A virus slayer, an ally in the fight against cancer and civilization diseases, a modest and at the same time so valuable fiber. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of 27-40 g. What is fiber? Why is it so important and what is its relationship to a gluten-free diet? These questions are answered by experts from the Foundation of Bank Ochrony Środowiska.
What is Fiber?
– Fiber, often referred to as dietary fiber, is nothing more than the remains of plant cells that are resistant to human digestive enzymes. That is why they pass through the intestine as undigested and are only partially hydrolyzed by bacteria in our digestive system – explains Aleksandra Koper, Nutrition Specialist at the Foundation of Bank Ochrony Środowiska. Due to its properties, it can be divided into water-soluble (i.e. pectin, vegetable gums and polysaccharides) and insoluble (e.g. cellulose and lignin). Although it is not a nutrient, it plays an important role in the body, not only in the digestive system.
Team up with the gut
Scientists call the gut the “second brain”. And this is not an exaggeration at all. Its role goes far beyond the digestive functions. Scientific data say that the intestine is as much as 70 percent. the body’s resistance. And how important is the share of fiber here? – Imagine a sports field with an area of 200 m2. Our intestine has such a surface. It is known that the larger the surface, the better the absorption. But not only that matters. In order for the intestinal villi to perform their work efficiently, they should be clean and well-nourished. And it is their condition that takes care of fiber, which, like a vacuum cleaner, cleans up and absorbs substances harmful to our body. That is why it is so important to include products rich in fiber in the menu – explains Aleksandra Koper, Nutrition Specialist at the Bank Ochrony Środowiska Foundation.
What else does fiber have to deal with? Its insoluble fraction improves gastrointestinal motility, i.e. speeds up the digestive process and prevents constipation. Soluble fiber, in turn, slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and reduces the absorption of the so-called gastrointestinal tract. bad cholesterol, bile and fatty acids. It also has the ability to bind water and swell, which gives a feeling of satiety, thus reducing the amount of food consumed. Moreover, it acts as a prebiotic, which creates a favorable substrate for the development of “good” bacterial flora in the digestive tract.
Gluten-free diet and fiber
Fiber deficiency can lead to many diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cancer. That is why it is so important that the diet – especially of children and adolescents – does not lack this ingredient. Shortages, incl. fiber, may be carried by the recently popularized gluten-free diet, which was started to be used by healthy people who do not suffer from gluten intolerance, i.e. celiac disease. The Australian researcher, author of the recently fashionable theory that eating gluten can even cause indigestion, bloating, headaches or fatigue in healthy people, after repeating the research – withdrew from the previously announced judgment. – Giving up eating gluten on your own, without consulting a doctor, can be harmful and lead to a deficiency of fiber, but also B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, selenium, calcium and magnesium. Therefore, it does not necessarily mean that we will feel better after switching to such a diet. That is why every diet should be consulted with a doctor or dietitian – warns Aleksandra Koper, Nutrition Specialist at the Foundation of Bank Ochrony Środowiska.
Eat a plate cheers
Jerzy Wysocki, a miller from Zambrów, who was forced to innovate by poverty in the industry, invented plates made of pressed bran.
– 100 g of wheat bran contains 42.4 g of fiber. Another, rich source of it is, among others, rye bread, graham bread, buckwheat, barley and oat flakes, brown rice, dried apricots and plums, beans and peas. Let’s also remember about vegetables and fruits. Especially eaten fresh with the skin on, they are an excellent source of fiber – says Aleksandra Koper, Nutrition Specialist at the Foundation of Bank Ochrony Środowiska.