Increasing your fibre intake is a good way to stay healthy. Fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes like beans, peas and lentils and nuts and seeds. Fibre is indigestible parts of plants that promotes bowel movements in a natural way, by absorbing water and swelling in the digestive tract, encouraging motion, preventing constipationalso helps in weight loss.
Types of Fibre:
Two types of fibre that are required in the daily diet requirement.
- Soluble Fibre – Soluble fibre includes pectins, gums and mucilage found mainly in plant cells. Good sources of soluble fibre are fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, flaxseed, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. They help in lowering the cholesterol level as well as in constipation
- Insoluble Fibre – Insoluble fibre includes cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, the structural part of plants. Good sources of insoluble fibre include wheat bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrain foods. They add bulk to faeces and are associated with problems like haemorrhoids.
It is recommended that women consume 25g fibre/day and men 30g fibre/day to promote good health. Thus, having fibre in right amount in a day serves beneficial.
Fibre and its benefits:
- Helps in bowel movements – Dietary fibre increases the size and weight of the stools and softens making it easier to pass, thereby decreasing the chance of constipation.
- Helps maintain bowel health – A high fibre diet lowers the risk of developinghaemorrhoids, also lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Lowers cholesterol levels – Soluble fibre found in beans, oats, flaxseeds may help lower bad cholesterol levels. It also helps in reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
- Help control sugar levels – Soluble fibre helps in slow absorption of sugar and improve blood sugar levels. A fibre rich diet reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Aids in achieving healthy weight–High fibre foods are more filling, making an individual eat less and staying satisfied for longer.
- Helps to live longer – Increasing the fibre intakes is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancers.
Adding fibre to the diet –
- Choose a healthy breakfast – For breakfast choose a high-fibre breakfast cereale.g. wholegrain cereal like wholewheat biscuit cereal, no added sugar muesli, bran flakes or porridge.Thus, go for cereals with “whole grain,” “bran” or “fibre” in the name.
- Eat fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals. Try to eat five or more servings daily. Also, include fruits instead of fruit juices
- Choose whole grains over refined grains – Whole grains are processed minimally, leaving the grain same whereas in refined grains the vitamin-containing germ and fibre-rich hull are stripped off making it less nutritious. Examples of whole grains include amaranth, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, bulgur wheat etc.
- Lean on legumes – Beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources of fibre. Add kidney beans to green salad or nachos with black beans and lot of veggies.
- Make snack count – Low fat popcorn, whole grain crackers are all good choices. A handful of nuts or dried-fruits are healthy high rich snacks, instead of chips and chocolates.
- Water Intake – Drink plenty of water. Fibre works best when is absorbs water, making the stool soft and bulky.
On this note, it is said that High-fibre foods are good for your health. But adding too much fibrein the dietcan promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fibre in the diet gradually over a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in the digestive system to adjust to the change.