Everyone on a diet with the aim of shaping the body in a satisfactory way knows that fiber is an essential dietary element. What is fiber? Where can we find it? What it its role in our organism? We will try to answer these and other questions in this article.

Fiber is not digested and absorbed in our digestive system. Moreover, it is also not assimilable and cannot be the source of energy. Despite the fact that dietary fiber is practically neutral for our organism, the truth is different. Fiber is incredibly important and plays a vital role in our organism.

Dietary fiber may be divided into:

  • -fiber soluble in water, to which we may classify e.g. plant mucilage, pectin or gums,
  • -fiber partially soluble in water, to which we classify hemicelluloses, which can be found in grains and bran,
  • -fiber soluble in water, to which we classify e.g. cellulose, lignins or silica.

Fiber has many valuable properties to which we may include:

  • a very important function of fiber, especially taking into consideration maintaining proper functions of the intestines, is the creation of gels, which is attributed mainly to β-glucans, which are contained in grains. In the small intestine, β-glucans, which do not undergo breakdown create a protective layer, which delays hydrolysis of starch and the absorption of glucose. Thanks to this, we feel satiety for longer. They also work protectively in case of gastrointestinal disorders. The gel protects mucous membrane of the intestines from irritations and bacterial infections.
  • fiber stimulates proliferation of probiotic bacteria,
  • its proper participation in a diet helps to decrease the risk of developing some kinds of cancer,
  • it also positively influences lipid balance and glucose-insulin metabolism, which may result in the decreased risk of developing atherosclerosis or diabetes type 2.
  • intestinal peristalsis is increased, alleviating constipations and improving bowel movement,
  • fiber also absorbs heavy metals, which are excreted with stool,
  • fiber accelerates metabolism, which makes weight loss more effective,
  • fiber is helpful in the absorption of protein.

As can be seen, dietary fiber demonstrates many valuable properties, therefore it is very important to take care of the proper intake of fiber every day. The recommended amount is 30-40g per day. Thanks to such an amount, we may help to “cleanse” the intestines and take advantage of its other, numerous properties. Fiber has very positive influence on the organism, but its excess and deficiency may be harmful. The intake of fiber among Poles is rather small due to the low intake of vegetables and fruits in a daily diet. When we take care of our body, the products rich in fiber should be an indispensable element of our diet. It is worth taking into account especially during a reducing diet, as it fills the stomach and makes us feel satiated for longer. Moreover, it helps to prevent sugar spikes in blood.

It was proven, however, that excessively high amounts of fiber decrease the absorption of fats and consequently the absorbability of vitamins soluble it fats is

decreased and they include: Vitamins A, D, E and K. Moreover, we may find phytic acid in fiber, which may inhibit the absorption of calcium, iron and zinc in case of excessively high intake. It is also good to find a proper amount for ourselves, which will be beneficial to us without doing harm.

 To sum up: it is definitely worth eating products rich in fiber. They should be an indispensable element of our daily diet and not only occasionally. Fiber, as already known, is an important element of diet, thanks to which we are satiated for longer, our intestinal peristalsis is improved and also thanks to its proper amount in our meals, we decrease the risk of developing cancer. Nevertheless, we also should not exaggerate with an excessive amount of fiber in a diet.

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