Spring and summer is the time when we get rid of our warm winter clothes and start thinking about losing excess kilos before the vacations. Dietary fiber can help us achieve and maintain healthy body weight as it makes us feel full for longer. In addition, it shows a number of other pro-health activities that are worth keeping in mind.
Dietary fiber is an ingredient that should be included in a slimming diet. It makes the feeling of satiety stay with us for longer, so we do not feel like snacking or reaching for unhealthy foods. Its source is primarily whole-grain cereal products, fresh vegetables, fruit, pits, and seeds, as well as nuts. Therefore, it is worth including these types of products in the spring and summer menus.
Dietary fiber includes a number of compounds found in plant cell walls. Because of its structure and properties, it is divided into soluble and insoluble fibers. This is one of the most commonly used divisions. Apart from this, it is possible to use differentiation according to the fermentability and the formation of gels.
The soluble fiber includes compounds such as resistant starch, pectins, beta-glucans, plant mucilages, and some hemicelluloses. It is partially broken down by the “good bacteria” in our intestines. In the course of these changes, short-chain fatty acids (acetic, butyric, propionic) are created – they have a beneficial effect on the intestinal microflora. In addition, soluble fiber has the ability to form viscous substances that resemble a gel, and thus have a protective effect on the mucosa of the digestive system. The health-promoting properties of soluble fiber include, for example:
The insoluble fiber includes compounds such as cellulose, lignins, some hemicelluloses, and pectins. Unlike soluble fiber, it is not digested at all. Therefore, it exhibits the following properties:
In addition, an adequate amount of non-soluble fiber in the diet reduces the risk of diseases such as colorectal cancer, intestinal diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids. The sources of insoluble fiber are black currants and green peas. We can also find it in wholemeal bread, brown rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, and bran.
Foods rich in dietary fiber include, first of all, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. Below are some foods that are worth paying special attention to when composing a fiber-rich spring diet.
They are low in calories (100 g of fruit provides only 33 kcal), and at the same time, they are rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and increases the absorption of non-haem iron. That is why it is worth combining strawberries with products rich in this mineral. You can, for example, prepare a salad with spinach and strawberries or a kale smoothie with the addition of these very healthy fruits.
Spinach contains only 22 kcal per 100 g. Moreover, it is a good source of dietary fiber, as well as non-haem iron and folate. It works well as an addition to salads, homemade vegetable pastes, or pesto. It can also be combined with fruit to prepare a healthy smoothie, e.g. based on spinach, bananas, or strawberries.
Young beet leaves
Young beet leaves are worth paying attention to when composing a spring and summer slimming diet. The edible part is both its leaves and stems, which can be used, for example, to prepare soups and salads. Young beet leave is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, iron, and also potassium.
The asparagus season is very short, so make the most of it. Green asparagus is a source of dietary fiber, as well as folates, vitamins K and C. Therefore, it helps to maintain healthy body weight and supports the functioning of the immune system and the heart, increases the absorption of non-haem iron, and has a beneficial effect on the blood coagulation process.
Dietary fiber is an ingredient that helps to achieve and maintain healthy body weight. However, it should not be forgotten that it has other valuable properties – it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, has a positive effect on blood glucose, and lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol. Therefore, it is worth ensuring that products with a high fiber content are present in our menu not only in spring and summer, but also throughout the year.
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