What is Dietary Fibre?
Dietary fibre is a variety of carbohydrates available in foods obtained from plants. The structural component of plants is the sources of fibre-rich vegetables, fruits, etc. The other carbohydrates are broken down as food gets digested, while the fibre stays intact. Soluble fibre has a gel-like consistency and slows the digestion of food, keeping the tummy full for a longer time. High fibre foods of the soluble type are oats, apples, bananas, dry beans, barley, etc. Insoluble fibre is not soluble in water and is called ‘roughage.’ It retains much water and helps in easy bowel movements. Foods rich in the dietary fibre of the insoluble type are fruits, veggies, whole bran in grains, corn, berries, etc.
What are the Functions of Fibre?
- Controls weight: Since consuming different fiber types through food keeps the stomach fuller, overeating and binging on junk foods is no longer a habit. In this manner, fibre helps in weight control.
- No constipation: The essential function of fibre-rich food items is the retention of water during the digestion process. So a regular bowel movement is an outcome of consuming fibre rich foods with no constipation problems.
- Decreases cholesterol levels: Fibre binds to the bile (a part of cholesterol) and helps to eliminate it from the body.
- Regulates blood sugar levels: A fibre-rich diet slows down food digestion and hence decreases sugar release into the bloodstream. It keeps one away from getting type 2 diabetes.
- Increases healthy gut bacteria: The beneficial types of gut bacteria feed on the foods rich in dietary fibreand multiply. Hence, short-chain fatty acids are produced, which decreases inflammation in the body.
How Much Fibre per Day is recommended?
The nutritionists recommend a daily fibre intake of 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. In this, about ten to fifteen grams of soluble fibre or approx14g of fibre for every one thousand calories is ideal for daily intake. Consuming two and a half cups of vegetables (cooked or fresh), 6 ounces of grains, and two cups of fruits and other foods are ideal for an overall 2000 calorie intake every day.
What are Some Good Sources of Fibre?
- Vegetables are the ultimate source of fibre-rich nourishment. It has soluble and insoluble fibre types to keep you full for longer. Artichokes, peas, salads, vegetable soups, popcorn, etc., are some ideal fibre-rich vegetables.
- Whole bran containing millets, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, quinoa, barley, etc. are grains high in fibre.
- Fruits like Avocados, berries, apples, pears, raisins, etc., are a variety of food rich in dietary fibre.
- Legumes are also fibre sources that have the added benefit of proteins too. Peas, chickpeas, dried beans, etc., are some fibre-rich foods for a healthy gut.
Tips to include High Fibre Sources in the Diet
- Whole grain foods are better fibre-rich sources than refined foods.
- Sprinkling fibre-enriched foods like bran in soups, baked items, salads, pasta, etc., increase the fibre concentration of the food.
- Consuming popcorn without butter is a healthy food rich in dietary fibre.
- Consume beans, salads, rice, pasta, meats, etc., for excellent digestion and weight loss.
- Add dried fruits like raisins and berries to cereals, oats, or yoghurt.
- Consume raw fruits and veggies over juices for more roughage.
Besides whole foods rich in dietary fibre, fiber-rich supplements are also available to improve the diet. Some fibre-rich supplements include psyllium husk, wheat dextrin, methylcellulose, inulin, etc. Seniors with bloating stomach and inflammation issues ought to increase the fibre content in their diet. Eating fibre-rich fruits and vegetables will also provide more benefits like weight control and maintaining blood sugar levels.
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Bloated stomach and constipation are the most apparent symptoms of needing more fibre in the diet.
Artichokes, legumes, berries, whole grains like millets and buckwheat, chickpeas, green peas, etc., are some examples of food rich in beneficial fibre.
Raspberries have a fibre content of eight grams per cup, and guava has about nine grams per cup, which are highly beneficial.
Foods like lentils, vegetables, nuts, etc., are fibre enriched and loaded with antioxidants. You can gain more benefits from salad, seasonal fruits, or wheat.
Yes, fibre supplements are made from natural fibrous nutrients that aid in smooth digestion, weight loss, etc.