What is fibre and why is it so good for us when we include it in our diet? Read this article to learn more about the sources of high-fibre foods
What is fibre?
Fibre is a substance that is found mainly in the outer layers of plants. When eaten, it provides a type of carbohydrate and carbohydrates are the main source of energy for all body functions. It is a difficult substance to break down and when it is digested, it requires that food has to be more slowly chewed. Eating fibre slows down the digestion process and makes us feel satiated which can prevent us from overeating.
Foods with fibre
The more natural the food, the higher fibre it will contain and the more processed the food is, the less fibre it will contain. However, watch out against certain high-fibre foods such as cereal which may contain high sugar and salt contents which can be unhealthy if taken in excess. The following foods are great sources of fibre: Whole grains (bran has the highest fiber content): This includes breads and cereals, whole-grain pastas and brown rice, all of which contain whole grains. Nuts, dried fruits and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, dried apricots and figs Legumes and pulses such as chickpeas, beans and lentils All fruits and vegetables The highest include avocado, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach,apples, bananas and berries.
What are the other benefits of fibre?
There is lots of evidence of the health benefits of eating fibre. Most of us are aware that fibre aids a sluggish bowel. It slows digestion and absorption meaning that glucose in food enters the bloodstream more slowly keeping blood sugar levels stable.
Fermentation It breaks down in the large intestine or colon by a process called fermentation which aids the nourishment of the the lining of the colon. The acids produced in this process provide fuel for the body and has an important part in metabolism. Therefore, fibre is essential for healthy digestion, regular bowel movements and can help towards weight loss.
Other sources of fibre
Fibre can be taken as soluble fibre which are found in supplements such as Citrucel and Konsyl which aid digestive problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and constipation. The intake of supplements needs to be monitored: The recomended daily intake of fibre is 25-35 grams.
A final word It is best too seek medical advice when taking fibre supplements as too much of fibre can cause bloating and flatulence especially if you are taking other fermented foods.