These days, so many people are becoming obsessed with eliminating carbohydrates from their diets. Unfortunately they often overlook some of the really important health benefits that come along with that essential macronutrient. Dietary fibre in particular, has some amazing properties and should be included as part of a well balanced eating plan.
1. Where Can We Get Fibre From?
Fibre is essentially the indigestible component of plant based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and cereals. It is a form of carbohydrate that increases satiety and supports digestive health and regularity.
2. How Can it Benefit our Health?
- Soluble Fibre: Is found in fruits, vegetables, oats, barley and legumes, and helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood glucose levels. It helps to minimise the ‘afternoon slump’, and helps to slow the emptying of the stomach. This makes us feel more satisfied and less likely to overeat.
- Insoluble Fibre: Is found in whole grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat bran and fruit and vegetables skins. It absorbs water and also increases satiety. Having additional water softens and adds ‘bulk’ in the bowel which supports regularity and a healthier internal environment.
- Resistant Starch: Is found in undercooked pasta, under-ripe bananas, cooked then cooled potatoes and rice. It remains undigested by the small intestine and promotes good bowel health, including the production of good gut bacteria when it proceeds to the large intestine.
3. How Can it Help Us Manage Weight?
In addition to improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as preventing diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer, fibre also increases satiety (which allows us to feel fuller for longer). This decreases the likelihood of overeating either in that same meal, or the next.
4. How Can it Boost Digestion?
Adding ‘bulk’ to the contents of the bowel, restores regularity to elimination processes. This helps to detoxify the body as well. Indigestible fibre exfoliates’ the lining of the colon, which contributes to the creation of a healthier environment. Fibre also ‘feeds’ the good bacteria within the gut which also aid in digestion. Good bacteria also contribute to detoxification processes, immune system functioning, the manufacturing of key vitamins as well as elevated moods.
5. How Much Do We Need?
Adults should aim to consume between 25g (women) to 30g (men) per day.