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What Is Fiber – And What Is It Good For?

Fiber stimulates digestion and is even said to protect against various diseases. We’ll tell you why fiber is so healthy. We also give tips for a successful diet change.

What is dietary fiber?

Fiber is largely indigestible for the body. They cannot be used at all or only partially. The food component does not provide any energy to our bodies. Once included, we simply discard them. There are two categories: water-soluble and water-insoluble. The water-soluble fiber is mainly found in fruit and vegetables, but also cereals such as oats or barley grass. In contrast, water-insoluble dietary fiber is mainly found in whole-grain products. By the way: In general, dietary fibers are almost exclusively found in plant foods, hardly any in animal ones.

This is how fiber works

We’ve often heard that fiber stimulates digestion. But how does it work? The secret lies in the ability of fiber to bind water. As so-called swelling and fillers, they can sometimes even bind up to 100 times their weight in water. Water-insoluble fiber attracts water and then swells up in the intestine. In this way, the intestinal contents are transported more quickly or digested more quickly and the stool volume increases. The stool becomes looser and can be passed out more easily. In this way, e.g. blockages can be prevented. The water-soluble fiber has a slightly different function. They have a positive effect on the intestinal flora in that they also bind water, but are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. The supposed ballast serves the intestinal flora as a kind of energy source and stimulates its function.

Dietary fiber – good for health

A high-fiber diet can even protect against disease. Studies show that the indigestible food components can prevent certain diseases or reduce their risk of them. For example, diabetes patients are often advised to make their diet richer in fiber. How so? The substances ensure that the blood sugar level rises only slowly after eating and less insulin is released. In this way, dietary fibers not only have a preventive effect but also play an important role in the everyday life of diabetics.

In addition to blood sugar levels, fiber also has a positive effect on your cholesterol levels. Whether they can help with high cholesterol levels in the long term has not yet been proven. The situation is similar to the preventive effect of colon cancer. There is a known connection between a falling number of cancer cases and a high-fiber diet, but it has not yet been scientifically proven.

The preventive effect on the heart and circulatory diseases, on the other hand, is certain. Even after a heart attack, fiber can still have extremely beneficial health effects.

Slim thanks to a high-fiber diet

Eat, eat, eat – and you just don’t want to gain weight? Sounds great, but unfortunately it’s not that easy. However, dietary fiber does not provide the body with any nutrition – accordingly almost no calories. 100 grams of fiber only comes to two calories. They also keep you full longer because they swell up in the stomach and delay gastric emptying. The only catch: Foods such as nuts are very high in fiber, but also contain a lot of fat. With a high-fiber diet (especially during a diet), make sure not to eat too many fatty or sugary foods.

How much fiber do I need per day?

Experts recommend 30 grams a day. On average, however, we only get about 20 grams – a whole third too little. At the forefront among the suppliers of roughage are psyllium husks, legumes, of course, whole grain products, and fruit and vegetables.

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Written by Dave Parker

I am a food photographer and recipe writer with more than 5 years of experience. As a home cook, I have published three cookbooks and had many collaborations with international and domestic brands. Thanks to my experience in cooking, writing and photographing unique recipes for my blog you will get great recipes for lifestyle magazines, blogs, and cookbooks. I have extensive knowledge of cooking savory and sweet recipes that will tickle your taste buds and will please even the pickiest crowd.

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