The Role of Dietary Fibre in the Intestinal Transit
How does the Digestive System work?
The role played by the Digestive System is essential for our body to maintain its general well-being. It is basically because it provides our body the ability to absorb all the necessary nutrients. First, the food passes through the mouth, the esophagus, and the stomach until it reaches the small intestine, where the biggest amount of nutrients is absorbed.
The next step occurs in the large intestine (also known as the colon) where the water used during the digestive process and the rest of the nutrients are absorbed as well. Finally, the remaining waste material is stored as faeces before being removed.
The intestines are one of the most important organs of the human body and, as part of the digestive system, it is responsible for the digestion, absorption, and excretion. Also, throughout the intestines there is a lymphoid tissue associated with the intestinal mucosa, called the Gut Associated Lynfoid Tissue, where a high concentration of immune cells can be found, that protects our body against harmful microorganisms.
Reasons for the Intestinal Imbalance
Daily stress, some medicines (such as antibiotics and laxatives), unhealthy eating habits, a few diseases (like Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease) and lactose intolerance can compromise the good functioning of the intestines.
Adopting healthy habits, like having a balanced nutrition and avoiding to smoke, is a critical factor in order to get a good functioning of the intestines.
The food items that are the richest in fibre are:
- Fruit (apples, pears, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, oranges);
- Vegetables (brussels sprout, artichokes, onions, garlic, corn, green beans, broccoli);
- Legumes (lentils, chickpea, beans, peas);
- Whole grain products (wheat bran, oatmeal, whole wheat or mixed bread).
The Role of Dietary Fibre
Dietary fibres are extremely important for the general human health. The adequate consumption of these fibres contributes to regulating the intestinal transit [*1], helps prevent some diseases, and it's a good ally to weight-loss. Also, another study suggested that eating fibres could help prevent and control diabetes [*2] and decrease blood cholesterol levels, which is important to prevent heart disease.
The main benefits of dietary fibres:
- Regulate intestinal transit
- Treat and prevent constipation
- Promote greater satiety
- Help with weight loss
- Regulate glucose levels in the blood
- Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to wheat bran fibre and increase in faecal bulk (ID 3066), reduction in intestinal transit time (ID 828, 839, 3067, 4699) and contribution to the maintenance or achievement of a normal body weight (ID 829) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006
- Dietary fibre and incidence of type 2 diabetes in eight European countries: the EPIC-InterAct Study and a meta-analysis of prospective studies.