Hi friends, happy Friday!
How was the week that went by? It is the last day of 2021 today and I wish you a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. Have you made any new year resolutions? Do share 🙂
I haven’t made any for the last 3 years. I am too impatient to wait for the new year to start on a resolution or something new ?. I did make one about having one fruit every day, the last time I made one. My diet then, seriously lacked fruits and thankfully, I have managed to stick to it till today.
Today’s post is on fibre. I have written on it earlier also. On my cake labels, I mention fibre also along with calories, protein, carbs and fats. Someone wondered why I mention fibre, hardly anyone does. And right there I knew that I have to write on fibre again.
It might be highly under-rated especially when we calculate macros but for our body, it is very important. Right now, it is clubbed under carbohydrates but I am pretty sure that soon, it would occupy its own place of honor as the 7th major nutrient group.
What is fibre?
We associate fibre with easy bowel movement and that’s all, right? This is so far from the truth!
The world is now waking up to gut-flora and friendly bacteria. Words like probiotic and prebiotic are now gaining momentum. Till now, we associated intestines with just digestion and bowel movement.
Today, we know that our intestines are way, way more than just that! It is like a second brain out there, in our gut!
Dietary fibre is the indigestible part of the plant-based foods such as cereals, veggies and fruits. It is included in carbohydrates group of macronutrients. So, basically any carbohydrates that we can’t digest, are fibre. Fibre:
- Helps in keeping our digestive system in good shape
- Relieves constipation, helps in IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and prevents hemorrhoids
- Helps in heart-diseases management
- Lowers LDL, the bad cholesterol
- Reduces risks of certain types of cancers such as bowel and breast cancers
- Helps in weight management and obesity
- Helps in diabetes management – by keeping sugar-levels in check
- Helps in hormonal balance
- Helps in keeping the gut-flora flourishing and this alone leads to huge benefits in terms of overall health, including mental health (sounds strange, right?)
- Reducing inflammation in body and supporting immune system
Types of Fibre
There are two types of fibre, depending upon their solubility in water. Most foods contain both the types in varying ratios.
- Soluble – Soluble fibre absorbs lot of water and bulks up our stool for easy movement as well as in slowing down of digestion. Can be metabolized by the good gut bacteria. Good sources of soluble fibre are:
- Bran – from oats, barley
- Fruits and veggies
- Legumes, lentils, bean etc.
- Soy milk and soy products
- Insoluble – Insoluble fibre does opposite of what soluble fibre does. It does not absorb water and it actually slows down the time that food spends in our intestines. Good sources include:
- Bran – wheat, rice and corn etc.
- Peels/skin of fruits and veggies
- Wholegrain foods
- Nuts and seeds
Then there is resistant starch which is not really fibre but works like it. This is also very important for our gut bacteria. Out gut-bacteria thrive on it and convert it into short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are super-important for our cholesterol levels as well as bowel health. Good sources of resistant starch are:
- Bananas – unripe
- Unprocessed cereals and grains
How Much Fibre In A Day?
The recommended fibre intake for adults is 25 gm for women and 30-38 gm for men. For children, depending upon their age, it ranges from 18g to 28 g, boys needing a bit more than the girls.
Fibre is important for everyone and even more so, for older people since their digestion tends to slow down with age.
It is not difficult to achieve these figures provided we add these to our diet on a daily basis:
- Wholegrains and wholegrain products such as breads, atta etc
- Breakfast cereals such as – oats, wheat, barley
- Quinoa, chia seeds, fresh coconut, dark chocolate, popcorn
- Adding more veggies and fruits to our diet especially apples, pears, berries, bananas, beetroots, carrots, sweet potatoes, methi and other leafy vegetables as well as green beans
- Eating peels and skins with our fruits and veggies, whenever edible
- Adding legumes – pulses, beans, chickpeas and lentils
- Adding dried fruits and nut in our diet (in moderation) such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pumpkins/sunflower seeds
In The End
- Make sure to consume lot of water while upping your daily dietary fibre intake
- Make sure to increase your dietary fibre intake slowly to avoid any abdominal discomfort
- Very high-fibre diet (40gms or more) are linked to various nutritional deficiencies as well
- Fibre supplements should only be taken after consulting with your doctor or nutritionist
Hope you found today’s post useful. Do join me on Instagram for more such info, on this link
Happy New Year once again and till next Friday,
Love, Health & Peace