Your body can neither use them nor do they provide you with energy or important micronutrients. Nevertheless they are absolutely essential for a healthy diet and a functioning metabolism: dietary fibres. But only a quarter of women and a third of men in Germany consume enough of them. Why? Because more and more industrially processed food has thrown them off the menu. Today we will show you exactly what fibre is all about and how easy it is to incorporate it into your diet.
What are dietary fibres actually?
Dietary fibres are linked sugar molecules that are actually indigestible, because they are not broken down in the stomach and intestines, but are excreted almost undigested. And yet they are good for the body and the digestion, as you will soon learn.
A distinction is made between water-soluble and waterunsoluble fibre:
- Soluble dietary fibres are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, which is good for the intestinal flora. An example of this is pectin, which is obtained from the peel of fruits.
- Insoluble fibreslike cellulose as an elementary component of all plant cells, have a higher swelling capacity than water-soluble food fibres. This means they are transported further more quickly.
The main dietary fibres are cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and lignin. But what are dietary fibres good for in detail?
Why dietary fibre is so important
In fact, dietary fibres have a whole range of positive influences on the body: first and foremost, they are very important for the digestive process. They promote the whole digestion process and prevent constipation. This is because the swelling increases the irritation on the intestinal walls, which stimulates digestion. The so-called "food porridge" is then a shorter time in the intestine. This is very important, because the longer it stays there, the more water is removed and the more difficult it is to excrete.
They also fill up faster because they swell up in the stomach. Because of this, and because they are low in calories, they also help in the fight against weight gain or obesity. In addition, they bind toxins and other harmful substances that enter the intestines with food, thus promoting their elimination.
They also ensure that the nutrients in the food are absorbed more slowly. As a result, blood sugar and cholesterol levels also rise more slowly, which is why a fibre-rich diet can help diabetics in particular. There are already clear indications in science that fibre reduces the risk of type II diabetes. In the treatment of diabetes patients, dietary fibres are already being used successfully to help control the disease, so a high-fibre diet helps to maintain a healthy intestinal flora and can prevent colon cancer, obesity and diabetes.
Dietary fibres are found mainly in vegetable foods. Some important sources of dietary fibre are:
- FruitApples, pears, berries, kiwis and citrus fruits
- VegetablesBroccoli, carrots, potatoes, rose and white cabbage
- Dried fruitsPlums, raisins and apricots
- Wholemeal products: wholemeal bread and wholemeal pasta
- Nuts and Seeds
- PulsesPeas, lentils and beans.
You should avoid pasta made from white flour, rusks and white rice, as they contain very little or no fibre.
By the way, five of the most fibre-rich foods are
|Food||Fibre in grams per 100g|
Tips for a high-fibre diet
The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends 30 grams of total dietary fibre per day for adults, i.e. soluble (in fruit and vegetables) and insoluble (cereals and pulses). So far, a large proportion of Germans do not reach this guideline value. One reason for this is that many processed products, such as finely ground flour, contain almost no fibre at all.
If you've been doing a bit of research into healthy eating, you're probably already eating some high-fiber foods anyway. And you don't have to change your whole diet and only eat the foods in the table above! Instead, you can replace or supplement your existing habits with suitable fibre-rich alternatives, because your body doesn't just enjoy fibre. Your diet should be balanced, with lots of fruit and vegetables - then water-soluble and water-insoluble fibre is also available in the right proportions.
As you have already seen, fibre is contained in wholemeal products in addition to fruit and vegetables. This is because fibre is mainly found in the outer layers of the grain. So you could start by eating a few slices of wholemeal rye bread for breakfast instead of the wheat roll, or a cereal with fruits and nuts. Instead of the "normal" light pasta or light rice, you can make sure to choose the wholemeal variation of it when you next shop.
If you know that your body hasn't really been getting a lot of fibre yet, you should slowly get it used to it and above all drink a lot! In order for fibre to swell in the intestines, you need enough fluid. You should therefore drink at least 2 litres of fluid (preferably water) a day.
Now you know: Fiber can do a lot of things! And hopefully you can make sure you eat enough of it. If you still haven't had enough, we also recommend our blog post on the connection between dietary fibres and proteins (link to follow)! Or you can try our protein shake nupro which provides you with a good dose of fibre as well as protein! But nucao is not without its share: nuts and cocoa are the reliable sources of fibre for our Power-Schoki.