Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Dietary fiber: essential for a healthy diet

Dietary fiber: essential for a healthy diet

Nutritionist and academic at Universidad San Sebastian Samuel Duran, explains the health benefits of dietary fiber and offers some recommendations for its intake.

Dietary fiber intake, also known as dietary fiber or dietary fiber, is essential for maintaining the microbiota and intestinal transit in optimal conditions. It is present in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains or cereals (oats, rice, wheat, corn), and is a part of food that is not digestible or absorbed by humans.

“Despite its minimal contribution to total energy, dietary fiber offers important health benefits: It promotes the reduction of cholesterol and glucose, the latter of which are related to type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some types of cancer.” . Samuel Duran, academic of nutrition and dietetics, director of the Master in Nutrition in Public Health and researcher at Universidad San Sebastian. “With regard to colon cancer, for example, for every 10 g/day of fiber consumed, the risk of contracting this cancer is reduced by 10%.”

The portion of dietary fiber that is consumed—particularly soluble ones, such as pectin and hemicellulose—ferments in our gut, helping to form a healthy microbiota. Therefore, it is advisable to consume 25-35 grams of fiber per day.

“Soluble fiber forms viscous solutions (gels) in the intestine, trapping fat molecules and bile salts, which produces, for example, LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and a decrease in post-meal blood sugar levels,” they telling. Duran. Their anticancer potential is also known, as they trap various toxins introduced through food.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, eases intestinal transit, alleviating constipation, which has a positive effect on both children and adults.

increase fiber intake

Nutritionists recommend increasing the daily intake of fiber through the following actions:

  • Eat at least 5 daily portions between fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase the frequency of legume consumption, ideally 4 times a week, by using it, for example, in stews, salads, hamburgers or hummus.
  • Eat a handful of dry fruits (almonds, walnuts, etc.) daily.
  • Instead of white bread, prefer oatmeal or whole grain bread and brown rice instead of white.

Research to improve bread quality

In addition to its natural sources, fiber is also added to a large number of processed products, and ways to introduce it into new products are being studied to improve people’s diets.

In the case of Chile, where bread consumption reaches 90 kg per person per year, USS – through the Nutrition and Dietetics Program – is working on a public policy proposal to increase fiber consumption in the Chilean population.

As part of this project, and since information on fiber consumption in Chile is scarce, USS academics and researchers are conducting a study among the Chilean adult population. To answer the survey, click on the following link:

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