Various dietary fibers are broad categories of compounds, that all display health benefits to improve the digestive health of consumers. Not all dietary fibers are prebiotic dietary fibers. How do various fibers work to provide beneficial physiological effects?
- Beta-glucans from wheat, oats, rice and pectin from fruits & vegetables increase viscosity in small intestine thereby delaying absorption of nutrients including glucose - hence you do not get a blood sugar spike after a meal
-Increase in viscosity also decreases reabsorption of bile acids in small intestine thereby reducing level of cholesterol in blood
-Traditional known effect of fibers like cellulose and hemicellulose from various plant foods is their water-binding capacity which increases stool weight triggering contractions in large intestine resulting in lesser transition times and thereby helping you in keeping regular
-Certain fibre like inulin, FOS/GOS, resistant starch etc can change the gut microflora. The increase in microbial growth results in increase in fermentation products called short chain fatty acids (SCFs) which have immunity boosting effects. These SCFs decrease pH which have a number of benefits like inhibiting pathogens and bad bacteria in the large intestine. Lower pH also increases solubility of Calcium allowing its passive transportation in the body so greater absorption. We all know that calcium is a very important nutrient for bones. These SCFs also act as energy sources for intestinal epithelial cells which in turn helps in tight junction integrity which helps small intestine in inhibiting pathogens. These SCFs also keep the pro-inflammatory markers of the immune system in check.