What does fiber do


What is fiber?

Fiber - that sounds negative at first, like something superfluous, worthless. In fact, the body cannot use these indigestible food components, which is why it excretes them again. Nevertheless, these plant substances are extremely important.

A distinction is made between soluble and insoluble fiber, both together are referred to as total fiber.

Soluble fiber

They act as a swelling substance by binding large amounts of water. In the large intestine, soluble fiber is broken down by bacteria living there into short-chain fatty acids and gases - both of which make the stool softer and the stool volume increases. This enables rapid, regular emptying of the bowel without pressing. At the same time, the fibers serve as food for the bacteria, which means they can multiply well. This also increases the stool volume, because an estimated 60 percent of it is made up of bacterial cells.

Insoluble fiber

Insoluble fiber binds much less water than soluble fiber, but the bacteria hardly break it down, which increases the volume of stool. A bulky stool stimulates the movements of the intestine, which in turn accelerates the transport of food residues and their elimination.

What does fiber do?

As indigestible fillers, dietary fiber "dilutes" the energy content of food and thus promotes satiety. They also cause food to be chewed longer and better and make blood sugar rise more slowly. These are all good prerequisites for becoming or staying slim.

While the insoluble fiber stimulates bowel movements and can alleviate common problems such as constipation, the soluble fiber plays an important role for the metabolism in particular. For example, they can lower blood lipid levels and help the body get rid of cholesterol. Because fiber binds bile acids, so that these are excreted more, which in turn stimulates the production of new bile acids in the blood, whereby cholesterol is consumed.

In addition, fiber should help prevent type 2 diabetes, colon and prostate cancer.

Overall, a diet rich in fiber can cause gastrointestinal diseases (e.g. constipation, diverticulosis, colon cancer, hemorrhoids), metabolic diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes) and cardiovascular diseases (e.g. hardening of the arteries, heart attack, Prevent high blood pressure.

Dietary fiber: daily requirement

A minimum of 30 grams of fiber per day is recommended for adults. This corresponds, for example, to around 200 grams of cabbage, 200 grams of carrots, 100 grams of beetroot, 100 grams of legumes or three slices of whole grain bread. A whole lot that would have to be eaten as a daily ration.

Accordingly, 75 percent of women (on average 25 grams of fiber per day) and 68 percent of men (on average 23 grams of fiber per day) in this country are below the recommended daily intake.

The easiest way to meet the dietary fiber requirement is to consume plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as whole grain varieties of popular products such as pasta, bread and rice - at least that is the advice of the German Nutrition Society.

When increasing the amount, however, one should proceed cautiously, anyone who eats too much fiber and is not used to this often suffers from gas or bloating. At the same time, it is important to drink enough so that the fiber can swell sufficiently.

High fiber foods

You can find out which foods you can use to increase your fiber intake in the article High-fiber foods

Low fiber foods

Dietary fiber can have an adverse effect, especially with intestinal problems such as diarrhea or inflammatory bowel diseases. You can read in the article Low-fiber foods which foods and products contain hardly any fiber

Author & source information