The fibers are equally important to preserve our health as well as vitamins and minerals. Fiber intake, according to statistics is still far below the recommended in the United States and European Union. Instead of the recommended amount of 25-30 g / day, adults in the USA are taken only 15 g per day, and the situation is no better in Europe.
The fibers are present in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. It can be soluble in water (inulin from chicory roots, carrot pectin and apple ..) and insoluble (cellulose fibers, such as wheat bran). Some fibers can contribute to the growth of certain strains of probiotic bacteria in our intestines and are called prebiotics. Although we can not digest the fibers as they pass through our digestive system, it nevertheless helps our health in various ways.
Sugar metabolism and weight control
Fiber increases the feeling of satiety, which can indirectly help in diets for weight loss and maintenance of body weight; can reduce the increase of blood sugar after a meal, increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing diabetes type 2.
When soluble water fibers pass through the digestive system, binding the excess of water and swell, thereby stool becomes softer and more abundant and thus assist in its release. In this way the fibers contribute to maintaining regular bowel movements, which for many people is a problem, either due to an unbalanced diet, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise or in the case of the elderly. Moreover, individual fibers can provide energy to the bacteria forming intestinal flora and thus contribute to their development and growth. Thanks to all these positive effects, a diet high in fiber can help alleviate the symptoms of irritable colon syndrome (irritable bowel or part-IBS) in young and old people. Common results of several studies have shown that high-fiber foods can reduce the risk of gastrointestinal tumors, in part due to the inhibition of bile acid, softening stool and shorten transit time through the intestines, although the mechanisms of action are not completely known.
The fibers have the ability to bind bile acids that are produced in the liver using cholesterol from the blood, thus fiber help reduce blood cholesterol levels. In addition, several studies have shown that people who take large amounts of fiber have reduced the value of markers - indicators of inflammation.
Extensive research which lasted almost 13 years and resulted in a large number of data collected suggests that increasing dietary fiber reduces the mortality rate, especially in the case of death due to circulatory and digestive system diseases and other diseases developing as a result of inflammation.
How to use it?
When these fibers are used in therapy, within the first 2-3 weeks may cause bloating, but this is normal. When increasing fiber intake must not forget the appropriate daily intake of fluids, because taking fiber in large quantities without simultaneous water intake can cause constipation. It is recommended that medications and supplements taken before or after the fiber, because it have the ability to bond active ingredients of medicines and vitamins on its surface and inhibit their absorption.
In many cases it was shown that inulin promotes the absorption of calcium, magnesium and iron, so it can not be said that all the fibers inhibits absorption of minerals.
Metabolic Effects of Dietary Fiber Consumption and Prevention of Diabetes - Weickert et al., J. Nutr. 2008 Mar; 138 (3): 439-42.
Fiber intake and total and cause-specific mortality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort - Chuang et al., Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jul; 96 (1): 164-74.
Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer: a pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies - Park et al., JAMA. 2005 Dec 14; 294 (22): 2849-57.