8 Great benefits to eating the right fibre

I’m sure that most of us are aware of the health benefits of fibre or ‘roughage’ as I’m sure it used to be called.

What we may not be quite so clear on is what types of fibre we need and where we can find them.

So before you go reaching for the All Bran please read on, as it could be doing you more harm than good.

It is actually because your body can’t digest fibre that it plays such an important part in digestion. Soluble fibre, like that found in cucumbers, blueberries, beans and nuts, dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down your digestion.

This helps you to feel full longer and is one reason why fibre may help with weight control. Insoluble fibre, found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve at all and helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination. Many whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, naturally contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.

There is a whole host of research that indicates the benefits of fibre intake. Here are some of its top potential benefits:

•Blood sugar control: Soluble fibre may help to slow your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control.

•Heart health: An inverse association has been found between fibre intake and heart attack. Some recent research shows that those eating a high-fibre diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.

• Stroke: Researchers have found that for every seven grams more fibre you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk could be decreased by 7%.

• Skin health: Fibre, particularly psyllium husk, may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing them from being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.

•Diverticulitis: Dietary fibre (especially insoluble) may reduce your risk of diverticulitis – an inflammation ofpolyps in your intestine – by around 40%.

• Haemorrhoids: A high-fibre diet may result in looser stools and lower your risk of haemorrhoids.

• Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Fibre may provide some relief from IBS.

•Gallstones and kidney stones: A high-fibre diet mayreduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones,because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.

However (and it’s a big however) Bran muffins, whole grains, and cereals are often touted as the best way to increase your fibre intake, but according to a growing number of experts, humans are NOT designed to eat grains, and doing so may actually be damaging to your gut.

This is especially true if you already have gastro problems already such as bloating, cramps, leaky gut, gas or diverticulitis (intestinal polyps). In these cases a temporary, very low-fibre diet may help. Initially fibre would be removed from the diet completelyand slowly reintroduced.

But assuming your gut is generally healthy, most people could probably benefit from around 32 grams of fibre a day; apparently the majority of us are not getting anywhere near that amount. If your diet could use more fibre, resist the urge to fortify it with whole grains. Instead, focus on eating more vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The following whole foods, for example, contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fibre: Chia and flax seeds, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, root vegetables (onions, sweet potatoes) and almonds.

I personally follow the above adding flax and chia to my salads and stirfrys so its not hard to add those little essentials into your diet.

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