The Fibre Rich Diet!
A new word has been added to the Healthy way of talking and that is Dietary Fibre. A relatively new entrant in the family of vitamins, cholesterol free and minerals, aren't we confused what is Dietary Fibre. How does it work and most of all how is it beneficial for us!
Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by our bodies' enzymes. It is found in edible plant foods such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, dried peas, nuts, lentils and grains.
There are two kinds of Dietary Fibre – Soluble and Insoluble:
Functions and benefits of insoluble fibre
Insoluble fibres have many functions, including moving bulk through the digestive tract and controlling pH (acidity) levels in the intestines.
Benefits of insoluble fibre:
- Promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation
- Speeds up the elimination of waste through the colon
- By keeping an optimal pH in the intestines, insoluble fibre helps prevent microbes from producing substances which can lead to cancer
Food sources of insoluble fibre include vegetables - especially dark green leafy ones, root vegetable skins, fruit skins, whole wheat products, wheat bran, corn bran, nuts, and seeds
Functions and benefits of soluble fibre
Soluble fibre binds with fatty acids, it slows down the time it takes to empty the stomach and the rate of sugar absorption by the body.
Benefits of soluble fibre:
- Reduces cholesterol especially levels of LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Regulates sugar intake, this is especially useful for people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Soluble fibre is fermented by gut bacteria, improving immune, digestive, and overall health
Good sources of soluble fibre include kidney beans, pinto beans, brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, prunes, legumes, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread.
What kinds of foods are rich in fibre?
Eat plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and fruits. Do remember that much of the fibre in fruits and vegetables is stored in the seeds, skin and membranes. Hence, an un skinned apple has more fibre than a peeled banana. By the way, raspberries have the highest fibre among all fruit and avocados are second to raspberries with 14 grams of fibre in a cup. Strawberries and blueberries are also full of fibre.
Do remember to drink plenty of water (about eight glasses a day) with your fibre-rich diet so that you can eliminate the undigested fibre easily. Also, the water you drink binds with the soluble fibre to form a gel that lowers insulin and your body’s capacity to store fat.
- Gaurav Jain