Let's Talk about Fibre

Digestion, Diabetes, Weight loss, Diets | August 15, 2016 | Author: Naturopath


Let's Talk about Fibre

Fibre is one of the most important part of everybody's diet. It is the indigestible carbohydrate content obtained from plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, wholegrain foods, legumes, nuts and seeds. Fibre is one of the key players in cultivating vibrant health, especially from it's work in our digestive system. Known as roughage or bulk, the consumed fibre runs through the body’s system relatively intact from the stomach, to the small intestine, then through the colon and finally out of the body.

But why is fibre so important?

We’ve heard from nutritional experts a thousand times that we need to include more fibre into out diet. 

The reason being is that regular fibre intake has huge benefits in all areas of the body, from simply helping  prevent constipation, to lowering the risk of obesity and diabetes, helping eliminate unhealthy fats and cholesterol, and most importantly - cancer prevention.Research has shown that eating plant based fibre rich food aids in reducing levels of cholesterol in the body, triglyceride measurements and blood pressure which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The other excellent benefit is that the foods that are high in fibre are generally good sources of vitamins, minerals and nutrients – all of which are essential in keeping us healthy. All fibre is good for your body, but different types provide particular and benefits.

Different types of fibre and what do they do?

Soluble Fibre

shutterstock_228814642As its name implies, soluble fibre is the type of fibre that dissolves in water. When it dissolves, it thickens and become a gel-like substance. This substance is a great aid in the diet for particular diseases of the bowel such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticulitis. 

It is useful for moderating blood glucose levels making it excellent for diabetics and pre-diabetics.

It supports the immune system by providing food for the friendly bacteria in your digestive tract to multiply and through all this it protects the heart.

Another valuable benefit provided by soluble fiber is how it supports weight regulation. Because it delays the emptying process from the stomach, it makes you feel full, supporting satiety which can aid in weight loss.

Foods high in soluble fibre include fruits and vegetables such as legumes (split peas, dried beans such as red kidney beans, baked beans and lentils), oats, barley, psyllium husks, apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes and beans.

Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble fibre, though not dissolvable in water, works its own magic in the digestive system Insoluble fibre is able to absorb water as it travels through the digestive system, providing bulk in the lower digestive tract. This allows the stool to remain soft, speeding up passage time and ultimately keeps the bowel movement healthy and regular.

shutterstock_62386825This type of fibre can be found in highest concentrations in vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, nuts, seeds and in the outer skins of fruits and vegetables.

Resistant Starch

The third form of fibre, the resistant starch, defies digestion and is not easily absorbed. This type of fibre cannot be digested in the small intestine and directly proceeds to the large intestine where it assists in the production of good bacteria and keeps the lining of the bowel healthy. 

Resistant starch can be formed by various ways and can be usually found in slightly under-cooked (‘al dente’) pasta, cooked and cooled potato and rice, under ripe bananas, beans, lentils and a product called Hi-maize used in some breads and breakfast cereals.

The trick when increasing any fibre is ensure you drink plenty of water.

How much fibre does do you need?

shutterstock_28140595 A median for dietary fibre was determined from a survey conducted in 1995 by National Nutrition Survey of Australia, the acceptable fibre intake was determined to be - 30 grams for a male adults per day and 25 g for women per day. 

Getting enough fibre for the body doesn’t just consist of eating one type of wheat bran on breakfast. It is important to include different types of fibre from various plant foods to get the best of what fibre can do for the whole body.

The Cancer Council of Australia recommends having enough fibre every day is to have - at least two serves of wholegrain or whole meal foods, two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables including legumes daily. The aim is to get fibre from whole foods rather than having to resort to fibre supplements.

Ways to include fibre in the daily diet?

  • Reading the nutrient panel your packaged food and choosing those that are high in fibre should become a habit. Make sure that it contains at least 4 g of fibre per serving. 7 g of fibre per serving should indicate that it is an excellent source.
  • Psyllium husk. Boosting fibre intake can also be done through adding a sprinkle of bran or psyllium husk on your cereal, muesli or yogurt.
  • Eating nuts and seeds as snacks as well as adding legumes to your meals.
  • Try to include foods that are rich in fibre in the meals. Consider rich-fibre foods an alternative to the usual ingredients. Use wholegrain pasta instead of using white pasta. Instead of white rice, try using brown rice or quinoa. Consider using wholemeal flour in making sauces. Match creamed corn or salsa dip with wholegrain or wholemeal crisp breads.  Adding fibre in the diet lies in the secret of alternatives.
  • Slippery elm, a wonderful source of fibre that many herbalists and naturopaths recommend. As well as being a very efficient fibre it also helps in providing soothing relief from constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia and other digestive tract problems like bloating and bowel irregularity.
  • Chia seeds have an outstanding level of fibre content. They can be eaten raw or added to various dishes.This super food contains all the needed protein, carbohydrates and fibre that a person needs in order to be healthy.

So as you can see it may not be as hard as you think. Make some dietary changes, be more aware of what you are eating and by doing this, make a bowel happy and maybe avoid some nasty illnesses.








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