Fibers – friends of diets

If you want to lose weight (or prevent weight gain), then you should make friends with fibers.

Fibers are the natural obstacle against overeating, because foods high in fiber make you feel full. They also delay the initial process of digestion in the small intestine, and slows down the release of glucose in the blood, which means that the body will use energy rather than convert it into fat.

In the past, the fibers were considered “ballast” which passes through the intestines without making a big deal. But today we know that fibers can have powerful effects on health, the most obvious is: the normal functioning of the intestines. A diet low in fiber cause constipation, which involve not only discomfort but also delay the elimination of toxins.

Another benefit is related to the muscles of the intestinal walls. When we eat more fiber, they must work harder, to move the food bowl. If the fibers are few, the muscles become flaccid and some may form “pockets” called diverticula. When they become inflamed, diverticulitis occurs, which is manifested by abdominal pain and may require surgery.

Also, people who eat foods rich in fiber are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. There is evidence that such a diet reduces the risk of breast or intestine cancer. The fibers are not the only factor, but dozens of international studies correlate increased fiber intake with low intestine cancer.Whole grains

How much fiber?

How much fiber per day: an adult needs about 30-40 grams. Three meals a day which includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains ensures, usually, the necessary fiber. It is difficult to make an “overdose”, because such foods are nourishing (but if you go to the bathroom very frequently, perhaps you exaggerate).

There is no recommended dose for children, but, certainly, they need less fiber than adults. Make sure that at least half of bread and cereals they consume daily are whole.

Fiber rich foods

Here are some foods rich in fiber: cereals (and cereal products such as bread, muesli, pasta), vegetables (especially leguminous – beans, peas, chickpeas), fruits, nuts and seeds. Meat and dairy products contain NO fiber.

There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Most foods contain them both. Soluble fiber dissolves in water (example – the pectin extracted from fruits, which helps to fix jams and jelly-like substance that forms when boiling oatmeal) and are completely digested in the large intestine by the “good” bacteria. During this process, bacteria produce acid that prevents absorption of cholesterol.

Insoluble fiber, such as the name, does not dissolve in water, although some of them are partially digested by bacteria in the intestines (and may have anticancer effects). They also absorb water and facilitate bowel movement. A good source of insoluble fiber are fruits and vegetables (unpeeled), wheat bran and whole grains.Yummy

Fiber content / serving

· Breakfast cereals: 0-15g
· Oatmeal, cooked: 5g
· White bread, 1 slice: 1g
· Whole bread, 1 slice: 2-4g
· Whole pasta: 13g
· White rice: 1.5 g
· Brown rice: 3g
· Fruit, medium size piece (apple, pear, orange): 3-4g
· Prunes, 1 cup: 9g
· Medium potato, peeled: 1.5 g
· Peas, 100g: 5,5 g
· Broccoli: 4g
· Green lettuce: 0.5 g
· Dry beans, cooked: 12g
· Nuts, 50g: 4g

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