Dietary fibre offers a lot more benefits than keeping your digestive system healthy
Fibre speeds up the passing of food through your digestive tract, removing toxic waste material in the process. There are two kinds of fibre: insoluble fibre (found in nuts, beans and fruit peels) helps to relieve constipation; whereas soluble fibre (found in oatmeal, vegetables and fruit) helps to regulate your blood-sugar levels.
Fibre-rich foods make you feel fuller for longer and curbs the urge to eat more. Fibre helps regulate the release of glucose in the bloodstream, which helps prevent your blood-sugar levels from zipping up and down. The more consistent your blood-sugar levels are, the less likely you are to become tired and crave sugary foods for an energy boost. Because it helps regulate blood-sugar levels, fibre also plays a fundamental part in preventing diabetes.
While our bodies need both types of fibre for good health, soluble fibre is the one that helps lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. (Though insoluble fibre doesn’t really affect your cholesterol levels, it plays a key role in maintaining a healthy colon.) The binding agents in soluble fibre help remove the plaque in your arteries that causes cholesterol. To increase your intake of soluble fibre, eat more brown rice, potatoes, peas and legumes.
Finally we have proof that a high-fibre diet does protect against bowel cancer. A recent UK study found that people who ate three servings of whole-grain food – such as whole-wheat bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals, porridge and brown rice – had a 20% lower risk of developing the disease.
Take note: Most of us need only 10g – 15g of fibre per day, but dieticians recommend 20g – 35g. Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you should try to include 35g – 50g of fibre in your diet on a daily basis. Consult your doctor about fibre supplements.
Also read: Are nuts good for you?