Hemicellulose is the collective name of the indigestible polysaccharides found in plant cell membranes. Consists of different monosaccharides, is a type of dietary fiber, which, depending on the circumstances, can be both soluble and insoluble, as well as more or less prone to fermentation.
Hemicellulose is a type of cellulose that is a key component of the cell membranes of all plants. Polysaccharides belong to this group of substances:
Together with cellulose and lignin, it is found in high concentration in many fruits and vegetables, but especially this substance is found in cereals. Fiber-rich cereal breakfasts contain from 2 to 12 percent of hemicellulose. In contrast to fiber, hemicellulose has better solubility. In particular, it reacts with alkaline solutions, as well as with mineral acids.
In the composition of plants, this substance plays a role, so to speak, of the framework. Straw, corn cobs, seed husks and wood are half hemicellulose.
For subsequent industrial use, this substance is extracted from plants using alkaline solutions or by extraction from holocellulose (a carbohydrate complex contained in wood after lignin is extracted from it).
Hemicellulose is, in fact, a polymer in a split form, and its fibers in their consistency resemble fruit pulp. Although this substance resembles cellulose in some measure, it is a completely different chemical compound.
Does the body need hemicellulose?
The answer to this question: definitely yes! Moreover, nutritionists even determined the daily intake of this substance.
The minimum body’s need for hemicellulose is from 5 to 25 g per day.
Although recently, these figures are revised upwards. And the new recommended dose is approximately 35 g substance. To get this portion of food will not be a problem for people in whose diet there is room for cereals.
But immediately a remark. The maximum daily rate of hemicellulose is calculated, coming out of the daily caloric menu in almost 2,5 thousands of kilocalories. The lower the energy value of the diet, the lower the daily dose of hemicellulose. And if you want to increase the daily portions of the substance, it should be done, as is the case with fiber, gradually, so as not to cause upset the digestive system.
When should increase daily allowance
But it is worth noting immediately that an increase in the daily rate of hemicellulose is not a requirement for all. Only under certain circumstances such a need arises.
During pregnancy, when, as a rule, the calorie content of the menu increases, it is worthwhile to proportionally increase the daily hemicellulose norms. It is also desirable to increase the intake of substances with indigestion, gastritis, flatulence, dysbiosis and pancreatitis. Like cellulose, hemicellulose is an effective way to fight excess weight. It is important not to forget about the regular consumption of foods rich in the substance, and in the presence of vascular diseases, as well as beriberi.
And further. Children and adolescents belong to that age group, which also requires a small increase in daily hemicellulose consumption. Approximately 10 additional grams of substance will help provide the growing body with everything you need. But people after 50 years, on the contrary, should think about less substance consumption. Also have to reduce the amount with an excess of fiber in the body.
How to understand that the body does not have enough hemicellulose
There are no pronounced symptoms characteristic exclusively for the deficiency of this particular substance. Meanwhile, the lack of fiber in the body can serve as a prerequisite for various cardiac disorders, as well as provoke the growth of stones in the gall bladder. Hemicellulose deficiency is a violation in the cleansing of the body, which means that heavy metals, toxins and salts begin to accumulate in the tissues. Not released in time, waste products cause constipation, nausea and vomiting, there is an imbalance of microflora in the intestine.
Excess is bad too
Replenishing stocks of various nutrients, it is important to always remember that an excess of any of them almost always leads to serious problems. Hemicellulose is also a concern. Excessive saturation of the body with this type of fiber may be manifested by impaired metabolism, depletion, an imbalance of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, and a lack of certain minerals. Vomiting, nausea, and bloating may also indicate that hemicellulose in the body is oversupply.
Hemicellulose belongs to the so-called coarse food, which the body is not able to digest.
Consuming foods rich in matter, it must be understood that only vitamins and micro, macrocells will be absorbed. But the product itself, consisting of fiber, cannot be split. Meanwhile, hemicellulose is necessary for proper digestion and adequate functioning of the whole organism.
Getting into the intestines, it absorbs moisture, swells and creates a feeling of saturation for a long time. In addition, it slows down the absorption of glucose, which removes the extra load from the digestive system.
And if you summarize the effect of hemicellulose on the human body, we can say that it makes it work according to a certain schedule, observing the sequence of all processes.
Functions in the body
Hemicellulose contained in oat bran, contributes to regular feces, while increasing the hydration of the chair. Due to its positive effect on intestinal motility, it is used to treat and prevent constipation.
Improving digestion at all stages, prevents stagnant processes in the digestive tract, which in turn protects against rotting and fermentation in the colon.
Hemicellulose is a very useful substance for bacteria living in the intestines, as it creates favorable conditions for the reproduction of the right intestinal microflora. In addition, it contributes to the production of short-chain fatty acids, which colon cells use as fuel. Also, this substance is able to bind cholesterol in the intestine, thus preventing the excessive absorption of styrenes.
Like fiber, it helps to eliminate toxic substances and poisons. And at the same time helps to absorb minerals, vitamins and other nutrients more quickly. But it is worth noting: excessive consumption of products rich in hemicellulose, on the contrary, makes it difficult to assimilate some elements, such as magnesium, zinc and calcium.
It is believed that foods containing hemicellulose help prevent colon cancer.
Food sources of hemicellulose
Hemicellulose in food products is contained mainly in the form of xylan.
Below is a list of plant foods most saturated with this substance.
Vegetables: beets, beans, cabbage, soybeans, lentils.
Grains: buckwheat, rice, oats, wheat (including germinated), millet, corn.
In the food industry, hemicellulose derived from soy is used as the stabilizer E 426.
This substance is obtained as a result of a series of chemical reactions. Sodium hydroxide, acting on soy, contributes to the release of hemicellulose. This substance is then used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, filler and thickener in water-containing products. E 426 is classified as a naturally occurring chemical.
Also, due to the binding properties, hemicellulose is actively used in various bakery products. In particular, confectioners noticed that the addition of this substance significantly improves the quality of the batch, contributes to a more active production of gluten, which as a result improves the structure of the finished dough, and gives the necessary volume to bakery products. There is information that hemicellulose is also an ingredient that prevents quick baking of the baking.
In addition, people involved in the confectionery business, they know how much easier the life of pastry paper. So, we also owe her existence to hemicellulose. When exposed to a sheet of paper, first with hydrochloric acid, and then with water, a paste-like substance is formed, it is hemicellulose. The substance covers the sheet with a thin layer, thus creating a waterproof protection. The result of this chemical focus is parchment paper.
Hemicellulose is also used in pharmacology – for the production of probiotic preparations.
Hemicellulose, although it is one of the substances that the body is not able to break down to absorb, but its role in maintaining health is irreplaceable. A person does not remember this substance when its consumption is kept in the recommended rates. But it is worth to at least slightly exceed or cut portions of this dietary fiber, as health troubles immediately remind you of yourself.