Did you ever wonder why fibre is good for you? If your answer is yes, then this article is definitely worth a read! But first let start with the basics.
What is dietary fibre?
The portion of plant-derived food or any type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest, is known as fibre. Fibre can be mostly found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to your stool while soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance in your digestive system. Both plays an important role in health and is almost equally important.
So, let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of fibre:
- It reduces cholesterol by helping the body to reduce absorption thereof.
- Fibre helps to reduce the risk for gastrointestinal cancer. Some types of fibre eg. Pectin that is found in apples, may have antioxidant-like properties that have protective effects against colon cancer.
- It promotes a healthy weight by helping you to feel fuller for longer.
- Add bulk to the digestive tract to stimulate your intestines.
- Promote blood sugar control by maintaining more consistent blood sugar levels.
Dietary fibre forms an integral part of a healthy diet but most people do not consume enough fibre due to a poor diet.
So how much fibre should you eat?
- Women need about 25g of fibre a day.
- Men need about 38g of fibre a day.
- During pregnancy and breastfeeding, women should aim to consume at least 28g per day.
You might think that this will be difficult to achieve, but don’t stress, we got a few tips for you on how you can increase your fibre intake.
- Check the nutritional label of food to see how much fibre it contains. If it has more than 6g of dietary fibre per 100g then consider it high in fibre!
- Try to eat fruits and vegetables with the skins on because the skins contain lots of fiber.
- Add some beans and lentils to your salads, soups, and side dishes.
- When buying bread rather choose the whole wheat versions instead of white breads and pastas.
- Aim to eat at least 5 fruit or vegetables a day.
- When baking muffins increase the fibre content by adding 3 cups of high fibre bran sticks. Bran sticks contain an impressive 29.3g of fibre per 100g!
- Sprinkle some chia seeds over your cereal, yoghurt or add it in your smoothies. Chia seeds contain 11g of fibre per 100g.
Remember to consume enough water when you increase your fibre intake to prevent constipation!
Too much fibre is also not a good thing so just be careful not to overdo it. Some people with a condition known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome don’t tolerate fibre well. If this is the case then rather contact a Registered Dietitian to help you to optimize your fibre intake.
Fibre is and will always be an essential part of a healthy diet. So why not start today?
Try increasing your fibre intake with one of Hamba Health’s high fibre products for e.g. Tiger Nut Flour, Flax Flour or Sorghum Grain.
Leave a comment and let us know which product is your favourite.