Dietary fibre as an important constituent of the diet
The roles and effects of dietary fibre on human body and metabolism.
The intake of fibre in the diet of a child or an adult, through various foods (such as wholegrain foods, nuts, fruits and vegetables), plays an important role in reducing the risk and lowering the incidence of numerous diseases. The interest of researchers and consumers in the role of diet in the prevention or treatment of many illnesses, and maintaining the general and oral health, has been growing lately. The aim of our study was to underline the role of dietary fibre through its effects on many aspects of the human body and metabolism. Evidence has been found that dietary fibre from whole foods or supplements may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving serum lipids and reducing serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations in adults and children. Increased fibre content decreases the glycemic index of foods, which leads to a significant improvement in glycemic response. High fibre intake is associated with reduced risk of colorectal and breast cancer. In contemporary
children, the reluctance to chew raw, hard plant foods may result in a risk of malocclusion and a lack of tooth wear, which cause the need for orthodontic intervention. Fibre consumption is associated with high nutritional value and antioxidant status of the diet, enhancing the effects on human health.
From a public point of view, the recommendation to consume adequate amounts of dietary fibre from a variety of plant foods and wholegrain is very important. Health benefits from consuming dietary fibre must be actively communicated. Nutritional education can provide health benefits for both individuals and communities. For a typical consumer, information about calories, fat and sodium is more important than fibre content. Some people feel confused choosing food products: less than 50% of diabetic patients in the USA correctly identified high fibre food, and less than 30% of Polish students indicated regular consumption of fruit and vegetables as a factor preventing lifestyle diseases. There has been a noted increase in the interest of consumers, researchers and the food industry in the potential of food products in helping to maintain general health. The role of the diet in the prevention and treatment of many illnesses has become widely accepted. The potential of foods to promote health and improve well-being, and their role in reducing the risk of developing diseases, allow for the usage of terms such as functional or therapeutic foods.