Why do we need dietary fibre?

Dietary fibre, also known as roughage, is the indigestible portion of plant foods. Fibre is mostly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. The capacity of dietary fibre to prevent or treat constipation is probably its most well-known benefit. Fibre-rich meals, on the other hand, can help you maintain a healthy weight while also lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

What is dietary fibre?

Dietary fibre is the fraction of plant-based foods that your body cannot digest. Instead, it passes through your stomach, small intestine, and colon relatively undamaged before exiting your body. Dietary fibres have a wide range of chemical compositions and can be classified in terms of solubility, viscosity, and fermentability, all of which influence how fibres are processed in the body. Soluble fibre and insoluble fibre are the two types of dietary fibre.

In the digestive system, soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel-like material. Soluble fibre may aid in the reduction of cholesterol and the regulation of blood sugar levels. Oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium are all high in soluble fibre.

Insoluble fibre aids in the flow of materials through the digestive system and increases stool bulk, making it useful for people who suffer from constipation or irregular stools. Insoluble fibre can be found in foods such as whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, and vegetables including cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes.

Benefits of eating dietary fibre

Dietary fibre softens and increases the weight and size of your stool. Constipation is less likely with a thick stool since it is simpler to pass. Fibre, which absorbs water and provides volume to the stool, may help to solidify it if you have loose, watery stools.

Hemorrhoids and tiny pouches (diverticular disease) in the colon can be prevented by eating a high-fibre diet. A high-fibre diet has also been shown to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer in studies. In the colon, some fibre is fermented. Researchers are investigating how this could help to prevent colon illnesses.

Soluble fibre, which can be found in beans, oats, flaxseed, and oat bran, may help lower total blood cholesterol by lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol. High-fibre diets may also offer other heart-health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and inflammation, according to research.

Fibre, especially soluble fibre, can assist persons with diabetes control their blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption. Insoluble fibre, along with a good diet, may help to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Because high-fibre foods are more filling than low-fibre foods, you’ll eat less and feel full for longer. High-fibre foods also take longer to eat and are less “energy dense,” meaning they contain fewer calories per unit of volume.

Fibre supplements and fortified foods

In general, whole foods are preferable to fibre supplements. Foods contain a greater variety of dietary fibres, vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients than fibre supplements.

Eating foods with fibre added, such as cereal, granola bars, yogurt, and ice cream, is another method to obtain additional fibre. “Inulin” or “chicory root” are common names for the additional fibre. Some people experience gassiness after consuming foods that have been supplemented with fibre.

If dietary modifications aren’t enough, or if they have medical issues like constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome, some people may need a fibre supplement. Before consuming fibre, see your doctor.

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