The stomach cannot digest or absorb fibre, then why are these substances so important for the human body?
It is no secret that fibre benefits are well-known, especially when we want to lose weight, or when we have problems with bowel. Fibre is a class of carbohydrates found only in fruit, vegetables, and cereals. Foodstuffs of animal origin (meat, eggs, milk, fish etc.) do not provide fibre.
These carbohydrates cannot be digested by enzymes in the digestive tract.
Fibre benefits can be related to: fibre helps stimulate digestion, reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood, prevents colon cancer, relieves constipation, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and maintains the feeling of satiety for a longer period of time after a meal. Dietary fibre is removed along with the other residues resulted from the process of digestion and intestinal fermentation.
Fibre can be soluble and insoluble:
â€¢ Insoluble fibre (cellulose and lignin) has a high absorption level and swells like a sponge after it reaches the intestine. Fibre plays an important role in regulating digestion.
â€¢ Soluble fibre (pectin and hemicellulose) prevents or reduces the absorption of substances into the bloodstream: soluble fibre retains the entry of glucose in the blood, an important factor for diabetics, and reduces cholesterol levels. When dissolved in water, this type of fibre forms a gelatinous substance. Soluble fibre benefits are provided by oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley.
How much fibre should you consume?
Experts recommend an average consumption of 20 to 30 grams fibre per day â€“ apples 1,42g, pears 2,44g, potatoes 2,51g, cabbage 2,8g, black bread 5,11g, pea 6g, and bran 4,4g per 100g food.
Fibre deficiency from daily nutrition constitutes the most common cause of constipation, which entails the modification of intestinal microflora and leads to an increase in the intestinal transit time.
Fibre benefits are also linked to a reduced intestinal transit time, which decreases the chances of carcinogenic, mutagenic substances to act on the intestinal epithelium. In addition, this will lead to a feeling of bloating, haemorrhoids, varicose veins and even the occurrence of heart disease.
Caution though: not just fibre deficiency disrupts your health, but also the excess of fibre. A diet based solely on fruits and vegetables can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb other nutrients necessary for the health of the immune system and, when speaking about children, essential for their growth.