How does fiber help digestion: Why Is Fiber Important in Digestive Health?
Why Is Fiber Important in Digestive Health?
We hear a lot about the health benefits of protein — but all too often, the pros of eating fiber go overlooked. Everyday Health reached out to 10 digestive health experts and asked them exactly how fiber boosts your digestive health (and whether it’s possible to eat too much).
Mark Babyatsky, MD, chair of the department of medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City
Dietary fiber, found particularly in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, helps to keep bowel movements regular. Individuals who consume high-fiber diets have much lower rates of constipation than individuals that eat a low-fiber diet, plus they have fewer hemorrhoids and diverticula (outpouchings) in the colon. Too much fiber may result in loose stools, bloating, or even diarrhea.
Kenneth Brown, MD, gastroenterologist
Dietary fiber is the term used to describe the combination of both insoluble and soluble fibers. Soluble fiber is the form of fiber that dissolves in water. Examples of foods that contain soluble fiber include fruits, oats, legumes and barley. Insoluble fiber comes from plant cell walls and does not dissolve in water. Examples of foods that contain insoluble fiber include wheat, vegetables, and seeds. Fiber works by both bulking up the stool and retaining water.
In addition, bacteria help digest the fiber which produces healthy ingredients for the colon such as short chain fatty acids. Fiber can be beneficial for both diarrhea and constipation depending how much fluid is also taken in with the fiber. Fiber can actually become a constipating agent if the amount of fluid taken in is too low.
Lisa Ganjhu, DO, gastroenterologist
Fiber plays a major role in digestive health. Fiber is the fuel the colon cells use to keep them healthy. Fiber also helps to keep the digestive tract flowing, by keeping your bowel movements soft and regular.
It is possible to get too much fiber, and your body will know it. You may experience bloating and many more bowel movements than you are normally are used to.
Jo Ann Hattner, MPH, RD
Fibers are primarily non-digestible carbohydrates. Fibers are components of plant foods, fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds — any food that is classified as a plant. The fiber provides structure. Think of the celery stalk and the obvious vertical fiber strings that one often gets caught in their teeth. In addition, because fibers are non-digestible, they contribute to stool bulk and add form to the stool. People with irregularity are often advised to increase their fiber and fluid intake.
But can you get too much? Well yes, you can get too much of anything. But you will know when you do. When you eat too much fiber, your digestive system may be overwhelmed and you will suffer from abdominal bloating and pass excessive gas. You don’t want that, so keep an open mind and just eat as much fiber as you personally need to keep regular and enjoy a flat abdomen.
Another really important role of fiber is that some fibers are prebiotics — meaning they are fermented in the colon by the healthful beneficial bacteria. The products of this fermentation, which include short chained fatty acids, are thought to be healthful to the lining of the colon. In addition the acidic milieu that results from the fermentation is unfriendly to the survival of the pathogenic (harmful) bacteria which cause illness and may contribute to an unhealthy colonic environment. Expect more research findings on this subject.
Lisa Pichney, MD, gastroenterologist
Fiber is good for the gastrointestinal tract because it provides bulk to the stool, helping in colonic lubrication and transit. Too much fiber can result in unwanted gas production.
Seth Rosen, MD, gastroenterologist
A high-fiber diet can contribute greatly to gastrointestinal health as well as to a general healthy lifestyle. Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements so they are not too loose or too hard and may decrease the risk of diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Most high-fiber foods tend to be low in calories, sugar, and fat, so they are generally healthy. When eating high-fiber foods one may feel fuller and thereby less inclined to overeat.
Additionally, high-fiber diets are often part of a low-cholesterol, heart-healthy diet. While it is rare for most of us to exceed the recommended daily fiber intake, some people do have difficulty with gas and bloating when eating a large amount of fiber or introducing fiber too quickly into the diet. Also, keep in mind, eating fiber always requires adequate hydration and help to minimize the gas and bloating that may develop.
Sutha Sachar, MD, gastroenterologist
A diet high in fiber has repeatedly shown benefits in preventing colon cancer. Contrary to what many people think, soluble fiber can be used for treatment of diarrhea as well as constipation. The only drawback to eating “too much fiber” is that is can cause gas. This can usually be overcome by drinking plenty of water along with it.
Fiber and Digestion Problems
Suffering from diarrhea? Conventional wisdom says choose foods high in fiber. Constipated? Eat a high-fiber diet, experts suggest.
That’s right, as contradictory as it may seem, the same remedy can work for diarrhea and constipation.
“Part of the answer is that fiber helps normalize transit time, or the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract,” says Joanne L. Slavin, PhD, RD, professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota.
Fiber Regulates Digestion
Constipation happens when food moves too slowly through the large intestines, often resulting in hard stool that is difficult to pass. Eating fiber-rich foods helps move the contents of the large intestine along more quickly. Fiber also absorbs water, softening stools so that they pass more easily.
Diarrhea occurs when undigested food moves too fast, before the intestines can absorb water, resulting in loose stools. Fiber’s ability to absorb water helps make stools more solid. And by slowing transit time, fiber gives the large intestines a chance to absorb additional water. Fiber also helps bulk up the contents of the large intestines, binding indigestible food together.
“Having something left at the end of digestion and absorption turns out to be necessary to form a normal stool,” says Slavin, a leading expert on fiber and digestion.
Types of Fiber: Insoluble and Soluble Fiber
Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrates found mostly in plants. Recent research reveals that there are many forms of fiber, each with a unique effect on nutrition and health. Two important categories are soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber partly dissolves in water, creating a gel-like substance that helps lower cholesterol. Sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley, rye, dried beans, oranges, and apples.
Insoluble fiber remains more intact as it passes through the digestive system. That makes insoluble fiber especially helpful in preventing or easing constipation. Insoluble fiber may also help with weight loss, by making meals seem more filling without adding calories. Sources of insoluble fiber include wheat, brown rice, celery, carrots, nuts, and seeds.
Foods can contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Fiber can also be distinguished on the basis of its source. Research suggests that cereal fibers have an edge in aiding digestion, as well as proving beneficial in protecting against coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
“Cereal grains are typically higher in total fiber than fruits and vegetables, so that may explain why they stand out in research studies,” Slavin says. Cereal fiber comes from oats, wheat, barley, and other grains.
Mix and Match Fibers
Certain sources of fiber may be especially helpful for treating particular conditions. If your goal is to lower blood cholesterol levels, for instance, Slavin recommends helping yourself to lots of oats, barley, and beans, which are rich in soluble fiber. To boost levels of the friendly bacteria that inhabit the intestines and help digest food, she recommends wheat, onions, artichokes, and chicory. These foods are loaded with fructo-oligosaccharides, components in some forms of fiber that encourage the growth of these helpful bacteria.
Before we start worrying about which fibers to choose, most of us would do well to choose any form of fiber. Surveys show that the average American consumes only half the fiber needed for optimal health, including a healthy digestive system. Experts agree, the best way to keep digestion on track is to increase consumption of fiber in all its many forms. Eat a varied diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Fiber | The Nutrition Source
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
Children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health, but most Americans get only about 15 grams a day. Great sources are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
Fiber comes in two varieties, both beneficial to health:
- Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries.
- Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers include wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Some tips for increasing fiber intake:
- Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
- Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
- For breakfast, choose cereals that have a whole grain as their first ingredient.
- Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars.
- Substitute beans or legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.
Fiber and disease
Fiber appears to reduce the risk of developing various conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease, and constipation. Despite these benefits, fiber probably has little, if any, effect on colon cancer risk.
High intake of dietary fiber has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease in a number of large studies that followed people for many years. (16) In a Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals, researchers found that a high total dietary fiber intake was linked to a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. (17) A related Harvard study of female nurses produced quite similar findings. (18)
Higher fiber intake has also been linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, a combination of factors that increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. These factors include high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess weight (especially around the abdomen), high levels of triglycerides, and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Several studies suggest that higher intake of fiber may offer protective benefits from this syndrome. (19,20)
Type 2 diabetes
Diets low in fiber and high in foods that cause sudden increases in blood sugar may increase the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes. Both Harvard studies—of female nurses and of male health professionals—found that this type of diet more than doubled the risk of type 2 diabetes when compared to a diet high in cereal fiber and low in high-glycemic-index foods. (21-23) A diet high in cereal fiber was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Other studies, such as the Black Women’s Health Study (24) and the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition–Potsdam, have shown similar results.
Read about what you can do to help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Diverticulitis, an inflammation of the intestine, is one of the most common age-related disorders of the colon in Western society. Among male health professionals in a long-term follow-up study, eating dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, was associated with about a 40 percent lower risk of diverticular disease. (25)
Fiber and constipation
Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States, and consumption of fiber seems to relieve and prevent constipation.
The fiber in wheat bran and oat bran is considered more effective than fiber from fruits and vegetables. Experts recommend increasing fiber intake gradually rather than suddenly, and because fiber absorbs water, beverage intake should be increased as fiber intake increases.
Studies have largely failed to show a link between fiber and colon cancer. One of these—a Harvard study that followed over 80,000 female nurses for 16 years—found that dietary fiber was not strongly associated with a reduced risk for either colon cancer or polyps (a precursor to colon cancer). (26)
Following the Scientific Trail: The Story on Fiber and Colon Cancer
Because science is such a dynamic process, you can never exactly tell where it is going to lead you. Conclusions that once seemed logical and fairly solid may be revised—or completely overturned—as more and better research is done on a particular topic. One example of this is the relationship between fiber and colon cancer.
Starting about 30 years ago, a high fiber intake was regularly recommended as one way to lower the risk for colon cancer. This recommendation was largely based on observations that countries with a high fiber intake tended to have rates of colon cancer lower than the rates found in countries with a low fiber intake.
But such descriptive studies don’t provide the most definitive information. While they are often good points to start a scientific journey, they only take a broad look at large groups of people. Descriptive studies generally can’t address all of the factors that might account for differences in rates of disease. Fiber intake could indeed have something to do with the differences in colon cancer rates, but those differences could also involve many other things that differ between countries, including other diet or lifestyle factors.
When studies that can take such things into account on an individual level began to look at the issue of fiber and colon cancer, the picture became much less clear. A number of case-control studies found that a high fiber intake was linked to a lower risk of colon cancer, but many did not. Given these wavering results—and because case-control studies are not an optimal way to assess food intake, relying as they do on participants’ recollections of what they ate in the past—more research using better methods was needed. In the meantime, many health professionals still regularly recommended a high fiber intake for people trying to lower their risk of colon cancer.
Not until the results of cohort studies came out did this recommendation begin to lose its backing. Because cohort studies observe a group of people over time, their findings are generally stronger than those of case-control studies, especially when it comes to something like diet and colon cancer. What most of these cohort studies found was that fiber intake had very little, if any, link with colon cancer.
Such findings were further bolstered by the results of randomized trials—types of studies that many consider the gold-standard of research. These studies took a group of people and randomly assigned individuals to one of two groups. One group was put on a high fiber diet, while the other group followed a lower fiber diet. After 3 to 4 years, the two groups were compared and no difference was found in rates of colon polyps—noncancerous growths that can turn into cancer. Of course, colon polyps are not cancer, but since it’s thought that all colon cancers start as polyps, it is strong evidence that fiber intake has no direct link with colon cancer.
In this case, the path of discovery led from widespread belief in a clear link between fiber and colon cancer to acceptance of the likelihood that there was no strong link between the two. As such, it’s an excellent example of how research can often develop. What may start as a clear connection based on findings from broad, descriptive studies can slowly unravel as more and better-quality research unveils the true nature of a relationship. However, keep in mind that a weak relationship is difficult to exclude altogether. Further studies might yet demonstrate a weak effect of fiber on colon cancer, although such a finding wouldn’t alter the conclusion that other means must be sought to prevent colon cancer.
A large-scale 2016 study (27) led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health showed findings that higher fiber intake reduces breast cancer risk, suggesting that fiber intake during adolescence and early adulthood may be particularly important.
- Women who eat more high-fiber foods during adolescence and young adulthood, including vegetables and fruit, may have significantly lower breast cancer risk than those who eat less dietary fiber when young.
16. Pereira MA, O’Reilly E, Augustsson K, et al. Dietary fiber and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of cohort studies. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:370-6.
17. Rimm EB, Ascherio A, Giovannucci E, Spiegelman D, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. Vegetable, fruit, and cereal fiber intake and risk of coronary heart disease among men. JAMA. 1996;275:447-51.
18. Brown L, Rosner B, Willett WW, Sacks FM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69:30-42.
19. McKeown NM, Meigs JB, Liu S, Wilson PW, Jacques PF. Whole-grain intake is favorably associated with metabolic risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the Framingham Offspring Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76:390-8.
20. McKeown NM, Meigs JB, Liu S, Saltzman E, Wilson PW, Jacques PF. Carbohydrate nutrition, insulin resistance, and the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:538-46.
21. Fung TT, Hu FB, Pereira MA, et al. Whole-grain intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective study in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76:535-40.
22. Liu S, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, et al. A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:1455-61.
23. Schulze MB, Liu S, Rimm EB, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and dietary fiber intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:348-56.
24. Krishnan S, Rosenberg L, Singer M, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and cereal fiber intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in US black women. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:2304-9.
25. Aldoori WH, Giovannucci EL, Rockett HR, Sampson L, Rimm EB, Willett WC. A prospective study of dietary fiber types and symptomatic diverticular disease in men. J Nutr. 1998;128:714-9.
26. Fuchs CS, Giovannucci EL, Colditz GA, et al. Dietary fiber and the risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma in women. N Engl J Med. 1999;340:169-76.
27. Farvid MS, Eliassen AH, Cho E, Liao X, Chen WY, Willett WC. Dietary fiber intake in young adults and breast cancer risk. Pediatrics 2016: 137(3).
The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.
What Is Fiber, and Why Is It Vital for Digestive Health?: A Path to Natural Health: Naturopathic Doctors
So far in this series on digestive health, we’ve looked at the following topics:
- The Basics of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- The Low-FODMAP Diet and Its Role In Treating IBS
- What is the Gut Biome and How Does It Affect Our Health?
Today’s topic in this series is FIBER. You’ve probably heard that fiber is important for digestion. For example, most doctors will tell you a high-fiber diet is necessary to prevent constipation. Yet, when some people increase their fiber intake, they can actually get MORE constipated, or they can experience stomach pain, bloating, or even diarrhea.
It seems baffling: if fiber is good for our digestion, how can it cause digestive problems? The truth is that fiber is a more complicated subject than most people realize. That’s why in this article, we’ll be looking at what fiber is, what it does, the different types of fiber, and how to eat the right type of fiber, so you can keep your digestive system healthy and reap all the wonderful benefits fiber offers.
What Is Fiber?
Fiber (also known as roughage or bulk) is the indigestible part of plants. It is different from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, which are broken down by the body and absorbed into our blood stream. Instead, fiber passes through the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and out of the body in almost the same form it took when you ate it.
What Are the Different Types of Fiber?
Fiber is classified into two categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, taking on a gooey, gel-like consistency. Insoluble fiber absorbs water, and helps add bulk in the intestines. Most plant-based foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
12 Amazing Health Benefits of Fiber
Both kinds of fiber work together to keep the digestive system healthy and to help prevent disease. While soluble and insoluble fiber each play a specific role in your digestive health, there is some overlap in the benefits they provide. Here’s just a short list of some of the impressive things fiber can do for you:
- Maintain regular bowel function – The bulking properties of insoluble fiber, and the gelatinous quality of soluble fiber, make it easier for stool to travel through the colon. This helps reduce the likelihood of constipation. Insoluble fiber also helps reduce diarrhea by holding onto water in the gut.
- Keep your “gut biome” healthy (see my previous article about the gut biome) – Bacteria in our gut feast on the fiber that comes from our diet. Fiber nourishes them and helps them to flourish so they can aid us in digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Prevent diverticulosis and diverticulitis – Diverticulosis is when the wall of your colon becomes stretched out. Over time, diverticulosis can develop into a more serious (and extremely painful) condition called diverticulitis. Consuming fiber on a regular basis helps keep the colon muscles toned, making them less likely to stretch out.
- Lower “bad” cholesterol – In its gel-like form, soluble fiber can bind to LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and help eliminate it from your body.
- Stabilize blood sugar – Fiber helps slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, thus keeping glucose levels from going too high.
- Prevent type-2 diabetes – By reducing LDL cholesterol and helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels, fiber reduces your risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
- Lower high blood pressure – According to a 2005 report published in the Journal of Hypertension, multiple studies have indicated that adding fiber to the diet can help lower high blood pressure.1
- Lower the risk of developing hemorrhoids – As constipation is a common cause of hemorrhoids, a high-fiber diet helps prevent them from developing.
- Reduce inflammation – Bad (or “pathogenic”) bacteria can lead to inflammation and diseases of the colon. Fiber helps keep good bacteria healthy and reduces the damage caused by bad bacteria.
- Help you maintain healthy weight – Fiber-rich foods are bulky, making us feel fuller faster. They also make us feel fuller longer because they take longer to digest than other foods. This combination can help keep us from overeating or snacking between meals. Fiber-rich foods also tend to be lower in calories than fats or proteins.
- Help with detoxification – Some toxins can enter our bodies via our food or environment. Others (such as excess hormones) can develop as byproducts of metabolism. Fiber binds to these toxins and helps our digestive system eliminate them from our bodies, so we are less likely to suffer their harmful effects.
- Lower the risk of developing colon cancer – Chronic constipation can lead to the development of polyps in the colon, which is one of the risk factors for developing colon cancer. As it helps prevent constipation, adequate dietary fiber lowers the risk of polyps from developing.
Is There Such a Thing as the WRONG Kind of Fiber?
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that rather than feeling better when they increase their fiber intake, some people can actually feel worse. This unfortunate experience most frequently occurs in patients who struggle with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Let me explain how this can happen.
Most varieties of soluble fiber can become fermented by gut bacteria. We call these fermentable foods “FODMAPs”. People with IBS or SIBO are especially sensitive to fermentation in the gut, which will create gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. Other people suffer from an overgrowth of yeast in the large intestine. As yeast thrives on fermented substances in the intestines, consuming soluble fiber is likely to make them feel much worse.
Thus, if you have any of these conditions, it’s NOT a good idea to increase your intake of fibers classed as “FODMAPs” until you have addressed the underlying problem and your digestive issues have stabilized. You can find a list of high- and low-FODMAP foods in my previous article “The Low-FODMAP Diet and Its Role In Treating IBS”.
Once you’ve reestablished the correct micro-ecology in your gut, you should be able to resume a diet containing all varieties of healthy fiber.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat a Day?
While the optimum amount of fiber you need per day will depend upon your individual health, a basic guideline for your minimum daily requirement is:
Men Age 50 or younger: 38 grams
Men Age 51 or older: 30 grams
Women Age 50 or younger: 25 grams
Women Age 51 or younger: 21 grams
Which Foods Are High in Fiber?
Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including (but not limited to):
- Legumes: split peas and lentils
- Beans: lima, navy, soy, black, chickpeas, kidney
- Grains: oats, rye, and barley
- Fruits: figs, avocados, plums, prunes, berries, ripe bananas, and the skin of apples and pears
- Vegetables: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokes
- Root vegetables and tubers: sweet potatoes and onions
- Nuts: almonds, peanuts, soy nuts
- Seeds: flax, chia, sunflower
- Psyllium seed husks
Sources of insoluble fiber include (but are not limited to) the following. You’ll notice that many foods contain BOTH soluble and insoluble fiber:
- Whole grain foods (unrefined)
- Bran: wheat and corn
- Legumes: beans and peas
- Nuts and seeds (all kinds)
- Potato skins
- Lignans: found abundantly in flaxseeds, as well as in sesame seeds, berries, and other foods)
- Vegetables: green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, celery
- Fruits: avocado, unripe bananas, grape skins, tomato skins
NOTE: Refined grains have had their outer shells removed and are lower in fiber. Sometimes the outer part of the grain (the “bran”) is added back into foods to increase their fiber content (oat bran is one example). Processed foods, canned fruits and vegetables, and pulp-free juice are also lower in fiber.
Top 15 High-Fiber Foods
To get an idea of what should be a part of your diet to ensure you are getting enough fiber, here’s a list of my top 15 favorites, plus suggested portion sizes:
- Raspberries: 1 cup = 8 gm.
- Strawberries: 1 cup = 3.0 gm.
- Apple: 1 medium with skin = 4.4 gm.
- Pear: 1 medium with skin = 5.5 gm.
- Lentils: 1 cup = 15.6 gm.
- Black beans: 1 cup = 15 gm.
- Almonds: 1 oz. (23 nuts with skin) = 3.5 gm.
- Peas: 1 cup = 8.8 gm.
- Broccoli: 1 cup = 5.1 gm.
- Oatmeal: 3.5 ounces = 10 gm.
- Barley (pearled): 1 cup = 6.0 gm.
- Whole wheat spaghetti: 1 cup = 6.3 gm.
- Bran flakes: ¾ cup = 5.5 gm.
- Chia seeds: 1 TB = 5 gm.
- Popcorn: 3 cups = 3.6 gm.
Should I Take a Fiber Supplement?
Most people get enough fiber through their normal diet. But if you feel you need an extra boost, I recommend adding ground flax or chia seeds to smoothies or protein shakes. Their soluble properties also help add bulk to the mixture, so you feel satiated for longer.
If your lifestyle causes you to fall short of your targeted dietary fiber requirements, you could add a fiber supplement to your daily diet. For example, people who travel for work often have erratic dietary habits, and may be prone to bouts of constipation. Taking a fiber supplement can help keep them regular when on the road.
There are so many “fiber boosting” products on the market: powders, drinks, fiber bars, and fiber cereals. Insulin or chicory root are common ingredients in such products. Which product to choose is really a matter of convenience, taste, and ingredients (especially if you have food allergies or sensitivities).
IMPORTANT: Some people (even those without IBS or SIBO) will complain of gas and intestinal discomfort after eating foods with added fiber, especially if they are unaccustomed to it. Start with a small serving, and gradually work your way up over a period of a few weeks, until your body adjusts to the change. It is also important to drink more water when you increase your fiber to help it move more easily through your system, and to unlock many of its health properties.
If you still experience digestive distress from fiber after a few weeks, you may need to be evaluated for SIOB, and discuss going on a low-FODMAP diet, with your practitioner.
As we’ve explored in this article, a diet rich in plant-based fiber keeps our digestive tract healthy, decreases our cholesterol, stabilizes our blood sugar, decreases our risk of colon cancer, and helps us maintain a healthy weight – to name just a few benefits. Unfortunately, the standard America diet tends to be low in fiber and high in processed refined foods, putting many people at risk of disease and overall poor health. That’s why I hope this article has inspired (and informed) you to include adequate fiber in your daily diet.
If you or someone you know suffers with dietary or digestive problems, I invite you to drop me a line on the “contact us” page on this site and request a free initial consultation to discuss your needs. I treat patients locally at my practice in Issaquah, Washington, and worldwide via phone or Skype.
Next time, we’ll look at the role of the gallbladder and the important part it plays in our digestive health. I hope you’ll subscribe to this blog so you can receive that article and all future articles on A Path to Natural Health.
“Health is a journey we travel over our lifetime.
Learn everything you can to make your journey a happier one.”
Dietary Fibre – Gastrointestinal Society
What you need to know to maintain a healthy gut
What is Dietary Fibre?
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that we cannot digest. With other types of carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, our digestive system breaks them down into absorbable simple sugars, which our bodies use as energy. Fibre, on the other hand, passes through into the colon undigested, where it adds bulk to stool and, in some cases, becomes food for the beneficial bacteria colonizing the gut. The health benefits from fibre are numerous, but not enough people meet their daily fibre needs. Throughout this article, we will explain everything you need to know about fibre, including tips on how to add more of it into your diet.
Benefits of Fibre
- improves gut microbiome1
- reduces digestive symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea2
- helps regulate blood sugar3
- lowers cholesterol levels4
- reduces risk of diverticular disease5
- reduces risk of colorectal cancer6
- increases satiety of meals, leading to better weight control7
Recommended Daily Amounts of Dietary Fibre
The amount of fibre you need to consume in a day can vary largely depending on your sex, age, digestive health, and specific nutritional goals. While there is no official maximum intake for dietary fibre, eating too much, especially by drastically increasing your intake over a short period of time, can lead to unpleasant side effects, such as gas and bloating. To avoid these side effects, gradually increase the amount of fibre in your diet and be sure to consume plenty of fluids. If you have certain digestive diseases or troublesome symptoms, you might need to limit your fibre intake. See our section on a fibre restricted diet for more information.
This chart shows the approximate intake you should be aiming for, based on age and sex.2
Types of Dietary Fibre
We generally talk about fibre as if it is one specific thing, with a focus on reaching certain goals for total fibre intake. For many individuals this is adequate, as most types of fibre will generally benefit an otherwise healthy individual. However, there are actually many types of fibre, and some are more effective for relieving symptoms of specific digestive ailments. For practical purposes, we can sort these into two groups: soluble and insoluble fibre. Most plants contain a mix of the two fibre types, although some have higher concentrations of one or the other.
- whole grains (whole wheat products, oats, barley, popcorn, wild rice, etc.)
- legumes (beans, lentils, peas, edamame)
- nuts/seeds (chia seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc.)
- fruits (most varieties)
- vegetables (most varieties)
These are fibres that are soluble in water. The primary types of soluble fibre include pectins (veggies, fruits), gums (gum Arabic), mucilages (guar, carrageenan), and some hemicelluloses. These fibres are especially beneficial for individuals with diarrhea, as they help slow down transit time. Soluble fibre also helps delay glucose absorption and lowers blood cholesterol. Sources include:
- fruits (especially apples and citrus)
Unlike soluble fibre, insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. The main types of insoluble fibre include cellulose (primary material of plant cell walls), many hemicelluloses (cereal fibres), and lignins (non-polysaccharide). This is the best type of fibre for constipation, as it helps draw water into the stool to soften it and can help speed up transit time. It also increases fecal weight, which improves bowel movement consistency, and delays glucose absorption. Sources include:
- woody parts of vegetables
- small seeds (strawberries)
- wheat bran and corn bran
- whole grain breads and cereals
- vegetables (cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts)
While not actually a type of fibre, resistant starches behave similarly to fibre in the gut. Like fibre, resistant starches do not break down into sugar and are not absorbed via the small intestine. While they are technically starches, they make it through the digestive system intact and ferment in the large intestine. They can help feed beneficial gut bacteria and improve the balance of the microbiome.8 Sources include:
- starchy foods coated with seeds or germ (unprocessed whole grains, legumes such as soybean seeds, beans, lentils, and dried peas)
- naturally resistant starchy foods (uncooked potatoes, green banana flour, and high-amylose corn flour)
- retrograded starch, which occurs in starchy food that has been cooked and then cooled (potatoes or pasta cooked and cooled for a salad, sushi rice, etc. )
- starchy foods that manufacturers chemically modify so that they are resistant to digestion
If you want to give your fibre intake a boost, find room for some of these foods in your diet:
Tips to Add More Fibre to Any Meal
- replace white starches with whole grain versions
- fill up half your plate with vegetables
- eat your veggie peels (if they are safe to eat), since most of the fibre is often found there
- try using avocado instead of mayonnaise or cheese on a sandwich
- sprinkle nuts or seeds on your salad
- try a vegetarian meal with beans or lentils instead of meat
- opt for whole fruits/vegetables instead of juice
- add fresh, frozen, or dried fruit to yogurt, cereal, and oatmeal
- snack on veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole, air-popped popcorn, and fresh fruit
Fibrous foods tend to be high in many other nutrients and are often inexpensive, which is why it is generally ideal to increase the amount of fibre in your diet by changing what you eat. However, you can also increase your fibre intake by taking commercial supplements. You might find it simpler to just add a supplement instead of overhauling your diet, or perhaps you are already eating a decent amount of fibrous foods, but need a little help to reach your fibre goal. Fibre supplements also take the guesswork out of gradually increasing your fibre intake, since you can easily adjust the amount you take.
Types & Common Brands
There are many types of commercial fibre supplements available, and the exact types you can find will vary on your location. Some common products include:
- psyllium (Metamucil®), soluble and insoluble fibre
- inulin (Benefibre®), soluble fibre
- methylcellulose (Citrucel®), soluble fibre
How to Start
As with fibre from food sources, it is important to increase the dose gradually and drink plenty of fluids. Follow the recommendations on the product label or instructions from your doctor or dietitian for more details on how to use a specific product.
The Importance of Water
When you are trying to increase the amount of fibre you consume, it is important to also monitor your water intake. If you eat more fibre but don’t drink more water, your stools can become too dry, causing or worsening constipation. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to prevent this. If you have diarrhea, you might be tempted to drink less water to reduce the looseness of your stools. However, experiencing regular diarrhea puts you at risk of dehydration. If you are losing a lot of liquid through diarrhea, an electrolyte beverage might be more beneficial for you than plain water. See our Slow-it-Down Smoothie recipe below.
Does Fibre Help Digestive Illness?
Fibre is great for overall health, but is it really a viable treatment for those affected by GI illnesses? Here we review some of the areas where fibre is effective, as well as those where fibre just isn’t enough. Always remember to consult your healthcare team before changing your treatment plan.
Constipation & Hemorrhoids
Fibre is generally considered the first-line approach for treating constipation as well as hemorrhoids that result from constipation. For many who are constipated, consuming more insoluble fibre and plenty of water is enough to relieve symptoms. It’s the simplest, safest, and often most effective treatment for this common symptom. However, sometimes fibre is not adequate for individuals with chronic constipation or constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, who might require a more intensive treatment plan.
Whether or not fibre is effective for treating diarrhea often depends on the cause. If you have diarrhea from an infection with a bacteria or parasite, severe diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, or you are experiencing a flare-up of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it is unlikely that fibre will be enough to slow things down. However, if you have mild diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, or experience occasional diarrhea without a known cause, increasing the amount of fibre, particularly soluble fibre, into your diet can often help reduce symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a chronic, often debilitating, functional gastrointestinal disorder with symptoms that include abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel behaviours, such as constipation and/or diarrhea, or alternating between the two. Fibre can be very effective for many individuals with IBS. For constipation-predominant IBS, focus on eating more insoluble fibre. For diarrhea-predominant IBS, focus on soluble fibre and avoid consuming too much insoluble fibre (particularly bran) as this might increase diarrhea. If you have mixed-type IBS, try increasing your fibre intake in general. But a warning to those with IBS, it is extra important to be cautious and patient when increasing your fibre intake. Don’t make sudden drastic changes to your diet, and ensure you drink plenty of fluids, because your gut might be extra sensitive to a sudden increase in fibre. However, a high-fibre diet isn’t ideal for everyone with IBS. If your symptoms are mild to moderate, fibre can often be a great treatment. If your IBS is severe, fibre might make your symptoms worse. Speak with your healthcare team before making changes to your IBS treatment plan.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease is a term that primarily refers to two diseases of the intestines: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both diseases involve inflammation in the digestive tract, although the location and extent of inflammation are different. IBD symptoms, which include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, anemia, and weight loss, can be severe and greatly affect quality of life. When individuals with IBD are doing well, eating enough fibre can help keep things working in the digestive system. Above and beyond the standard regulation of bowel movements, fibre might help those with IBD by encouraging favourable changes in the gut microbiota. Research shows that eating more fibre can help modify the balance of gut bacteria by increasing the beneficial strains and decreasing the harmful ones in some individuals with IBD. 9 However, during a flare-up, those with IBD will likely need to go on a fibre-restricted diet to give their bowel time to heal.
In diverticular disease, small sac-like out-pouchings of the colon lining (diverticula) bulge through the outer colon wall. Some studies show that individuals who eat diets higher in fibre are less likely to develop diverticular disease.4 However, if you have diverticular disease and experience a flare-up (diverticulitis), then you might also need to avoid fibre to give your bowel time to heal.
While fibre is generally great for your digestive and overall health, there are some cases where you need to limit the amount of fibre in your diet. Your physician might recommend that you follow a fibre-restricted diet if you are having a flare-up of a digestive illness, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticular disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, or if you are recovering from a surgery in the digestive tract. In these cases, a fibre-restricted diet can help lower the amount of work for the digestive system so that it can heal and reduce symptoms caused by high fecal volume passing over irritated or inflamed digestive tissues. To maintain a fibre-restricted diet, you will need to reduce the quantity of foods high in fibre in your diet and fill up on foods that are low in fibre.
Food That Has No Fibre/Very Little Fibre
As fibre is a plant-based carbohydrate, animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, contain no fibre naturally. However, manufacturers might fortify certain products, such as some yogurts, with fibre. In addition, some heavily processed plant foods, such as white flour, are very low in fibre, and some, such as sugar and oil, contain no fibre at all. Foods low in fibre include:
- meat (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, etc.)
- fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp, oysters, crab, etc.)
- dairy (milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, etc. )
- milk alternatives (soymilk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc.)
- sweeteners (white and brown sugar, honey, syrups, artificial sweeteners, etc.)
- oils and fats (butter, ghee, lard, olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, etc.)
- fruit and vegetable juice without pulp
- white bread, white pasta, white rice
- cereals and baked goods made with white flour
- liquid meal replacements (Ensure®, Boost®, etc.)
Tips for Fibre-Restricted Diets
- avoid fruit and vegetable peels, as these often contain high amounts of fibre
- make sure to cook vegetables well, as this makes them easier to tolerate
- choose canned fruits and vegetables over fresh
- eat white bread or white rice instead of the whole grain versions
- choose versions of foods that don’t have chunks (e.g., yogurt without fruit added, juice without pulp, jelly instead of jam, yellow mustard instead of Dijon, etc.)
- opt for meat, eggs, or tofu instead of beans for protein
- avoid other foods that can irritate the digestive system, such as spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine (coffee and tea)
- you might also need to avoid dairy, if you are sensitive
- read food labels to find out the fibre content if you aren’t sure how much they contain
- contact a registered dietitian for tips on getting the nutrition you need while avoiding many foods
If diarrhea is a problem for you, this smoothie can help slow down your digestion and lead to bowel movements that are better formed. It is also a good source of potassium and magnesium, important nutrients that diarrhea can deplete.
- 1 cup of water or milk (nut, oat, dairy, soy depending on your tolerance)
- 1 cup of frozen bananas
- Honey (or sweetener of choice) to taste
- Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
This spread is great on a whole wheat English muffin or scone as an alternative to jam. Use it sparingly at first, to see how your digestive tract reacts.
- ½ cup pitted prunes
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup pitted dates
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ⅓ cup prune juice
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- pinch of clove
- blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth
- refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze for longer periods
Effects Of High-Fiber Diet On Gut Health; Plus 4 Best Foods For Digestion
Every time we eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we’re feeding ourselves and the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live on or inside of us. They form our gut microbiome, which performs a variety of functions like breaking down food the body can’t digest. Many factors affect our microbiome, including our diet, which is one of the leading influences on gut health.
In TED-Ed’s video, “How the food you eat affects your gut,” host Shilpa Ravella explains we can manipulate the balance of our microbes, and promote good digestive health, by paying attention to what we eat. Dietary fiber from foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains is considered the best fuel for gut bacteria. Fiber produces short chain fatty acids that nourish the gut barrier, improve immune function, and help prevent inflammation, which reduces the risk of cancer. Therefore, the more fiber we digest, the more fiber-digesting bacteria colonizes in our gut.
Read More: Gut Bacteria May Influence How The Mind Works, Affecting Mood And Behavior
A low-fiber diet, mainly comprised of processed foods, means there’s less fuel for gut bacteria, which means they will starve until they die. This leads to less bacterial diversity, and prompts hungry bacteria to start to feed on the mucus lining. For example, foods high in dietary fat, including whole milk and sugar-sweetened sodas, are linked to decreased bacterial diversity.
Paying attention to how we prepare food can help introduce our gut to good bacteria, also known as probiotics. Fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kombucha are filled with probiotic bacteria, like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. They promote good bacteria and healthy digestion by “predigesting” certain food components to make it easier for our gut to handle, and for nutrients to be absorbed when we eat them.
More research is needed to understand how any of these foods interact with our microbiomes. However, it’s difficult to make observations inside the gut. Therefore, we need to fill up on fiber, fresh, and fermented foods, to keep our gut going strong.
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How Fiber is Digested by the Body – Video & Lesson Transcript
Digestion of Fiber
Many types of soluble fiber can act as prebiotics, a food fiber that grows in plants that feed healthy bacteria. Onions, garlic and bananas are examples of where prebiotic soluble fiber can be found. Soluble fiber passes through the small intestine relatively unchanged until it reaches the colon, or large intestine, which is the part of your digestive system responsible for absorbing water from indigestible parts of food. It is here where fermentation of fiber occurs. Fermentation is the action of bacteria on prebiotic fiber, producing gases and short-chain fatty acids.
When the friendly bacteria called probiotics, bacteria that keeps disease-promoting microorganisms from infecting your colon, ferments or digests the probiotic fiber, it produces many nutrients that help keep your colon healthy. The products of the fermentation stimulate your bowels, retain water in your stool and bulk up your stool. Insoluble fiber passes through the colon relatively unchanged and helps bulk your stool.
Benefits of Fiber
Fiber has many health benefits. The main function of fiber is to keep your digestive system healthy and working properly. Fibers that are fermented, or prebiotics, provide energy for the cells in your colon, promote the growth of good bacteria and help with regularity, insulin sensitivity and keeping your immune system healthy. Besides aiding digestion, soluble fiber is associated with improving blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar, and lowering LDL cholesterol levels by absorbing the cholesterol, preventing it from entering your bloodstream.
Insoluble fiber helps improve your bowel movements and prevents constipation by softening and increasing the weight and size of your stool, making it easier to pass. A diet high in these types of fiber may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and some types of cancer. In addition, foods high in fiber can make you feel fuller longer so that you are less likely to overeat.
In summary, the main function of fiber is to keep your digestive system healthy and working properly. Even though enzymes in your small intestines cannot digest dietary fiber, fermentable fiber, also called prebiotics, is fiber that is resistant to digestion in your small intestines but is broken down partially or completely by bacteria in the colon, or large intestine, which is the part of your digestive system responsible for absorbing water from indigestible parts of food.
Fermentation is the action of friendly bacteria called probiotics on prebiotic fiber. When the friendly bacteria ferment or digest the prebiotic fiber, a food fiber that grows in plants that feed healthy bacteria, it produces gases, short-chain fatty acids and many nutrients that help keep your colon healthy.
Following this video lesson, you should be able to:
- Identify the main function of fiber and the two types of fiber
- Describe the role of prebiotics and probiotics in digesting fiber
- Explain what fermentation is and its benefits in the body
90,000 What is fiber for and how is it useful for dieting? – 4fresh blog
For some, it is important to strengthen their health in order to live a long and energetic life. Someone is chasing eternal youth, and without health it will not work to remain beautiful for a long time. For some, this is just a fashion trend.
In fact, the reasons why you decide to take this road are not that important. The important thing is exactly how your path will lie.
Everyone knows that the main pillars of health are proper nutrition, correct daily regimen and physical activity.For some, vegetarianism, Ayurveda and yoga will become such pillars, for some, the Mediterranean diet, an active life position and jogging in the morning: how many people, so many opinions. But still, even with such a variety, there are postulates that any specialist will agree with.
One of these truths is the beneficial effects of fiber on our health. We are sure that many of you have already heard about its incredible benefits and, perhaps, even tried to eat a couple of spoons of pure fiber.Let’s talk today about how exactly it affects our health and well-being, how to use fiber for weight loss and how you can make it tasty.
What is fiber and why is it needed?
Let’s start with the basics. The basis of our health is undoubtedly a healthy gastrointestinal tract. We can say that our digestive tract is, in fact, our second heart, so its good condition affects the health and functionality of our entire body as a whole. It’s like in a car – it is important not only what kind of fuel we feed it, but also how this fuel is processed.
Renowned nutritionist Nadya Andreeva, author of Happy Tummy: A Guide for Women on How to Always Feel Lively, Light and Balanced, says:
We are not the food we eat, but the food we digest, absorb, and the toxins we eliminate. And all this becomes impossible without a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
So what does fiber have to do with it, you ask? Why does the body need fiber? Fiber is the go-to for gut health. A well-functioning intestine is the key to our overall health. This is the guarantee of our energy and vigor, excellent health, lightness, youth and beauty.
Fiber is the dietary fiber found in plant foods.
The trick is that it has no energy value, there are no secret useful elements, vitamins and minerals in it.It’s just that fiber is an indigestible and indigestible product, and this is its main magical property.
The health benefits of fiber
Fiber can be conditionally divided into soluble and insoluble. Each of these two types has a beneficial effect on our tummy. Insoluble fiber acts as a panicle in our intestines. It is not digested by digestive enzymes (which mainly act in the small intestine, stomach and mouth) and therefore passes freely through the entire gastrointestinal tract.
What are the health benefits of fiber?
- Helps cleanse the entire gastrointestinal tract;
- Helps to remove all toxins, pollution and even parasites from the intestines;
- Absorbs and removes irritants;
- Contributes to the normalization of intestinal motility;
- Helps relieve constipation;
- Eliminates bloating;
- Regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber can be found in our favorite bran, brown rice, seeds, lentils, peas, whole grains, and nuts.
90,000 benefits and harms to the human body: composition, useful properties
Published: 04/19/2020 Reading time: 6 minutes 2468
When it comes to a balanced and proper diet, fiber is not enough. She is credited with sometimes “miraculous”, then, on the contrary, negative properties.It is not surprising that any person who monitors their health and especially what they eat, it is important to know about the benefits and dangers of fiber.
Useful properties of fiber
Fiber (or dietary fiber, ballast substances) refers to complex carbohydrates that can be soluble: when combined with water in the digestive system, they form a gel-like substance. And insoluble ones remain practically unchanged in the process of digestion and can change their structure only slightly under the influence of representatives of beneficial microflora.But both types of fiber play an important role in maintaining the health of the digestive tract and overall well-being. Depending on the type of fiber (cellulose, pectin, dextrin, lignin, etc.) can have a variety of effects.
- Normalizes intestinal motility . Fiber, passing through the intestinal lumen, absorbs water and increases in volume. Acting on the intestinal wall, it gently stimulates peristalsis;
- Promotes the elimination of toxins .Fiber can be compared to a sponge, which absorbs various substances and removes them from the body. In addition, dietary fiber is able to bind toxic compounds, thus depriving them of the ability to enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
- Facilitates weight loss . With little or no significant energy value, fiber helps trick the stomach by filling it up and causing satiety and preventing overeating.
- Takes care of the health of the heart and blood vessels . Insoluble, or coarse, fiber helps prevent toxins from entering the bloodstream. And soluble, or soft, – reduces the rate of absorption of fats through the intestinal wall and thus helps to protect blood vessels from atherosclerosis.
WHO recommends the consumption of at least 400 g of fresh vegetables and fruits or dishes from them. Regular intake of fiber can significantly reduce the risks of developing diabetes, atherosclerosis and other serious diseases *.
- Supports normal intestinal microflora . Fiber, being essentially a complex carbohydrate, becomes a breeding ground for microorganisms that colonize the intestine and help it perform its functions. Therefore, dietary fiber is often indispensable for maintaining normal intestinal microflora and for its recovery after any disease.
Myths about the dangers of fiber
The benefits of fiber for the body have been said above, but what about its harm? The negative properties sometimes attributed to dietary fiber are nothing more than a distortion of information.And some of these misconceptions should be considered in detail.
Harm of cellulose in diseases of the digestive tract . For example, in chronic inflammatory bowel disease, a ban on dietary fiber is often cited. They supposedly injure the already damaged mucous membrane. But this applies only to coarse fiber, which more actively enhances intestinal peristalsis, and this restriction is valid only during periods of exacerbation. And soft (or soluble) dietary fiber (pectins, gum, etc.)) must be included in the diet.
Fiber Addiction . Another misconception sometimes attributed to dietary fiber is its addictive nature. And supposedly, when fiber is canceled, digestive problems develop that cannot be eliminated without “returning” dietary fiber to the diet. The thing is that fibers come from food and help saturate the body with energy, building materials and vitamins, and when fiber appears in the stomach, gastric juice is absorbed faster, which usually contributes to saturation from a small portion.In addition, bifidobacteria in the intestines also feed on fibers. In the absence of fiber, the microflora can be disrupted. Accordingly, it is worth returning fiber to the menu, as digestion, as a rule, is gradually restored.
Good sources of fiber
Among the natural sources of dietary fiber, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and whole grains are considered good. Such products should constitute the bulk of the diet – this allows you to cover the body’s needs both for dietary fiber and for valuable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, flavonoids, etc.But there are a few things to consider when developing a healthy diet.
- Coarse and soft fiber. Cereals in casings, all types of cabbage, legumes, bran are sources of coarse, insoluble fiber. Such foods can increase gas production in the intestines, especially if dietary fiber is not very frequent “guests” in your menu. And apples, citrus fruits, carrots, oatmeal, potatoes are sources of soft, soluble fiber.
- Fiber preservation.The largest amount of dietary fiber is found in the shells of cereals, the pulp of vegetables and fruits, as well as in their skins. Therefore, if you prefer refined wheat cereals (semolina, wheat) and clarified fruit juices, this does not mean that you are consuming enough fiber. After all, although the basis for cereals and juices (cereals and fruits) contains dietary fiber, the removal of shells from the grain and filtration of the juice deprive the finished dish of a significant part of the fiber. In such cases, functional food additives should be considered as an additional source of ballast.
- Balance of dietary fiber. Depending on the type – soluble or insoluble – fiber has different functions. Therefore, it should be included in the menu in a ratio of 50: 50. Half of the dietary fiber should be coarse, and half – soft fiber.
How to take fiber
- Daily rate of fiber. In the diet of a healthy person, it is 25–35 g, or 10–15 g / 1000 kcal.But if it is easier to calculate the need for dietary fiber, then it is much more difficult to estimate their amount in the menu.
- Proportions. For simplicity, you can focus on the total amount of food: at least 2/5 should be represented by vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, whole grain cereals in various combinations. This means that replacing 2/5 of the day’s menu with only apples or only cereals is wrong. That’s right – to make these 2/5 as diverse as possible: only in this way the body will receive the bulk of the nutrients.
- Additional sources. If nutritional control is impossible or difficult for any reason, you can take fiber in the form of special dietary supplements. Let’s look at examples of products from Herbalife Nutrition.
- Herbalife Nutrition’s “Dietary Fiber Complex”. One serving of dietary fiber contains 3 g of soluble dietary fiber – 150% of adequate intake *. The natural taste of the complex will allow you to combine it with a variety of products.
- Oat Apple Drink from Herbalife Nutrition. One serving of this product contains 17% of the daily fiber requirement, which helps support the natural functions of the digestive system and contributes to the maintenance of normal intestinal microflora. The drink can be prepared as a light breakfast, which will prepare the digestive system for a full meal, and the pleasant apple taste will be a great start to a new day. The method of preparing a drink is very simple: you need to take 1 tablespoon without a top (this is 1 serving) and add to 200 ml of water or other liquid, stir, and breakfast is ready.You can also add Formula 1 cocktail and aloe-based drink to the “Oat-apple drink”. Soluble Dietary Fiber and Aloe is a blend that helps maintain normal gut health and promote weight loss. The Formula 1 protein shake contains protein, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins to help replenish the amount of nutrients the body needs. As a result of the use of this “trio”, the feeling of fullness comes faster, which can allow you to control weight, prevent overeating and improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
Do I need to contact a specialist
A Herbalife Nutrition consultant can guide you through fiber intake and help you create a balanced diet plan for optimal results. Therefore, yes, in such cases it is worth consulting with a specialist.
It is important to understand that no matter how beneficial dietary fiber is, it will not replace the rest of the nutrients a person needs.Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a balance of the diet as a whole, controlling the presence in it of the correct ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and other biologically valuable substances.
- * https: //www.who.int/ru/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
- https: // cyberleninka.ru / article / n / lechebnoe-pitanie-pri-nespetsificheskom-yazvennom-kolite-i-bolezni-krona-u-detey
* Does not exceed the upper permissible level of consumption
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How to improve digestion / Normalize bowel function
“With each passing year, watching a hamster in a wheel is getting sadder and sadder” – folk wisdom.Here I agree with an unknown author, over time, fun gives way to understanding. Getting up in the morning, shower, road, work, lunch, work, road, sofa, dinner, sleep – a looped reality that takes a lot of energy. There is no energy left for normal food consumption. Not surprisingly, the digestive system is disrupted soon.
In order to put it in order it is not at all necessary to carve out extra time. At the initial stage of the problem, it is enough to introduce into the habit of consuming the right amount of fiber or, as it is now fashionable to say, “dietary fiber”.These are the coarsest parts of plants, which are very difficult for our gastrointestinal tract to break down.
Human norm of fiber per day 25-30 gr. The average citizen of the country uses only half of the required amount. Let’s take a look at what foods you need to add to your diet to get your daily fiber intake and how they can help improve digestion.
Normalize bowel function
Note: A diet that contains adequate amounts of dietary fiber leads to better health.Specifically, this diet:
- lowers blood sugar;
- helps relieve constipation;
- lowers cholesterol levels;
- normalizes weight;
- reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Bran, Cereals, Whole Grain Bread
These are some of the most affordable products you can buy in a regular supermarket. Whole grain bread is made from wholemeal flour, which retains vitamins, minerals and fiber.Rye bread is recommended for many diets as it is low in calories and improves digestion.
Meanwhile, oatmeal in the morning has become a source of English jokes for a reason. It is one of the largest suppliers of dietary fiber. Its consumption covers half the daily value of the necessary fiber. One plate of porridge is the key to well-being for the whole day.
How to improve digestion – legumes
No less popular character in jokes, but with a more negative connotation.Many people are afraid to eat legumes because it leads to bloating and gas. However, such processes say only one thing – the gastrointestinal tract has finally begun to cleanse and return to normal.
Of course, you should not load the body with legumes from the first day: introduce them into the diet gradually increasing to one cup a day. Lentils, for example, are the leader among legumes. One cup of lentils contains up to 15 grams of dietary fiber. And it also contains a large amount of iron and zinc.
They are used in several variations: seeds, oil, powder. Flaxseed oil is popular as a preventive measure for constipation. Flax seeds are chewed on an empty stomach. One tablespoon contains about 3 grams of fiber. Once in the body, they secrete mucus, which envelops the walls of the stomach and intestines, thereby preventing the absorption of toxins. Flaxseeds or products from them are used for inflammatory processes in the intestines, ulcers, gastritis. They work like a soft broom, helping to remove undigested food.And they also help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Dried apricots, raisins, prunes and other dried fruits
These products have a lot of positive aspects: full of fiber, vitamins, no need to cook, sweet. What else do you need for a tastier and lighter diet? Just knowing that the favorite among dried fruits is prunes. It helps to cleanse the body, as it has a mild laxative effect. Nutritionists recommend soaking it in warm water for 40 minutes before use.Half a glass of prunes contains up to 4 grams of dietary fiber.
It is good to alternate the reception of dried fruits: figs, dried apricots, prunes, raisins, dates. Or make a vitamin mixture. Take equal parts of each type of dried fruit, grind in a meat grinder, you can add a little honey, refrigerate. Take such a mixture in the morning in the amount of 1 tbsp.
Nuts to improve digestion
I’ll start right away with the disadvantages for those who are trying to get rid of extra pounds – nuts are high in calories.However, they are very useful for our body, as they contain unsaturated fats and fiber. They not only contribute to the normalization of the food system, but also normalize the hormonal background. It is best to use nuts for snacks along with dried fruits.
One pear contains about 5 g of fiber, which is not digested by the stomach. And this is good, because when it enters the intestines, it gently helps to cleanse the body. Pear is good for people with pancreatic problems.Because the fructose in this fruit does not require insulin for its absorption. The only thing is that those who have inflammatory processes in the stomach of pears are not recommended.
How to Improve Digestion with Vegetables
Most vegetables are high in fiber. For example, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, beets, carrots. But, the largest amount of dietary fiber contains leafy greens. The beneficial properties of spinach are advertised to us from all useful sites.But many did not know about the leaves of beets and turnips. They contain up to 5 grams of fiber, beta-carotene and iron.
Where to buy quality products?
The entire list of foods that answer the question of how to improve digestion is easy to purchase in most cities and include in your diet. And if I have no questions about the quality of cereals, herbs and bread. Then you have to choose dried fruits and nuts with great care. Since they must have certain storage conditions, packaging and a quality certificate.
Therefore, it is worth turning your attention to those who follow the food more carefully. German stores are responsible for the quality of their products and care for the health of their customers. For example, nuts, dried fruits, cereals – have special packaging and meet the expiration dates indicated on the boxes.
Go to dm or Rossmann for healthy fiber-rich foods. And also, so that these and 150 other German online shops are always at your fingertips – install our browser extension for purchases KatCart .The installation will be available after registration on the portal. Happy shopping and good luck.
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MOSCOW, March 17 – RIA Novosti.A healthy intestine is the key to strong immunity, good mood, high productivity and a healthy complexion. Inflammation, disturbances of peristalsis, polyposis, helminthiasis and various other disorders of the gastrointestinal tract interfere with the adequate functioning of this organ. In the presence of any problems in the condition of the intestine, the absorption of many nutrients is also impaired, which leads to deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. In addition, the gut microbiome is responsible for the synthesis of some of the vitamins, such as the B group, as well as the production of serotonin, the hormone of joy.Protecting your gut and keeping it healthy can be done with the right foods. Moreover, all types of cabbage are suitable, including Chinese cabbage, spinach, celery, arugula, plantain, dandelion leaves and root, Swiss chard; they are all excellent prebiotics. The prebiotic is the “food” for the friendly gut microbiota. It is thanks to her that we get immunity, well-being and energy. In addition, greens are high in vitamin C and chlorophyll, powerful antioxidants, and other valuable nutrients.Coarse fiber contributes to the active work of intestinal motility, protecting against constipation, cleansing the intestines and ridding the body of excess cholesterol. Legumes and grains Brown, wild and red rice, buckwheat, quinoa, pearl barley and millet, as well as lentils, beans, chickpeas, flax seeds, chia and sesame seeds will fill the body with minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. The more foods in the diet that contain soluble and insoluble (coarse fiber), the better the intestines will feel. Water Fluid is extremely important for the normal functioning of the intestine, but it is important to control its amount when eating a lot of fat and fiber.It is necessary that the coarse fibers of insoluble fiber absorb water. Swollen, they can easily slide along the walls of the intestine, clearing it of the residues of metabolic products. Another important property of water is its ability to give elasticity to tissues. It is no secret that the human body is 80 percent water, so, without water, body tissues dry out and become tough. Adequate hydration allows the intestinal walls to stretch and contract easily, protecting it from damage.However, it is important to understand that tea, coffee, juices and carbonated drinks not only do not provide us with water, but, on the contrary, provoke even more dehydration. Only pure drinking water has beneficial properties, maximum – with the addition of mint leaves, fresh berries or a slice of lemon. Fermented foods It is necessary to fill your menu with foods rich in probiotics – microorganisms that maintain a healthy balance of microbiota in the intestines. These products include all fermented and fermented foods: sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, miso soup, tempeh, barrel cucumbers, kombucha and others.Fermented foods increase the balance of friendly bacteria in the microbiota, which helps suppress the growth of pathogens.
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nutrition, health, intestines
MOSCOW, 17 March – RIA Novosti, Daria Mikhailova. A healthy intestine is the key to strong immunity, good mood, high productivity and a healthy complexion. Inflammation, disturbances of peristalsis, polyposis, helminthiasis and various other disorders of the gastrointestinal tract interfere with the adequate functioning of this organ.
In the presence of any problems in the condition of the intestine, the absorption of many nutrients is also impaired, which leads to deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.In addition, the gut microbiome is responsible for the synthesis of some of the vitamins, such as the B group, as well as the production of serotonin, the hormone of joy.
Protect and keep your gut healthy by eating the right foods.
The first item among the foods that are good for the intestines is greens. Moreover, all types of cabbage are suitable, including Chinese cabbage, spinach, celery, arugula, plantain, dandelion leaves and root, Swiss chard; they are all excellent prebiotics.
The prebiotic is the “food” for the friendly gut microbiota. It is thanks to her that we get immunity, well-being and energy. In addition, greens are high in vitamin C and chlorophyll, powerful antioxidants, and other valuable nutrients.
Coarse fiber promotes the active work of intestinal motility, protecting against constipation, cleansing the intestines and ridding the body of excess cholesterol.
11 March, 17: 50ZOZH An endocrinologist told how to restore the gastric mucosa
Legumes and grains
Brown, wild and red rice, buckwheat, quinoa, pearl barley and millet, as well as lentils, beans, chickpeas, flax seeds, chia and sesame seeds will fill the body with minerals, amino acids, and vitamins.The more foods in the diet that contain soluble and insoluble (coarse fiber), the better the intestines will feel.
Fluid is essential for normal bowel function, but it is important to control the amount when consuming a lot of fat and fiber. It is necessary that the coarse fibers of insoluble fiber absorb water. Having swollen, they can easily slide along the walls of the intestine, clearing it of the remnants of metabolic products.
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Another important property of water is its ability to give elasticity to tissues. It is no secret that the human body is 80 percent water, so, without water, body tissues dry out and become tough. Adequate hydration allows the intestinal walls to stretch and contract easily, protecting it from damage.
However, it is important to understand that tea, coffee, juices and carbonated drinks not only do not provide us with water, but, on the contrary, provoke even more dehydration.Only pure drinking water has beneficial properties, maximum – with the addition of mint leaves, fresh berries or a slice of lemon.
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It is necessary to fill your menu with foods rich in probiotics – microorganisms that maintain a healthy balance of microbiota in the intestines. These products include all fermented and fermented foods: sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, miso soup, tempeh, barrel cucumbers, kombucha and others.
Fermented foods increase the balance of friendly bacteria in the microbiota, which helps suppress the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
March 17, 11:25 a.m. HEADACHE: causes and how to get rid of 90,000 7 products, where it is the most
There is a lot of fiber in vegetables, fruits and cereals
Foods high in fiber help fight obesity, normalize blood sugar and cholesterol levels, that is, bring a lot of health benefits.
Why do you need fiber
There is a lot of fiber in vegetables, fruits, cereals. It helps to lose weight, avoid diabetes, heart disease, lower cholesterol, control sugar, and prevent cancer.
Fiber is composed of soluble fiber, which absorbs nutrients, water, fluids, fats, and insoluble fiber, which aids in proper digestion by cleansing the gastrointestinal tract.
Benefits of Fiber for Weight Loss:
acts as a natural appetite suppressant;
increases metabolic rate for fast weight loss;
reduces the level of bad cholesterol;
reduces the likelihood and risk of heart disease;
prevents various types of cancer;
helps with constipation;
regulates blood sugar levels;
provides moisture to the intestines, facilitating the movement of waste;
controls the pH level in the gastrointestinal tract.
TOP 7 foods with the most fiber:
Oatmeal. Half a cup of oatmeal provides over 7 grams of fiber, which meets approximately 25% of the daily fiber requirement. Oatmeal helps regulate blood sugar levels and improves heart health.
Chia Seeds. This superfood contains the amino acids needed to build muscle.The optimal daily dose is about 28 grams. In addition to fiber, chia seeds are full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Just add a spoonful of these seeds to a smoothie or oatmeal bowl.
Almonds. Several handfuls of these nuts increase your fiber intake, providing protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin and magnesium. Eating almonds every day will reduce your cravings for midday snacks, which is good for weight loss.
Avocado .In addition to fiber, this fruit is full of potassium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. A cup of avocado contains about 9.8 grams of fiber!
Raspberry. This berry will perfectly meet your fiber needs thanks to the seeds that tend to get stuck in your teeth. The daily portion is about 1 glass.
Flax Seeds. Seeds are an excellent source of fiber and are rich in precious omega-3 fatty acids.A tablespoon of flax seeds can provide up to 3 grams of fiber with just 55 calories.
Fig. Simply chop some fresh figs into oatmeal or add them to honey and almond yogurt for a healthy fiber-rich fat-burning meal.
Earlier, “Kubanskie Novosti” told what products will normalize sugar and protect the heart from coronavirus.
90,000 Benefits of Fiber in Cat Food
High fiber cat food has become a staple food for animals with gastrointestinal problems because fiber is essential in their diet.
Fiber helps improve digestion and stool quality in cats prone to digestive upset. Foods high in dietary fiber can be beneficial for constipation, diarrhea, diabetes, and even obesity.
Microbiome and fiber in cat food
Microbiome refers to billions of microorganisms – bacteria, protozoa, fungi, viruses that live in the body of cats, as well as dogs, humans and other living things. This includes the unique gut microbiome in the cat’s digestive system.This ecosystem of living organisms is fundamental to digestion.
Bacteria in the colon of pets help break down indigestible substances and produce compounds that support digestive and general health, such as vitamins. The last of these functions is especially evident in the breakdown of fiber. Bacteria often interact with fiber in a process called fermentation.
Even though furry pets are carnivores, fiber-rich cat food is good for your cat’s health.
Classification of fiber in cat food
Fiber is generally classified as soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in gastric juice and other fluids, turning into a gel, from which gastrointestinal bacteria can ultimately receive energy.
Soluble fiber ferments quickly. This type of fiber breakdown products can support colon cells. The soluble fiber in cat food helps to moisturize the stool and speeds up digestion.For this reason, veterinarians often recommend fiber-based food for cats for constipation.
Insoluble fiber also has its benefits. This bulky substance, called slow-fermenting fiber, slows down the movement of foods through the intestines. Veterinarians recommend insoluble fiber foods for cats for a variety of reasons. In some cases, this may be preceded by too soft stools or inflammatory bowel disease affecting the colon.
Prebiotics in cat food with fiber
Cat food containing fiber usually contains a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. Some of these ingredients are also referred to as prebiotics. It is usually a fermentable fiber that promotes the growth of the “good bacteria” that live in the intestines.
Certain high-fiber cat foods help with gastrointestinal problems precisely because they saturate these bacterial colonies and promote the ideal bacterial balance in cats that lack fiber.Many diseases of the digestive system, including chronic diarrhea, colitis and constipation, can cause or result from bacterial imbalances.
Other Benefits of High Fiber Cat Food
High fiber food can be beneficial for diabetic cats. This is because some fiber slows down the absorption of nutrients, allowing the sugar from starches to be absorbed more sustainably. This leads to the stabilization of blood sugar levels.
Overweight cats may benefit from a high fiber diet. It provides a greater feeling of fullness compared to conventional foods, and weight loss can help manage and prevent many diseases.
Cat food with fiber may help pets with gastrointestinal problems affecting the colon. When fiber is broken down, molecules called long-chain fatty acids are formed.It can help the cat’s colon to perform basic functions.
Is dry food with fiber for cats natural (in terms of their nature)
When cats are on their own, they eat a lot of different things that humans find unnatural for them. These can be wool, bones, cartilage, feathers, fish scales and the contents of the stomachs of their prey. It’s unpleasant, but natural. Some of them are absorbed only to a certain extent, while others may contain fiber, but still be beneficial for digestion.
While scientists still have a lot to learn about feline nutrition, they are beginning to understand that fiber can actually benefit carnivorous cats. A study on cheetah eating habits, published in the Journal of Animal Science, found that animals that ate whole prey – including fur, stomach contents, and more – had a more favorable fecal profile than cheetahs that ate only meat. This led researchers to believe that additional roughage is beneficial for carnivores.
Role of low fiber cat food
Your veterinarian may recommend a low fiber cat food. This food is suitable for pets in which the small intestine is more susceptible to inflammation than the large intestine, for example, cats with certain inflammatory diseases of this organ. These pets need an easily digestible food consisting of simpler molecules that will not overload the intestines.
When choosing food for your cat, you should always consult your veterinarian.If your pet is prescribed a high-fiber food, your doctor should be sure to monitor your cat’s reactions to dietary fiber.
Dr. Patty Cooley
Dr. Patty Cooley graduated cum laude from Wellesley College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She is currently the proud owner of Sunset Animal Clinic in Miami, Florida. But that’s not all. Dr. K.a know-it-all, an avid knitter, an ardent fan of yoga and music, and a tireless foodie who struggles to get himself to run in the morning. She lives in South Miami with three dogs, countless cats, two rescued goats and a rowdy flock of chickens.
You can follow her articles on DrPattyKhuly.com and SunsetVets.com.
Soluble and insoluble fiber is useful in what – Dr. Komarovsky’s advice – Healthy lifestyle and health
Evgeny Komarovsky explained that fiber is necessary for everyone for digestion.What foods are rich in fiber and how much to eat daily – in the material
Normal digestion is impossible without fiber in the diet / Photo: Today
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, bran, cereals, that is, all plant products contain fiber. Normal digestion is impossible without this carbohydrate food, which means that fiber depends on how easily your child goes to the toilet in a big way.What kind of fiber is, how much of it is needed – these and other questions were answered by a pediatrician of the highest category Evgeny Komarovsky on his YouTube channel.
And in our summer calendar of life hacks, we have collected 10 ideas that will make your summer unforgettable.
Why do doctors advise to eat more fruits and vegetables?
Fruits, vegetables and other plant products contain plant dietary fiber, that is, fiber.There is no fiber in meat, fish, poultry. Fiber, in turn, is divided into soluble and insoluble: both types are important for normal human digestion, both adults and children.
Since only plant foods are rich in fiber, the recommendations to eat more vegetables and fruits are quite reasonable.
So, vegetable cellulose, it is also a polysaccharide, getting into the stomach, is included in the digestion process. Digestible fiber helps to form a gel in the intestines that regulates the absorption of fluids, adsorbs poisons, slows down the absorption of sugars from other foods, and most importantly, helps the growth of bacteria that are necessary for our body that inhabit the intestines.
Fiber: which foods contain and how it helps the body
Indigestible fiber, getting into our stomachs with food, reaches the intestines in a crushed but not digested form. Because there are no enzymes in the body that could digest this type of fiber.
Isn’t it dangerous when a child goes to the toilet with undigested food?
If this is fiber, then it is thanks to it that your child can calmly cope with great needs.Parents, especially mothers, have repeatedly seen pieces of undigested vegetables in the child’s feces. But the function of this type of fiber is precisely to form feces. The denser the vegetable, the more fiber it contains. They don’t get better from dietary fiber, so everyone who wants to lose weight, Dr. Komarovsky recommended studying the topic of fiber.
How much fiber do adults and children need per day?
An adult should eat about 30 grams of fiber a day, a child about 15 grams. If this figure seems small to you, then for example, one medium potato contains about 7 grams of fiber, and you need 30.It is this amount of fiber that should be adhered to in the diet so that there is no constipation.
Dr. Komarovsky advises giving children unpeeled fruits and vegetables / Photo: unsplash.com
Parents often ask if their baby needs to peel vegetables or fruits. If the child already knows how to chew, then it is not necessary, since the bulk of dietary fiber is contained in the peel. Therefore, give children whole fruits. Regarding bran and other such fiber-rich foods, Yevgeny Komarovsky recommends taking them only if there is a specific problem – obesity or indigestion, and also as an additional aid for constipation.
Recall that earlier we wrote what to do if the child does not eat well.
Editor of the “Great” project
I have been working in media since 2008. In my professional baggage there are not only thousands of articles on medical topics, interviews with doctors, pharmaceutical businessmen and opinion leaders in the direction of healthy lifestyle. But also personal medical experience: I will painlessly put on a drip or measure pressure.Created content for the sites “Zdorovinfo”, “IT MED” and others.