The role of dietary fiber in nutrition 

Food fiber, formerly known as fiber, is carbohydrate-resistant carbohydrates resistant to digestive enzymes. However, its importance in nutrition is high – by binding water in the light of the digestive tract it has a positive effect on digestion. In societies in which large amounts of fiber are consumed, people are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and gastrointestinal cancers. 


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Features of fiber in nutrition

– stimulates the function of chewing and secretion of saliva 

– buffers and binds the excess of hydrochloric acid in the stomach 

– increases intestinal filling, stimulates their blood circulation and motor activity 

– creates a beneficial basis for the development of the desired intestinal bacterial flora 

– prevents excessive dehydration of faecal matter, thus increasing the volume of stool and shortening the time of intestinal transit 

– in the lumen of the intestine binds a number of harmful substances, including cholesterol and bile acids 

– it has a positive effect on the digestibility of other food components 


Composition of dietary fiber 

Food fiber of vegetable origin belongs to complex carbohydrates, that is multi-sugars (polysaccharides). It consists of cellulose, lignin, hemicellulose, pectin, gums and mucus. 

Ingredients accompanying fiber (associated with the plant cell wall) are phytic acid, silicates, plant sterols, proteins, glucosides and others. 


Why is fiber included in ballast substances? 

Dietary fiber is not digested and absorbed in the digestive tract, it is also not absorbed by the human body in any other way. Its role as a source of energy in the food ration is very small. 

Consuming fiber is recommended not because of its poor nutritional value, but because of the important role it plays in stimulating intestinal peristalsis and in removing many toxic substances from the body. The presence of dietary fiber in food affects the volume of food, resulting in the filling of the stomach. 


Sources of dietary fiber 

In food products, dietary fiber occurs mainly in the outer layer of cereal grains, dry leguminous seeds and vegetables and fruits. 

If we want to enrich our diet with larger amounts of fiber, we should consume products such as 

– wholemeal wholemeal bread 

– legume seeds of dry plants (peas, beans) 

– grits from coarse milling (buckwheat groats, barley) 

– fruits and vegetables (brussels sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, green peas, currants, gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries and dried apricots and plums). 

The following set shows the content of dietary fiber in grams per 100 g of edible parts of the product. 


Content (by 

gooseberry 4,6 

wheat buns, croissants, butter buns 1.9 

ordinary bread rolls 2,4 

beets 2.2 

onion 1,7 

whole wheat bread graham 5,0 

wholemeal rye bread 6,2 

lemon 4.0 

black berries 3.2 

sweet cherries 1,2 

white bean (dry grain) 15,7 

Grapefruit 0.7 

peas (dry grain) 17.0 

green peas 6.0 

pear 2.1 

apple 1.8 

kohlrabi 4.4 

white cabbage 2.5 

semolina 2.5 

buckwheat groats 5.9 

double-pasta pasta 5.3 

raspberries 6.7 

carrots 2.4 

wheat flour 2,6 

cucumber 0.5 

hazelnut 9,8 

walnuts 6.5 

wheat bran 42.4 

parsley root 4.9 

corn flakes. 11 

oatmeal 6.9 

oranges 1.9 

tomatoes 1,2 

black currants 7.9 

pumpernickel 7,2 

raisins 6.5 

rice 2.4 

celery 4.9 

soybean (dry grain) 15,7 

spinach 2,1 

dried plums. 16.6 

potatoes (average) 1,2 


Recommended daily fiber intake 

Nutrition standards for dietary fiber are not precisely defined, however, taking into account its importance in maintaining good health by humans, it is recommended to consume significant amounts of this ingredient, i.e. 20-40g / person / day. 

According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, one should strive to consume fiber in the amount of 27-40 g / person / day. 


Deficiency of fiber 

Deficiency in dietary fiber feeds, among others, to constipation, as well as the severity of the occurrence of many degenerative diseases, such as atherosclerosis, obesity, hepatic stone, diverticulitis, and probably also polyps and colorectal cancer and breast cancer in women. 


Excess fiber 

Excess fiber in food is undesirable. In the case of disorders related to the deficiency of minerals, such as iron, calcium, zinc, as well as in some diseases of the digestive system (inflammation of the stomach, pancreas, biliary and intestinal tract) avoid eating foods rich in fiber. It is connected with unfavorable in these cases increased secretion of digestive juices, acceleration of intestinal peristalsis, irritation of the intestinal mucosa and increased bacterial fermentation in the colon. 


You can read also: Dietary fiber and weight loss

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