How does dietary fiber work?

Even if our body does not digest the fibers, they are instrumental. Thanks to their digestive system cleaning, they eliminate the waste that the body does not need and reduce harmful substances’ absorption.

Have you ever wondered if you consumed enough fiber during the day? Probably not. Yet these substances are essential to the proper functioning of our body.

They’re considered indigestible carbohydrates, but they’re very different from other carbohydrates and much less caloric. Don’t let the word “indigestible” mislead you. Although the fibers are not digestible, they are beneficial for the body.

What are the benefits of fiber?

Fibers help prevent many diseases (colon cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.). First, when they arrive intact in the intestines, they feed friendly bacteria and contribute to the microbiota’s health.

They are low-calorie and allow transit control, increasing the volume of stools in case of constipation and capturing water from the digestive tract in case of diarrhea.

Finally, they reduce the absorption of toxins and bad fats and slow the assimilation of carbohydrates. And they help us feel satisfied and control our appetite better.

What is good for the intestine is also good for the brain: according to some scientific studies, fiber consumption would reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.

Soluble or insoluble fibers, which should we prefer?

Both types of fibers are useful and complementary.

Soluble fibers

By forming a gel in contact with liquids, soluble fibers (mucilage, pectineus…) hinder the assimilation of carbohydrates, decrease the absorption of fat and cholesterol, and regulate the smooth transit.

They are mainly found in fruits (citrus fruits, apples, pears), oilseeds (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios…), oats, and legumes, formerly known as dry vegetables (lentils, chickpeas…).

Insoluble fiber

These fibers (cellulose, lignin, etc.) act like sponges. They make it possible to increase the volume of stools and stimulate intestinal contractions. However, in excess, they can irritate.

They mainly found in wheat bran, whole grains (rice, bread, or wholemeal pasta), carrots, green vegetables, salad, seaweed, and pome fruits (raspberries, currants, etc.).

Which foods have the most fiber?

All plants contain soluble and insoluble fibers in varying proportions. The insoluble fibers are mainly present in whole grains, seeds, oilseeds, and legumes. The fruits and vegetables contain about two-thirds of insoluble (especially in the skin and the sources) for one-third of soluble.

What amount of fibers per day?

25 to 30 g per day for an adult, less for children (15 g to 10 years). Current French consumption (18 to 22 g per day) is insufficient.

To meet our needs, follow the National Nutrition Health Program (NNSP) food markers. Consume:

at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day,

at least 2 times of dry vegetables per week,

more seeds and oilseeds (up to a handful per day),

and whole grains rather than refined.

In the context of chronic diseases, such as functional coagulopathy, also called irritable bowel syndrome, this intake may be reviewed.

How to increase your fiber intake?

A few tips can help you incorporate foods rich in fiber into our dishes, starters, and desserts daily:

Consume less meat and more legumes. This solution not only saves money but also saves the environment.

  • Have the mashed reflex. This technique is very popular with children but also works for adults. Mix your beans, soy, cauliflower, squash, or lentils and add them to your sauces, dishes, and soups. These purées can replace cream and cheese, which also reduces the caloric intake of the plate.
  •   Use the seeds to boost your dishes, soups, and salads. You can grill them to add a crunchy touch and try different blends by adding aromatic herbs.

You can also add wheat sound in your morning dairy or dried fruit cut in your dishes or mixed salads…

How do you improve your digestive tolerance?

The best is to vary the fruits and vegetables, peel them and panache raw and cooked, and make the fibers tender. And introduce the whole grain in stages.

It is also necessary to soak the pulses and cook them well before consuming them, rather in small quantities.

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