What is fiber?
Do we need fiber at all – and if so, why and how much?
Fiber consists mainly of polysaccharides that are indigestible to humans - these are large molecules that form cell walls and solid structures in plants and fungi. They bind water in the digestive tract, ensuring soft stools and promoting regulated digestion.
But beyond that, science is now discovering more and more secrets and the term “fiber,” which used to have a negative connotation, is being reevaluated in a positive way.
If we feed the intestinal bacteria, now often referred to as the microbiome, enough fiber, they can work optimally and, among other things
- Produce messenger substances that serve as mood enhancers.
- Stimulate the formation of anti-inflammatory substances.
- Form short-fat fatty acids that protect the heart and blood vessels.
- Train and strengthen the immune system.
- Keep the intestinal mucosa healthy and keep disease-causing germs away.
But our Western diet, which is often refined and industrial, contains too little fiber. The intake of around 30 to 50 g/day is recommended, which corresponds to around twice the current average amount consumed.
Vegetables, fruits, seeds, whole grain products and legumes are not only rich in vitamins and minerals, but also contain a variety of different fibers. Flax seeds, wheat bran, psyllium husks, lentils, almonds, oat flakes and some vegetables and fruits are particularly high in fiber.
Several portions of different fiber-rich foods, in combination with sufficient fluids, provide our microbiome with the nutrition it needs to survive. In return, our microbiome fulfills its function optimally, ensures regular digestion and actively contributes to our health and vitality.