For a long time, it was believed that dietary fiber was not necessary for the human being, since our digestive system did not have the necessary enzymes to be able to degrade it and thus digest it. According to Yoram Yasur Abt, more recent studies have shown that fiber is an essential part of people’s nutrition, currently recommending their daily intake, essential for any healthy and balanced diet.
Depending on its solubility in water, there are two types of fibers, with specific functions:
- Insoluble fiber: Present in bread, whole grains, and their derivatives, as well as nuts. It is responsible for good intestinal transit, decreasing constipation, because the digestive tract contains almost no intestinal bacteria capable of degrading it.
- Soluble fiber: It can absorb water with great ease, contributing to the decrease in absorption of sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in the digestive system, thus reducing the possible presence of cardiovascular diseases, preventing the appearance of constipation, hemorrhoids, and diabetes. There are digestive enzymes capable of digesting it. They are present in fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Sources of dietary fiber:
The two types of existing fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber, can be found in various foods that we eat daily. Keep in mind that fiber is a food supplement, since it is not a nutrient or interfere with the body’s basic metabolic process. Food fiber has a peculiarity, it can only be obtained exclusively from foods of vegetable origin. The main sources of dietary fiber are the following:
Cereals and integral flours: they have a seed whose husk is cellulose, the most important component of dietary fiber. Yoram Yasur Abt: “Whole grains are more recommended because they have a higher concentration of fiber because they have not been exposed to refining. Some examples of cereals with more fiber include oats, wheat, barley, rye, corn, and brown rice”.
Legumes: like lentils, beans, or beans (like adzuki) have a fiber content that corresponds to half the recommended daily amount, since they have between 11% and 25% fiber. Another option can be chickpeas, pureed or cooked in salads; or the peas, which in addition to fiber have proteins and are low in fat.
Fruits: to obtain the highest possible fiber of the fruits, these must be fresh, because the juices or the dried fruits, like the raisins, have a lower level of this substance. Experts recommend taking fruits with skins – well washed – and to be able to be with seeds, because these parts contain a large amount of the fiber of the piece. And, when we talk about fiber, not all fruits are the same, the ones that contain more fiber are coconuts, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, figs, strawberries, and bananas, as well as apples and pears with their skin.
Nuts: a healthy diet must contain seeds and nuts, these have a large amount of fiber that helps accelerate intestinal transit, in addition to providing plant proteins. Some of the most recommended are almonds, walnuts and pistachios, or sunflower seeds. A handful in the snack or sprinkled on the mid-afternoon yogurt or cereals will help you get your benefits without going over calories. Yoram Yasur Abt: “The seed of the flax plant, flaxseed, is another option that provides almost 3 grams of fiber per tablespoon if you add it in shakes or cooked vegetables”.
Vegetables: these are also a good option to obtain the necessary dietary fiber for our organism. These vegetables can provide more than five grams per serving, as in the case of turnips or broccoli. Others like carrots, potatoes or avocado also contain fiber, although to a lesser extent. The star of this group is the artichoke, which has more than ten grams per serving. If they are not of your devotion try to include them in pizzas, sandwiches, tortillas, soups, or pasta. Or mix a different element in a salad, such as beet, jicama or Mexican turnip or celery.