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The Importance of Whole Grains and Dietary Fibre

Cereals are the most important source of dietary fibre in the Nordic diet. The fibre in cereals is located mainly in the outer layers of the kernel, particularly in the bran. Rye is of special importance in contributing dietary fibre, because it is generally consumed as whole grain products, and has a high dietary fibre content in the starchy endosperm.

Improved diet can help unlock the door to good health. People who lead a healthy lifestyle also pay attention to their nutritional habits. Good nutrition means adequately nourishing the body by choosing a variety of foods low in fat, salt and sugar and high in carbohydrates, especially starch and dietary fibre. Mortality is significantly lower in people consuming whole grain products (Andersson et al. 2000, Slavin 2003).

In today's world people are increasingly aware of what they eat. As the level of education and the overall well-being of people increase, public awareness of the relationship between diet and health also grows. Knowledge of the nutritional content of foods increases among ordinary people. This leads to improved attitudes towards healthier eating habits. It can be expected that in the future people will make food choices based on what is beneficial for their health and well-being.

Whole grains are universally recommended as an integral part of the diet. Whole grains are an important source of nutrients that are in short supply in our diet, including digestible carbohydrates, dietary fibre, resistant starch, trace minerals, certain vitamins, and other compounds of interest in disease prevention, including phytoestrogens and antioxidants (Slavin 2004).

Physiological Effects of the Dietary Fibre Complex

Significance Mechanism of Action Potential Health Effect
Teeth Requires more chewing.
Increases the secretion of saliva.
Protects against dental caries.
Keeps gums healthy.
Stomach Increases the secretion of saliva and gastric juice.
Decreases the rate of evacuation of stomach contents into small intestine >> prolongs the feeling of satiety.
Enhances satiety >> prevents overeating and weight gain
Digestive tract Shortens intestinal transit time.
Dilutes harmful substances.
Beneficial for the bacterial population in the large intestine.
Interrupts the enterohepatic circulation of estrogens, reducing estrogen levels
Prevents constipation.
Decreases risk of breast and colon cancer.
Alters bile acid metabolism in the gut in a favorable way.
Cardiovascular system Inhibits the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
Increases the release of bile acids into the intestine
Influences the plasma triglyceride levels and blood clotting properties
Lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Decreases the risk of heart disease and gallstones.
Blood glucose Slows down the absorption of carbohydrates. Stabilizes blood glucose levels, especially in diabetic individuals.


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