The Importance Of Fibers: A Slimming And Healthy Asset

Fibers are actually another type of carbohydrate, and more specifically, they are non-digestible polysaccharides (more or less long chains of different simple sugars).

They are found in plants and enter into the structure of plants (leaves, roots, fruit skins).

There are mainly two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber

So named because they cannot dissolve in water, they travel through the digestive tract unchanged, stimulating the passage of food through the stomach and intestine. The best known are lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose.

They are mainly found in certain whole grains (in particular, wheat bran, whose fibers are contained in the grain shell), oilseeds (almond skin for example), leaves, roots, as well as in fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fibers:

They are so named because they disperse easily in water and form gels in the intestine. The best known are pectins, gums and mucilages.

They are found in particular in legumes, certain cereals such as barley, oats or rye, or fruits and vegetables.

Fructans and chitosan

To be completely complete, it is also necessary to mention the fructans: often empirically called “prebiotics” , they include, on the one hand, the fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and, on the other hand, the inulin. They are found, for example, in garlic, onion, chicory, artichoke, etc.

Chitosan: a very special fiber produced from the shell of crustaceans, used as a dietary supplement to lose weight or reduce cholesterol levels, but with a priori very limited or even potentially harmful effects.

Why is it important to eat fiber?

Because fiber is essential for the health of the digestive system!

Insoluble fiber

This type of fiber stimulates and regulates intestinal transit. As a result, they increase the elimination of carcinogenic substances, thus helping to prevent certain digestive or colorectal cancers.

Just as there are people who are lactose intolerant, there are also those who are sensitive to insoluble fibers.

Soluble fibers

This type of fiber ferments in the intestine, and contributes to the health of the intestinal flora.

In addition, thanks to the gels they form in the intestine, they slow down the absorption of glucose in the blood, which allows:

  • Prolong the feeling of satiety.
  • Contribute, by reducing the glycemic index of the carbohydrates that contain it, to avoid the generation of insulin spikes, especially harmful in the short and long term.

How to eat more fiber?

Most of the benefits of fiber are attributed to soluble fibers and fructans, insoluble fibers mainly play a mechanical role in digestion: therefore, it is the former that should be preferred.

  • Increase the portion of fruits, vegetables and legumes.
  • Prefer whole fruits to fruit juices, compotes and other transformations, and eat them with skin.
  • Add mushrooms to your regular menu, which are very rich in ß-glucans (a type of fiber also present in oats and barley, which stimulates the immune system as well as being fermented in the intestine).
  • Eat a handful of dried oilseeds daily.
  • Prefer semi-whole grains to refined versions.

Conclusions:

  1. Fibers are part of a balanced diet, but portions must be taken into account.
  2. Not all people tolerate all fibers, it is important to identify what the body tolerates.
  3. Eating foods rich in fiber helps the digestive system and can even strengthen it.
  4. Care must be taken when choosing fibers, since they all have different functions.
  5. It should not be abused, the diet should be complementary, a bit of everything.