ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH FIBRE?
If you want to live a healthy life and feel good, fibre is a critical nutrient you need to be eating every day. Despite its importance, fibre is often overlooked. Most people in developed countries aren’t getting nearly enough of it. Fibre enhances your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food and eliminate toxins. It fills you up and helps you maintain more consistent energy levels. And its essential for healthy digestion, maintaining a healthy weight, preventing cancer and type 2 diabetes, and other proven health benefits.
Found in the cell walls of plants, it’s not digestible by humans, so it doesn’t provide nutrients or calories, but it’s critical to your health anyway. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Each performs a different job in your body. Soluble fibre helps lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol, and is found in foods, such as oatmeal, beans, and legumes, as well as in some fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fibre acts like a broom, cleaning out your digestive tract, and is found in foods like whole grains, kidney beans, bran, and fruits and vegetables. Both soluble and insoluble fibre are found naturally in plant foods. Meat, dairy products, eggs, and oils do not contain any fibre. And processed foods made with sugar or white flour generally contain very little fibre because any natural fibre is lost or removed.
Fibre is necessary for maintaining a healthy digestive system – Fibre is known for its ability to keep you regular and reduce constipation, but it has other benefits for maintaining healthy digestion as well. For example, diverticulitis – inflammation of the intestine – is one of the most common age-related digestive disorders in the modern world. According to a study, consuming foods rich in insoluble fibre has been found to reduce the risk of diverticulitis by 40%!
Fibre is essential for maintaining a healthy weight – By increasing your fibre intake by only 14 grams per day, you can reduce your calorie intake by 10 percent, while increasing your sense of ’fullness’ and satisfaction. Soluble fibre mixes with water in the gut to create a gel. This gel-like substance slows the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream while triggering stretch receptors in your stomach, telling you you’ve had enough. So, you feel full and satisfied by eating the same volume of food, even when that food has fewer calories.
Fibre plays a critical role in cancer prevention – Fibre is an essential part of your waste removal system by constantly eliminating carcinogens before they become a problem. For instance, fibre works to prevent colorectal cancer by improving intestinal transit time – literally sweeping away carcinogens. It also reduces the risk of other forms of cancer as well, including cancers of the breast, prostate, mouth, and throat. Every 10 grams of fibre you eat is associated with a 10 percent reduced risk of bowel cancer and a 5 percent fall in breast cancer risk, according to a study.
Fibre is good for heart health – Many cardiologists recommend eating porridge for breakfast as it is full of soluble fibre. Researchers don’t yet fully understand the mechanisms behind fibre’s LDL(bad) cholesterol-lowering power, but according to a study the soluble fibre from oats can decrease LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL (good) cholesterol. In various reviews, greater dietary fibre was found to be associated with a lower risk of both cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease. High-fibre foods may also have other benefits for heart health, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.