Eat more fiber! You’ve probably heard this from several specialists in nutrition. But do you actually know why dietary fiber is so important?
To be more specific, we’re talking about very important nutrients that provide a lot of benefits to the body. They are components from plants, which aren’t digested and absorbed, basically passing unchanged through the digestive tract. However, they are absolutely necessary for the normal functioning of the entire human body.
Dietary fiber are perhaps best known for their ability to prevent constipation and improve the intestinal transit. High-fiber foods provide other benefits as well, such as maintaining a healthy weight and a normal level of cholesterol and glucose from the blood, thus reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The dietary fiber content in a product can be revealed by the external appearance, the origin and quality. In general, the less refined the vegetable product, the more fiber it contains.
Products such as meat, dairy and eggs don’t contain fiber, so it’s logical that you can find it only in vegetables, like whole grains, seeds, nuts and berry plants. The amount varies from one product to another.
Fiber is found in foods of plant origin and they are of two types:
Insoluble fiber – components found in plant cell walls
They cannot be digested and their main role is to prevent constipation and problems associated to it. Insoluble fiber are beneficial for bowel movements and can be used for preventing digestive problems.
Soluble fiber – components found inside plant cells
One of the major roles of dietary fiber is lowering blood cholesterol. Mild constipation can be treated by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet and by ensuring efficient hydration. Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, oatmeal or flaxseed.
The recommended daily amount of fiber
Specialists recommend an average consumption of 20-35 grams per day, but many people consume around 9-12 grams daily, maybe less. For children, the average amount of fiber is recommended by age.