Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate, unable to be digested by the enzymes of the human stomach, but useful for intestinal microflora. Fiber-rich foods are the stems and grains of plants - dietary fiber is especially abundant in vegetables and cereals.
Fiber foods are beneficial in that they help regulate blood sugar, affecting hunger and satiety. In addition, coarse fibers play an important role in digestion, providing mechanical movement of food along the gastrointestinal tract.
// Fiber - what is it?
Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate found in plant foods. In fact, it is fiber that forms the dense structure of vegetables, and is also a material for the shell of grain. There are a lot of dietary fiber in bran, cereals, grains, nuts, and they are also found in any vegetables and fruits. Detailed tables can be found later in the material.
The main advantage of fiber foods is their low glycemic index - that is, the use of such foods helps maintain a stable blood sugar level. It is also important that although fiber is practically not absorbed by the body, they play an important role in digestion, providing mechanical movement of food through the intestines and improving its microflora¹.
Water-soluble fiber found in oatmeal and a number of other products acts as a prebiotic and serves as food for beneficial bacteria. At the same time, water-insoluble fiber is also useful - it absorbs liquid like a sponge, swells in the stomach and creates a long-lasting feeling of fullness.
// Fiber - briefly:
- dietary fiber contained in plants
- needed for digestion
- acts as a prebiotic
- fiber deficiency is harmful to health
The doctors' recommendations suggest that the daily intake of fiber for children and adults is 20-30 g. However, a typical diet contains at least two times less dietary fiber. Athletes who follow a diet for muscle gain need up to 40 g of fiber per day due to a higher calorie intake and, consequently, increased amount of food eaten².
When following a diet for weight loss (especially in the case of a carbohydrate-free diet ), it is also extremely important to ensure that fiber-rich foods are always preserved.
// Norms of fiber per day:
- Children and adults - 20-30 g
- Athletes - 30-40 g
- When losing weight - 40-45 g
The richest fiber is bran. At their core, they represent a hard shell of grain or solid dietary fiber. Next on the list are flaxseed and whole grain cereals (for example, barley, buckwheat and oats) - on average they contain up to 10-15 g of fiber per 100 g of dry product. In addition, there is a lot of fiber in all types of legumes, in seeds and in nuts.
Note that it is better to focus on the general logic of fiber content in products than on a specific figure in fractions of a gram. The role is played by the fact that the amount of dietary fiber varies depending on the variety and method of growing a particular plant, and in finished food products (for example, whole grain bread or pasta editions) - on production technologies.
// Fiber-rich foods
Leader in plant fiber content - up to 45% by weight. They are a ground shell of grains of various cereal crops (wheat, rye, oats and even rice). It is important to remember that as a product of wheat processing, bran usually contains gluten .
Differ in variability. Chia seeds contain water-insoluble fiber, absorbing liquid like a sponge - it contains more than 30% by weight. Flax seeds also have a number of health benefits, and they contain up to 25% of dietary fiber.
Whole Grain Cereals
Each of the cereal crops has its own characteristics. For example, oatmeal contains beta-glucan, which normalizes blood sugar and reduces hunger. Bulgur contains the most fiber (almost 20%) and is the most useful version of wheat.
Formally, buckwheat , quinoa, and millet are not cereals. These are pseudo-grains - in fact, they are plant seeds. Usually they contain from 10% to 15% of dietary fiber - it means the weight of dry cereals before cooking, in the porridge the figure is lower.
A vivid example of useful legumes is lentils, which contain not only 10% fiber, but also 25% vegetable protein. Among other things, lentils, peas and soy also contain a lot of fiber and have a low glycemic index.
Dried mushrooms and dried fruits
The high fiber content in dried fruits is explained by the mechanics of production. Since the water is literally dried, the balance of dry weight falls on simple carbohydrates (up to 60-70% by weight) and on coarse dietary fiber (10 to 12%).
Usually, the rule that the fatter the nut is, the more fiber it contains. An example is macadamia nut and pistachios - leaders both in calorie content and in the number of plant fibers. It accounts for 10% of the weight. In the remaining nuts - less.
Strictly speaking, vegetables contain not so many plant fibers in terms of weight - about 2-5% by weight. However, the average serving of vegetables usually weighs more than the average serving of cereals. In addition, there are more indigestible carbohydrates in rhizomes (for example, sweet potato ).
Fiber in foods - features and benefits
The key role of fiber in foods is to ensure digestion. Dietary fibers form a dense mass, helping the body promote the digestible through the esophagus. In addition, fiber slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood, positively affecting sugar and insulin levels. The plus is that it normalizes the surge in glucose when consuming simple carbohydrates .
Nutritionists note that the more fiber foods you eat, the less calories are stored as fat. In addition, dietary fiber physically fills the intestines, causing it to block the feeling of hunger and send a signal of satiety to the brain, which prevents overeating. However, this does not mean at all that taking fiber in tablets alone helps to lose weight.
// The benefits of fiber:
- regulates blood sugar
- normalizes cholesterol metabolism
- helps digestion
- provides saturation
What is the danger of a lack of dietary fiber?
Lack of fiber in daily foods provokes metabolic disorders. First of all, the level of glucose in the blood rises and there is a feeling of hunger associated with it - which leads to overeating and gaining excess weight. Secondly, a lack of fiber leads to constipation and activation of the mechanisms of deposition of bad cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels.
However, it must be understood that a lack of fiber is primarily a consequence of a complex malnutrition, characterized by a lack of plant foods. A fiber deficiency occurs when following a diet rich in meat products and fast carbohydrates (rice, starch). It should also be noted that there is not much fiber in white bread.
Fiber Product Tables
// Brief table of fiber in foods
|Product Examples||Fiber per 100 g|
|Seeds (including flaxseed and chia seeds)||25-30 g|
|Dried mushrooms||20-25 g|
|Dried fruits||12-15 g|
|Whole grain cereals (oatmeal, buckwheat, quinoa)||10-15 g|
|Legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas)||9-13 g|
|Whole wheat bread||8-9 g|
|Berries (blueberries, lingonberries)||5-8 g|
|Sweet fruits (peaches, oranges, strawberries)||2-4 g|
// A complete table of fiber foods, showing a percentage of the recommended daily allowance
|Food product||Fiber Content per 100 g||Percentage of the norm|
|Wheat bran||43.6 g||145%|
|Dried porcini mushrooms||26.2 g||87%|
|Dried figs||18.2 g||61%|
|Dried apricot||18 g||60%|
|Dried apricots||17.6 g||59%|
|Rye (grain)||16.4 g||55%|
|Oat bran||15.4 g||51%|
|Dried peach||14.9 g||50%|
|Dried apples||14.9 g||50%|
|Barley (grain)||14.5 g||48%|
|Buckwheat (grain)||14 g||47%|
|Soya (grain)||13.5 g||45%|
|Wallpaper rye flour||13.3 g||44%|
|Buckwheat groats (done)||12.5 g||42%|
|Peeled rye flour||12.4 g||41%|
|Oat groats||12 g||40%|
|Wheat (grain, hard variety)||11.3 g||38%|
|Seeded rye flour||10.8 g||36%|
|Wheat (grain, soft variety)||10.8 g||36%|
|Peas (peeled)||10.7 g||36%|
|Buckwheat flour||10 g||33%|
|Rice (Grain)||9.7 g||32%|
|Wallpaper wheat flour||9.3 g||31%|
|Barley groats||8.1 g||27%|
|Oat groats||8 g||27%|
Fiber is the dietary fiber of plants. Fiber-rich foods not only affect hunger, but also lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Fiber is especially abundant in various seeds, green vegetables, and also in whole grain cereals and pseudo-cereal crops. Lack of dietary fiber is characterized by both difficulties with digestion and possible hormonal disorders.
- The Nutrition Source: Fiber, source
- Fiber: How Much Do You Need ?, source
- Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, source