What is fibre?
Dietary fibre is found almost exclusively in plant-based foods and, unlike other food components (e.g. fats, proteins or carbohydrates), cannot be digested and broken down. It is this resilience that's the reason why fibre has such a positive effect on our health.
These foods are particularly high in fibre:
- cereals and cereal products (wholemeal products, rye, spelt, wheat)
- vegetables and salad (cabbage, beetroot, carrots)
- pulses (peas, beans)
- fruit (apples, bananas, berries)
In general, a distinction is made between water-soluble dietary fibre, such as pectin, which is mainly absorbed through fruit and vegetables, and water-insoluble dietary fibre, which is contained in wholemeal products. 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 bought in supermarkets. And there is no fibre in animal products, sugar and oil at all.
Foods rich in fibre must be chewed thoroughly and they swell up in the stomach, which is why they make you feel satisfied for longer. This has a positive effect on your blood sugar level, since it doesn’t rise so quickly. Fibre also has the effect of binding 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!
- aid the intestinal flora
- lower blood fat and cholesterol levels
- reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- protect against caries through increased saliva production
- prevent 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. This is how to integrate more fibre into your daily eating plan:
Breakfast: 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.
For in-between: the best way to satisfy those small hunger pangs between meals is with fruit, nuts, dried fruit or vegetable sticks.
Lunch: 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.
Dinner: rye or wholegrain bread is an ideal source of fibre here.
Step by step
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.