Everything You Need to Know About Fiber
Healthy nutrition implies consumption of carbs, fats and proteins in right amounts as these are the substances human body transforms into energy. Metabolism speed depends on correctly chosen ratio of the energy sources. Compared to carbs, fiber does not boost metabolism or provide body with energy. Yet, it is required to ensure proper nutrition. Digestive ferments of stomach do not break fiber down, therefore nutritionists consider this component of nutrition as a ballast substance.
Ballast is doing good to the human body as undigested fiber is a source of healthy gut microflora. Microorganisms, which inhabit large intestine, where a fiber gets to, affect coarse vegetable fiber. They break fibers into fatty acids and transform them into amino acids and vitamins. Compared to refined food, dietary fibers of vegetable origin serve as the fillers and cleaners of intestine. They increase speed the digested products are delivered with from lower bowels and ensure its proper functioning.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is a dietary fiber, which is also called a ballast substance. However, nutritionists admit the important role of fibers in nutrition, they call it «a food for the gut microflora». It can be found in the vegetable food only such as rough fibers of leaves, skin and cover of grains and seeds. It is a polysaccharide in terms of its chemical content. Gut enzymes affect fiber turning it into glucose and enrich the cellular membranes.
Vegetable Fiber Composition:
- Cellulose absorbs water very well forming a volume of fecal matter. It moves along intestines without delays. It helps to prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and colitis. It protects large intestine from cancer. It can be found in whole grains, bran, cucumbers skin, pepper, carrots and peas.
- Lignin regulates cholesterol level along with the bile amount as well as ensures proper speed of removal of the food debris via guts. It can be found in aubergines, radish and strawberries. Bran is rich in lignin.
- Pectin prevents sugar absorption and is good for people with diabetes. Carrots, cabbage, apples, citrus fruits and potatoes are rich in healthy substances.
- Gums are colloids, which can be found in mucus. Oatmeal porridge contains gums. They act as enveloping agents along with pectin.
Fiber Types and Properties
Dietary fibers are divided into soluble and insoluble fibers.
- Soluble fibers remove toxic substance and salts of heavy metals. They can be found in grains, bran, nuts, strawberries and apples.
- Insoluble fibers form large fecal matters and softly clean guts. They can be found in cabbage, potatoes skin, apples, beetroots and turnips.
Vegetable products contain both kinds of fiber, only their composition differs. Choosing the foods, listen to yourself and chew well the foods which contain insoluble fibers. Foods, which are melting in the mouth, are rich in soluble fiber.
Nutritionists recommend to enrich menu with several kinds of vegetable food containing fiber, which affects gut in different ways. In this way, your nutrition will be balanced well, you will clean your body from toxic substances and lose some weight. Such an effect takes places due to special properties of the dietary fibers.
- Fibers remove «bad» cholesterol from body and regulate fat metabolism. Fibers should be consumed to prevent high blood pressure and atheroma.
- Fibers normalize blood sugar levels and prevent development of the type II diabetes.
- They remove salts of heavy metals and toxins as well as balance gut flora. Fibers take care of dysbacteriosis which usually happens after use of antibiotics.
- Fibers help to form soft fecal matters, which leave gut in time. They help to prevent rise of constipation and venous insufficiency.
Ballast substances are natural absorbents compared to activated charcoal. They absorb harmful compounds in the human body on a molecular level. They improve gut microflora and are completely calories-free.
Interesting fact: our ancestors ate porridge and cabbage soup, root plants and leaves of vegetables. They were healthy and slim. Refined and processed foods result in obesity and intestinal atony. Nowadays people do not consume fiber in required amounts and suffer from constipation, digestive diseases and high blood pressure. As a result, people get sick and do not live long.
Ballast fibers should be consumed on a daily basis as they ensure proper gut functioning, lower weight and prevent development of the digestive, heart and endocrine diseases. Nutritionists recommend to include 30g of fiber into daily menu, that is, the grains such as whole oat and wheats as well as beans such as green pea and kidney beans amounting to 15-20g. The rest of fiber should be complemented with raw fruits and vegetables. You will get balanced amounts of soluble and insoluble fibers in this way.
Start to consume right amounts of fibers bit by bit. If you were consuming refined foods before, then try to incorporate coarse vegetable food into your daily menu following the «three days’ rule»:
- 5g of soluble and 3g of insoluble fiber.
- 7 and 5g of soluble and insoluble fiber, correspondingly.
- 10 and 7g of soluble and insoluble fiber, correspondingly.
- 15g of soluble fiber along with 10g of insoluble dietary fiber.
- First number should always stay the same, and you should increase amount of coarse fibers by 3-5 grams every three days.
Attention! It will take you one month to get your body used to healthy food, you will have easy time in toilet and you may even lose some weight. In this way, you will realize that refined and processed foods were making your stomach lazy preventing it from working properly. Fiber will make you healthy, energetic and fit. Remember to consume up to two liters of water every day.
Nutritionists warn that vegetable products do not contain large amounts of the ballast substances. The list of main sources of fiber per 100 g of product is provided below:
- Wheat bran — 45g.
- Cauliflower — 26g.
- Cannellini and soy beans — 23g.
- Dried apricots – 18g.
- Wheat, lentils and pea — 17g.
- Dried apples – 15g.
- Rye crisps — 14g.
- Carrots — 12g.
- Corn, oat flakes and raisins— 10g.
- Coarse bread with bran and whole grain pasta — 8g.
- Fried mushrooms – 7g.
- Black currant and prunes – 5g.
- Rice — 4,5g.
- Nuts and kiwi – 4g.
- Boiled beetroot – 3g.
- Fresh apples, grapes, apricots and oranges – 2g.
- Tomatoes – 1,5g.
Important! Consume raw foods containing soluble fibers and do not chop them into small pieces. Make porridges from whole grains and chew them well. Do not clean apple skin. Bake potatoes with skin on.
Ballast substances transform into healthy ones not in stomach, but in gut. This is why synthesis of these substances completed by microorganisms can result in gas formation. Therefore, one may feel bloated and gassy. It can result in intestinal torsion and stomach epithelium damage as well as fecaloma formation.
General practitioners do not recommend to consume coarse dietary fibers in presence of stomach ulcer and colitis. Start to eat in a balanced way when you are in remission.
Remember that there is a rick of development of the bowel obstruction after increased consumption of the flax seeds and coarse bran. Get your body gradually used to these foods, drink a lot of fluids when consuming a ballast.
Fiber is a necessary part of healthy nutrition. Nutritionists note that fiber deficiency is much worse than some other negative reactions of the human body. Include fiber to your daily menu and stay slim and happy!