Clinical Dietetics

Fibers and cardiology

Par Nicolas Aubineau - 4 minutes de lecture
fibers and cardiology

Fibers are plant substances that are not digested (or only partially) by human beings. They are found in vegetables (fresh and dried), fruits (fresh and dried), grains, and cereal products (the more whole they are, the less refined, the higher their fiber content!). In clinical dietetics, fibers have a real impact on certain pathologies.

What is the purpose of dietary fibers?

They form a mesh system or a gel system, regarding the type of fibre and they regulate many cardiovascular factors like overweight (and obesity) through its satiation effect, diabetes, the dyslipidemia (cholesterol, triglycerides), the gallstone risk… Scientists and their studies showed one again:

  • Soluble fibres (pectin) forming a gel when there is water, act into the regulation of the cholesterol and sugar absorption : they are mostly contained in fruits, vegetables, pulses, oat…
  • Insoluble fibres (cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin) are found in the whole cereals, the skin of edible fruits and vegetables. These fibres inflate by absorbing water up to 20 times their weight, enhancing the regulation of the intestinal transit.

Thank you industrial revolution

The food processing industry allowed the French to have « ready to use/eat » dishes with a minimum of effort (no cooking needed). It gained such an importance that we wonder today if some people really need to sit down at a table and use a fork and a knife to feed themselves! A « microwave, an oven and a pair of hands » to bring the food to the mouth : I refer, obviously, to the varied and diverse « junk food », always coming with its additives responsible of most of the current diseases. The larger the offer, the more people think they add variety to their alimentation whereas all of those meals are refined, nutritionally empty and polluted by created and/or chemically modified molecules (modified starch, hydrogenated fat, sweetener, colorant….)!

Fibred, important part of your health and intestinal flora!

The French only eat half of what is recommended per day (25 to 30g), which represents 15g of fibres. Regarding the catchphrase « 5 fruits and vegetables per day », it’s good but not enough because it refers to the quantity and not the quality. A tomato, half an onion, 3 leaves of salad, a kiwi and an apple in the day do not reach the needed amount of fibres.

Moreover, fibres have a prebiotic effect when they stimulate selectively the growth and/or the activity of intestinal flora good bacteria (called probiotics). They generally participate into the good health of our body.

Traditional cooking and basic food!

It’s very important to cook by yourself raw, natural, not industrially modified food, following simple cooking techniques (stewed, oven baked, papillotte….). Choose pulses (beans, split peas, coral or green lenses, red beans, black beans…) 1 to 2 times/week as a side for your main dishes, hot, cold, in a soup, a purée… Create, play with the aromatics (onion, garlic, shallots…), the spices (curry, curcuma, ginger…), be creative!

Brown rice, wild rice are allies of your intestinal balance, as much as the tumbleweed, corn, oat, kamut and spelt (the latter are wheat seeds unmodified regarding regular wheat)… Use these cereals as a side to your meat and fish. Their nutritional wealth is great and, if eaten every day with seasonal fruits and vegetables, they allow you to cover eventual lacks of vitamins, minerals and trace elements

My recommendations for a correct supply of fibres are simple, minimum per day:

  • 400g of fresh vegetables (when cooked, the water evaporates, the volume decreases, but the fibres stay!)
  • 150 to 200g of bread, made from whole or semi whole flour (but not white), which represents ¾ of a baguette
  • portion of whole cooked cerealds (200 to 300g)
  • 2 fruits from 150g to 200g (like an apple or an orange…)


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