What is fibre?
In contrast to other nutritional components (e.g. fats, proteins or carbohydrates), fibre can't be digested and absorbed. It is this resilience that explains why fibre has such a positive effect on our health. A useful tip: fibre, also known as dietary fibre, is found almost exclusively in plant-based foods.
Water-soluble vs. water-insoluble fibre
There are two kinds of dietary fibre: water-soluble fibre, such as pectin, which is mainly obtained through fruit and vegetables, and water-insoluble fibre, which is contained in wholemeal products. Both aid digestion. By contrast, industrially processed products such as white bread, white rice or pasta contain hardly any fibre at all. The same applies to fruit and vegetable juices available in supermarkets. And there is no fibre at all in animal products, sugar and oil.
Fibre-rich foods are of great help
Foods rich in fibre must be chewed thoroughly and swell up in the stomach, making you feel satisfied for longer. This has a positive impact on the body’s blood sugar levels as they tend not to rise so sharply. Fibre also binds harmful substances in the body. It is, so to speak, the cleaning machine in the gut, and ensures a healthy intestinal flora.
Healthy dietary fibre reduces the risk of numerous diseases, such as obesity, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. But why is fibre so good for our personal well-being?
Fibre can do so much more
aids the intestinal flora
lowers blood fat and cholesterol levels
reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
protects against caries through increased saliva production
prevents calcification of the arteries
Eating fibre throughout the day
The Swiss Society for Nutrition (SGE) recommends at least 30g of fibre per day for adults. How to integrate more fibre into your daily eating plan:
Breakfast with plenty of fibre
Start the day with muesli and fresh fruit. Cereals in your muesli with «wholegrain», «bran» or «fibre» in their name are recommended. Berries, apples or bananas are ideal fruits.
The best way to satisfy those small hunger pangs between meals is with fruit, nuts, dried fruit or vegetable sticks.
For lunch, meals with a large portion of vegetables or salad are advised. Alternatives for white rice or pasta are wild rice, barley, wholemeal pasta and bulgur wheat. The added fibre prevents you from feeling hungry in the afternoon.
Fibre in your dinner
Rye or wholegrain bread is an ideal source of fibre here.
Be patient when you change your diet
Switching too quickly to a diet rich in fibre can cause flatulence and stomach ache. It is therefore advisable to chew well, drink plenty, and raise your fibre intake in gradual steps over several weeks. This allows the natural bacteria of the digestive system to adapt to the change.