When you are contemplating meal plans for your family do you take fibre into consideration? Unfortunately, for most people, incorporating sufficient fibre-rich meal is not a primary consideration. But research shows it should be.
Earlier this year, Time magazine reported that a large review of studies on fibre makes a strong case for this underrated super food. It was attributed to lowering the risk of at least four diseases by 15 – 30%, only one of which relates directly to the gut.
Certain fibre-rich foods can slow the absorption of sugar from food. This is how it assists with blood sugar control for those with diabetes.
A fibre-rich diet also removes toxins from the bowel and increases a feeling of fullness after eating, which is helpful with weight management.
How Much Fibre Do We Need?
Experts estimate that the daily requirement is about 25-30g per day. They also say that since many people favour ready-meals and fast foods, they are definitely not meeting the recommended daily amount.
While 25g is the minimum, researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand and the University of Dundee in Scotland say there are distinct benefits to pushing beyond what is adequate.
What Is The Difference Between Soluble And Insoluble Fibre?
The type of fibre that helps to lower blood cholesterol and helps with moderating the release of sugar from food is called soluble fibre. This fibre is found in most vegetables, fruit and legumes such as beans and lentils.
Insoluble fibre is found mostly in whole grains and this type of fibre helps to normalise bowel movements. This helps lower the risk of developing haemorrhoids, diverticular disease (when small bulges develop in the lining of the intestine) and colorectal cancer.
It is important to eat a variety of foods to get enough of both types of fibre.
Is It Possible To Get Too Much?
Too much fibre can exacerbate symptoms of gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel disease or in acute flare-ups of diverticulitis. It is beast to seek medical advice before substantially increasing your fibre intake, particularly if you have any pre-existing bowel conditions.
Too much fibre to your diet can result in intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping
Why Is It such A Talking Point?
As more and more people choose to follow diets high in protein, foods like wholegrains and fruits are being discarded in favour of chicken, fish, fats and eggs.
Fibre is an important component of a balanced diet and should be incorporated in the form of whole foods instead of fibre supplements. These do not provide the variety of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients.
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Fibre-Rich Diet?
1. Lowers Cholesterol
Fibre i fruit and vegetable binds the bile acids the body produces to help digest food. This means your body must use cholesterol from your bloodstream to make more bile acids lowering your cholesterol levels.
2. Better Control Of Blood Sugar Levels
Fibre can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar control.
3. Assist with Weight Management
Fibre-rich foods tend to be more filling, which helps with appetite control.
4. Normalises Bowel movements
Fibre increases the weight of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass and decreases you chance of constipation.
Fibre is widely available, affordable and helps you to fend of disease. If you were not getting enough of it, now is the time to change and start including fibre-rich foods in your diet.