Fibre is a substance found in foodstuffs of plant origin, as well as in ingredients that are enriched with it. It is part of the carbohydrate family and gives you calories. Fibre circulates in your digestive system, aiding digestion, and is finally expelled together with other waste.
According to the AACC (American Association of Cereal Chemists), fibre can be defined as the edible part of a food or carbohydrate that withstands the process of digestion and absorption in the small intestine, to reach the colon intact and there ferment, either wholly or in part. Others define fibre as the part of foods of plant origin that is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine and reaches the colon where it is fermented by the bacterial microflora.
Where is it to be found?
The best fibre is found in fruit, vegetables, cereals (especially wholemeal), nuts and pulses. The plant-based foodstuff that contains the most fibre is wheat, oat and rice bran. Don’t forget that wholemeal cereals contain more fibre.
Many of the drinks we produce contain significant amounts of soluble fibre thanks to the raw materials used to make our products, i.e. cereals.
What types of fibre exist?
Soluble: This is so-called husk fibre, present in shells, flesh and leaves. It is found in vegetables, pulses, fruit, barley and oat bran: apples, oranges, mango, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, walnuts, pecan nuts, almonds, almost all pulses, barley and oat bran. It has a high water retention capacity, forms viscous solutions and is mostly fermented in the colon by the intestinal flora.
Insoluble: This is found in wheat bran, cereals and wholemeal bread, and also in pulses and in fibrous vegetables like celery. The less refined the product or ingredient, the more fibre it will contain. Apples, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, pears, broccoli, green peppers, spinach, red cauliflower, walnuts, sunflower seeds, nearly all pulses, wholemeal rice, wholemeal bread and wheat-based cereals. As its name suggests, it is only partly fermented. Its purpose is to reduce the transit time of foods through the digestive tract. It can therefore be stated that this type of fibre is the one that prevents constipation.
* Both of them are essential to the proper working of your body.
How much fibre should I consume?
It is recommended that you consume about 14 g of fibre for every 1,000 Kcal you ingest. The Institute of Medicine and the Spanish Federation of Nutrition, Food and Diet Societies (FESNAD) recommends consuming between 26 and 28 grams a day.