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Why to Include High Fibre Foods in Diet?
Fibre is a plant constituent that is generally resistant to human digestion. Fibre is also known as roughage. It is the indigestible part of plant foods that pushes through our digestive system, absorbing water along the way and easing bowel movements. Foods of animal origin do not contain fibre. The diets which contain a good amount of fibre have been reported to have positive effects on health (1).
Fibre is classified into
Why fibre containing foods should be a part our diets?
Because of the following health benefits that dietary fibre offers we should ensure that fibre is present in significant amount in our diets (2),
- Adds bulk to the diet, making us feel full faster (Helps in weight loss)
- Holds water increases stool bulk (Prevents constipation)
- Helps manage glucose and LDL cholesterol levels in blood (Aids in management of diabetes and reduces risk of heart diseases)
- Balances intestinal pH, stimulates intestinal fermentation and production of short-chain fatty acids (Helps maintain gut microbiota)
- May reduce risk of colorectal cancers
Fiber rich foods (1,2)
Cereals grains such as barley, oats wheat and corn all are good sources of dietary fiber. The grains total dietary fiber content ranges between (10 to 17 %). The whole grains have more insoluble fiber in proportion to soluble fiber. Try to increase the content of your dietary fiber by including whole grains in place of refined grains.
Whole legumes such as Bengal gram, mung beans, black gram and soybeans all are good sources of dietary fiber. The dietary fiber content ranges from 10 to 15 %. Instead of dals include whole legumes in the diet a few times in a week to avail the benefits of dietary fiber.
Most of the vegetables are fair sources of dietary fiber whether it is bitter gourd or green leafy vegetables or beet or okra. Add plenty of vegetables to your diet especially in the form of salads. These veggies not only provide fiber but also contain several phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.
Like all plant products fruits are also a source of dietary fiber. They are fair sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Have 2 to 3 fruits a day which will provide fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.
Nuts and oilseeds
Almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts raw coconut, sesame and other nuts are good sources of dietary fiber. Most of the fiber in nuts is in the form of insoluble fiber. A fistful of nuts as a snack would serve a lot of good to us both nutritionally and for health too.
Flaxseeds and chia seeds are great sources of dietary fiber. Not only do they add antioxidants, healthy fatty acids to our diet but they provide dietary fiber too. Flax seeds can be ground into powder and added to doughs, beverages. Chia seeds can be added to salads oat meals, porridge, soups and smoothies.
Dietary fiber is necessary for maintaining gut health and to prevent constipation. It also helps in maintaining glucose and cholesterol levels in blood therefore good for diabetics and also people with heart issues. Dietary fiber also reduces the risk of certain cancers. Ensure that there are plenty of plant foods in your diet.
Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health, How our body works 18. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, Second Edition. New York and London.
Dhingra, D., Michael, M., Rajput, H. and Patil, R.T. (2011) Dietary fibre in foods: A Review, Journal of food science and technology. 49 (3).