, hemorrhoids, and diabetes.
There are digestive enzymes capable of digesting it. They are present in fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Sources of dietary fiberWe can be found in various foods, being all of them exclusively of plant origin as:
- Integral flours (OAT, wheat, barley, rye, maize and rice).
- Dried fruit.
- Vegetables and legumes.
Functions of dietary fibreDietary fibre has different functions in the body, including:
- Absorption of water. Increases the volume of the stool, making them more fluid, facilitating their deportation. It thus helps to combat constipation and reduce the possible occurrence of hemorrhoids.
- Increases the feeling of satiety. Insoluble fiber does not add calories. This swells with water causing the feeling of satiety, especially benefiting those who have weight problems.
- Reduces circulating cholesterol levels. A diet of soluble fiber can reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL), since this type of fiber is able to cover the walls of the intestine, preventing the absorption of cholesterol from food.
- Possible protective effect against cancer of the colon, breast and prostate. To reduce the possible occurrence of diabetes: soluble fiber slows absorption of carbohydrates of food eaten, thus avoiding sharply increase the sugar in the blood after meals.
- Help the growth of intestinal bacteria that are very beneficial for our body.
Needs of fiber in the dietWhen we talk about the needs of fiber in the diet, we have to distinguish between different ages:
- In children, the required amount is calculated in the following way: to the age that has the child is compounded by five units, with the result being the amount of recommended fiber.
- In adults, the recommended intake is 25 grams of fiber daily. This amount can be achieved easily if we bear in mind that a simple dish of beans brings about 20 grams of fiber, one of peas are about 13 grams or one of Chard and 5 grams of fiber.
Drawback of excessive consumption of fiberThe intake of large amounts of fiber has detrimental effects on health, so it is not advisable to abuse this type of foods because they can cause gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea.
In addition, its excess prevents the Agency capture essential as calcium, iron and zinc minerals, since insoluble fiber tends to be attached to a compound, phytic acid, minerals joining the complex, preventing its absorption by the body.