Fibers, also called roughages or dietary fibers, are found in vegetables, fruits, cereals, legumes. Cellulose, lignin, pectin, gelatin and others belong to their group.
The animal products /meat, milk, cheese, eggs/ do not contain fibers.
In summary, the foods rich in fat, are low in fibers and vice versa. Everyone has heard about the numerous benefits of fibers, but let’s try to systematize them:
- They lower the levels of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, as they compromise the full absorption of some fats and thus reduce the risk of development of vessel atherosclerosis;
- They slow down digestion and carbohydrate absorption respectively, thus lowering the glycemic index and contribute to the control of insulin secretion;
- Fibers help in cases of constipation and other problems with the colon;
- They reduce appetite because they satiate and following a certain diet is not so hard;
- They bind toxins in food /including carcinogens/ and excrete them faster from the organism.
In general fibers divide into two main types:
- Soluble: oat bran, legumes, beans, unpeeled fruits and vegetables – they form a gel-like layer around the food and thus slow down the absorption of glucose;
- Insoluble: wholegrain flours, raw green plants – they help in the rapid intestinal emptying and cleansing the body.
The recommended daily intake is 14g per every 1000kcal. If we take too much fibers, gastrointestinal gases may occur, mostly related to the overproduction of gases. The rich in fibers low-energy or vegetarian diet, especially for a long period of time, may lead to shortage of calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
Tricks to increase fibers in your food:
- Start breakfast with oatmeal;
- Choose wholegrain products and read the labels;
- Choose wholegrain pasta, spaghetti and use wholegrain flours;
- Eat the fruit itself, instead of fresh juice, it will give you much more fibers;
- Consume fibers in the form of dietary supplement.
Don’t forget that foods rich in fibers are also rich in other carbohydrates. So watch out for their total intake.