Functional Foods and Dietary Fiber for a Longer Life

Dietary fiber is a necessary component for your body, so it’s important not to neglect its consumption. Ensure that you include dietary fiber in your diet to maintain your optimal health.

Last update: 18 March, 2019

Functional foods are processed for their nutritional characteristics and for fulfilling a specific function. These functions include improving health and reducing the risk of contracting diseases. This is thanks to their active components: minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber.

Functional foods

  • Dietary fiber: fiber is normally found mostly in fruit, cereals, legumes or vegetables.  Moreover, it’s a plant material that helps with digestion.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: are present in fish oils.
  • Prebiotics: stimulate the growth of certain beneficial bacteria naturally present in our intestines.
  • Probiotics: contain live bacteria that have effects on the intestine.

Benefits of dietary fiber:

  • Protects against cancer
  • Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Stimulates intestinal transit

Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Prevents cardiovascular diseases
  • Fights diseases such as breast cancer

Benefits of prebiotic functional foods:

  • May produce short-chain fatty acids in the intestine
  • Helps the digestive system to function
  • Prevents diseases, including cancer

Benefits of probiotic functional foods:

  • Helps to rehydrate the intestine
  • Provides natural antibiotics that seem to reduce diarrhea
  • Improves the body’s immune response

What is fiber and how can it improve your quality of life?

Fiber is a vegetable component that contains lignin and polysaccharides and its composition is highly resistant to the hydrolysis of human digestive enzymes.

Fiber can be divided into two types, soluble, which attracts water and makes digestion slower. In addition, this fiber reduces cholesterol and is found in barley, nuts, lentils, and even some fruits and vegetables.

On the other hand, insoluble fiber accelerates the passage of food in the stomach and intestines. This fiber is found in vegetables and whole grains.

Fiber benefits and functions

-If you want to control your weight, vegetable fiber will add volume to your diet and this will provoke a great feeling of satiety.

Fiber works closely with the intestinal flora. The bacteria that live in the intestine are responsible for processing some foods that are more complicated to digest. They absorb nutrients and form a complex ecosystem that is self-regulating and balanced.

This helps to give consistency to the feces and boosts the intestinal transit. It also reduces the absorption of cholesterol, glucose and bile acids.

  • If you consume fiber regularly, it can help prevent cardiovascular, infectious or respiratory diseases.
  • As we said before, fiber helps intestinal transit, keeping the intestine clean, healthy and preventing constipation and toxins that accumulate in your body.
  • It also helps to prevent obesity (as we explained earlier, functional foods with fiber are more satiating than those that don’t contain it).
  • Prevents diverticulosis. This is a disease that’s caused by excessive pressure on the intestinal walls.
  • Since fiber is fundamental in defecation and in maintaining the colon microflora, studies show that people who consume functional foods rich in fiber have less chance of developing colon cancer.

As we’ve seen, it’s very important to consume functional foods rich in fiber, since fiber has multiple health benefits. If you have intestinal problems, don’t forget to eat a piece of fruit at lunch or as a snack. Eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread and drink plenty of water. Don’t forget that when you eat foods rich in fiber it’s good to drink plenty of water so that the opposite effect doesn’t occur.

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