Most of you are already aware that dietary fiber is extremely important for the body and that regular consumption of fiber prevents many diseases. But, what few know is that there are different types of fibers, such as soluble and insoluble fibers, and that there is a difference in action and physiological effect between them. So let me explain that to you!
Dietary fiber is a component different from other nutrients, because it is not digested by digestive enzymes and absorbed in the small intestine in humans.
What are Soluble Fibers?
Soluble fiber is fiber that in contact with water forms a viscous gel. It is highly fermentable and is responsible for increasing the viscosity of the intestinal contents (viscous gel formation).
The soluble fibers play a major role in the absorption of nutrients, in the prevention and control of chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, obesity), in the prevention of several types of cancer, in the decrease of the glycemic load in a meal, and in the decrease of cholesterol. Types of soluble fibers are: pectins, gums, beta glucans, mucilages, and some hemicelluloses. Great sources of soluble fibers are whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts.
We can say that it is a great leader for health!!! Let’s see more of what it does:
- Delayed gastric emptying.
- Delayed glucose absorption.
- Decrease in cholesterol levels because it promotes the excretion of bile salts.
- Increased satiety.
- Increases the production of SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids, such as buritic, acetic, propionic) by fermentation of colonic bacteria in the colon.
- Great protection against bowel cancer.
Common sources of soluble fibers:
- Fruit peels, like pear and apple
- guar gum
What are Insoluble Fibers?
The Insoluble Fibers are those that contribute significantly to the acceleration of intestinal transit. They are slightly fermentable, increase the fecal cake, the softness of the stool, and the frequency of bowel movements.
The functions of the insoluble fibers are:
- Increase of the faecal bolus.
- Stimulation of peristalsis and good intestinal functioning.
- Prevention of constipation.
- Reduction of the risk of hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and intestinal cancer.
- Insoluble fibers are present in: vegetables, wheat bran, whole cereals, flaxseed, legumes, fruits with peel.
Common sources of insoluble fibers:
- Whole-wheat flour
- Wheat bran
- Green beans
- Brown Rice
How do I incorporate fiber into Functional Baking?
Today the recommendation for the consumption of Total Dietary Fiber is 25g to 31g for adults. For the elderly, the amount of total dietary fiber varies from 21g to 30g, and for children aged 1 to 8 years it varies between 19g to 25g, depending on age. (DRIs Recommendations, 2005). See here for fiber content in foods.
So my dear friends, let’s try to eat lots of fiber-rich foods because their importance to the body is immeasurable! If there is one thing that is good for health… and for aesthetics… It is fiber!
To add soluble fiber into your baking, replace some or all flour with oat flour, incorporate with different kinds of fruit, beans and veggies,…
To add insoluble fiber into your baking, replace some or white flours with wholegrain flours, use nuts and nut flours, use fruits and fruit peels in your baking, sweeten your cakes with dates or other dry or fresh fruits, decorate your cakes with fruits or/and nuts, add seeds into your recipes.
Some examples are:
- Flaxseed cake with apple
- Whole carrot cake
- Banana cake
- Cocoa cake with oat flour
- Zucchini or sweet potato brownies
There are countless possibilities for fiber-rich cake recipes. And with functional baking, you can make sure you and your loved ones obtain enough fiber intake to maintain good physical conditions!
I hope this blog post helps you see desserts with new eyes! The possibilities you have to turn your desserts into healthy foods are immense and fiber is just one of them.
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Have a sweet and healthy week,