Hi Friends, have a happy and safe Friday!
Adjusted to the new quarantine life and new routines/deadlines, have we? Sometimes, it seems that the lockdown is what’s keeping us safe! Despite all its adverse economic effects, I don’t even want to imagine the situation without the lockdown. So, stay home, keep strong and keep praying, in your own way, for these hard times to end and bring a better tomorrow!
Keep drinking lots of water and keep saving it too. Let’s not lead the world from current corona-crisis to a water-crisis!!
In general, consciously and unconsciously, we track our daily intake of protein…carbohydrates…fat…calories…water. However, hardly ever do we think about fibre! Fibre is an underrated but vital component of a healthy diet and it keeps our digestive system healthy and working smoothly.
Let’s ask a few basic questions:
- Why is junk food bad?
- Why is whole grain better?
- Why should you not juice your fruits and veggies?
- Why eat fruits/veggies with the peel/skin intact?
Many questions but the answer is same, FIBRE!
What Exactly Is Fibre?
Fibre is a complex kind of carbohydrate but unlike other carbohydrates which are broken down by our bodies for fuel, fibre cannot be usually digested by the body.
Fibre or Dietary Fibre, is found only in plant-based foods and mostly passes through our digestive system unprocessed, that is, without being digested. Plant foods mean veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, beans etc.
Most of adults need around 30 gms of fibre a day, as a part of our healthy, balanced diet. However, on an average, an adult consumes around 15 gms only. Time to double up!
Fibre can be characterized in two types:
- Soluble – This kind of fibre dissolves in stomach and ensures food particles are absorbed more slowly and thus, keeping the sugar levels stable and cholesterol low. Found in oats, beans, peas, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies.
- Insoluble Fibre – This kind doesn’t dissolve or get broken down in our bodies but absorbs water (think sponge!)and works as a natural laxative and improving effective bowel movement. It is found in bran, corn, oats, nuts and skin of fruits/vegetables.
Do read a previous post here, to understand why eating our fruits and veggies with their skins/peels intact is a good idea! No wonder fibre is also called “Nature’s Broom”!!
Why Is Fibre So Important?
- Keeps digestive system on track and regularize bowel movement
- Keeps one feeling fuller for long and helps in weight management
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Contributes to disease protection such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, appendicitis and bowel cancer etc
- Reduces serum cholesterol. Soluble fibre binds with and removes cholesterol from the blood
- High-fibre foods tend to be low in calories and more nutritious
- Some types of soluble fibres can act as probiotics
- Our digestive tract is 30 feet long!! Wow! Fibre does some serious work moving our food along, in there!!
- Did you know children don’t need as much fibre in their diet as older teenagers and adults? However, they still need some
How To Get More Fibre?
- Add more vegetables in the diet
- Opt for peels/skin with your fruits and salads as far as possible, even in case of potatoes (jacket potato)
- Opt for whole-grain versions of – atta (flour), breads, pasta, brown rice etc
- Choose hi-fibre cereals, oats etc for your breakfast
- Add pulses and beans to the curries and salads
- Add handful of nuts to your snack time
- Do read this post here, to understand and choose your biscuits/cookies more wisely!
- A fibre supplement (but only if advised by your doc or dietitian)
Too Much Of Everything Is Bad
Eating more that 50-70 gms of fibre a day can also cause uncomfortable bloating, gas, dehydration or constipation. This can be taken care of by reducing fibre intake and increasing the fluid intake as well as regular exercising. Surprisingly, it’s not impossible to cross the 70gm daily limit, especially by vegans or people following whole food and raw food diets.
Cooking does not remove fibre from food. Even drying it does not.
If you read closely the nutritional info on most packaged food items, you would sometimes find the word ‘fibre’ or ‘dietary fibre’ written clearly on it. If not, the product most likely, contains no fibre or negligible quantities.
Share this post today with your friends and family and tell them the basics of fibre. Do join me on Instagram here:
Namaste (no hugs still), Health and Peace
Till next Friday