Vegetarian lifestyle
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Fiber and Health

Question: Today everyone is talking about fiber, how it is needed and useful. And what will happen if you do not use it?

Answer: In everyday life, most people focus on the diet in assessing the content of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, certain vitamins and minerals in food. At the same time, the content of indigestible polysaccharides of plant origin is ignored. These are fiber (cellulose), hemicellulose and pectin substances, only plants are their sources, because they are practically absent in the tissues and organs of animals. In plants, these substances perform a supporting function, being part of the cell walls. So, the absence or insufficient amount of indigestible polysaccharides in the human diet leads to severe health disorders up to disability and a sharp reduction in life expectancy.

Question: So what role do these indigestible substances play, why are they so important?

Answer: Among the many factors of the beneficial effects of fiber (dietary fiber) and other components of plant cell membranes on the human body, the most important are the following:

1. Stimulation of mechanoreceptors of the intestinal mucosa, which activates its peristalsis, regulates motor function;
2. Stimulation of bile excretion, accompanied by normalization of the motor function of the biliary tract;
3. Activation of the elimination of cholesterol from the body, which leads to a decrease in serum cholesterol (hypocholesterolemic effect);
4. Adsorption (absorption) of 10-15% of bile acids released from the gallbladder with a pronounced bactericidal effect. With the passage of such fiber, saturated with bile acids, the processes of fermentation and decay are effectively suppressed in the intestine, which is a powerful prevention of dysbiosis;
5. Adsorption and elimination of various toxic substances, in particular, heavy metals, radionuclides, toxic substances and allergens;
6. The formation of feces and the normalization of their progress through the intestines;
7. Normalization of blood sugar.

Fiber is not digested by the enzymes of gastric juice, while it quickly absorbs moisture, swells in the stomach, fills it and brings a feeling of satiety, thereby contributing to the quick relief of hunger and preventing the ingestion of excess calories. The lack of indigestible polysaccharides in food leads first to a slowdown of peristalsis, the development of dyskinesias and intestinal stasis, then dysbiosis is added. The subsequent development of the disease depends on the degree of fiber deficiency and the speed of its elimination.

Question: So how much fiber should you eat?

Answer: Normally, a person’s daily diet should contain 20-25 g of fiber and other indigestible polysaccharides. However, it is quite difficult to regulate the amount of these substances in your diet, as on the packaging of most products, information about the fiber they contain is not indicated. Therefore, it is advisable to know the approximate fiber content in the most common foods.

Question: A natural question about specific products, but first, who needs fiber especially?

Answer: The main indications for enriching the diet with fiber are:

1. Tendency to constipation;
2. Diseases of the liver, biliary tract outside the stage of exacerbation;
3. Hypercholesterolemia;
4. Diabetes;
5. Mature and old age (one of the prophylactic agents for the prevention of atherosclerosis of the vessels of the heart and brain).
However, it should be remembered that with a deficiency of fiber in the diet, after a while, various inflammatory diseases of the digestive system can develop or aggravate. In such cases, the amount of indigestible polysaccharides in food is limited and drug treatment is carried out under the supervision of a doctor. Self-medication is unacceptable here. They also limit fiber intake with accelerated intestinal motility.

Question: And now the question is about specific sources of fiber – what foods should I eat to provide the right amount?

Answer: It would seem that everything is very simple: the plant world is so diverse that the possibilities for satisfying the body’s needs for indigestible polysaccharides and, first of all, fiber, are not limited by anything. However, the number of plants used in daily nutrition is very limited, and unfortunately, the most fiber-rich conifers, deciduous trees, shrubs, meadow grasses are inedible or poisonous. Of the most commonly consumed in our country and fiber-rich plants, it should be noted:

1. Legumes (soybeans, beans, lentils, peas) with a fiber content of 1-4g / 100g;
2. Vegetables (cabbage, pepper, carrots, parsnips, onions, etc.) – 0.3-2.4g / 100g;
3. Berries (currants, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, etc.) – 1-5g / 100g.
4. Melons (watermelon, melon, pumpkin) –0.5-1.2 g / 100g;
5. Fruits and citrus fruits (apples, peaches, oranges, etc.) – 0.6-1.4g / 100g.

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