What is fiber? Facts and health benefits

Dietary Fiber is, without question, one of the most beneficial substances for our body, and it can be found at high levels in a wide range of foods available all over the world.

A daily intake of the amounts recommended by international agencies helps maintain a healthier body, protecting you against non-transmissible chronic diseases (NTCD).

What is fiber?

Dietary fiber is one of the most important structures within the vegetable kingdom for your body. It is formed by the fibrous components that make up the vegetal anatomy, including the ones in the cell wall.

Some of these substances are significant for their inability to be hydrolyzed by the digestive enzymes, so they are partially fermented by the bacteria in the human intestine, where they develop their beneficial effects (1). This feature can be classified into two: fermentable fiber and non-fermentable fiber.

Another important property of some types of dietary fiber is its ability to dissolve into water, allowing it to be classified in soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Therefore, there are two types of fiber that you need to incorporate daily in order to have a healthy intestine and GI tract: soluble-fermentable fiber and insoluble-non-fermentable fiber.

An intake of 20-35 g/day is recommended, or 10-13 g/1000 calories. In addition, it is recommended that the insoluble fiber and soluble fiber proportion be, approximately, 3:1, or 75-25%, respectively.

Fiber health benefits

  • Ameliorates constipation
  • Causes feeling of fullness
  • Helps maintain the colon bacterial flora
  • Reduces blood cholesterol levels
  • Reduces blood sugar levels
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