If you’ve ever consulted with a dietician, the one advice that is often doled out is to increase the amount of fibre consumed. Fibre is the protective layer of fruit, vegetable or grain. Consuming the right amount of fibre has many health benefits: weight loss, reduce risk of type II diabetes and heart diseases. According to a study conducted in 2014, in Indians with diabetes, lower dietary fibre intake is related to cholesterol.
Are you getting enough fibre?
Getting enough fibre is important to keep your gut healthy. “However, the unfortunate truth is that most of us are consuming very little fibre. Fibre, along with water, is the agent responsible for moving your food through your digestive tract,” says nutritionist Ritesh Bawri.
Apart from not getting enough fibre, we need to be aware of the different kinds of fibre. Soluble fibre is soft, sticky kind that our bodies can digest. Present in oats, citrus fruits and root vegetables, this kind of fibre helps ease constipation.
There’s another kind insoluble fibre, also known as roughage. This can be found in nuts, seeds, potatoes, cereal and bran. This helps keep your bowel healthy.
So what’s the ideal amount?
According to the American Heart Association, the daily value for fiber is 25 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet for adults. This number may also depend on age or sex: women under 50, it is 21 to 25 grams per day and for men under 50, it is 30 to 38 grams per day. For children, it is around 14 to 31 grams of fiber per day.
Bawri adds, “There is no such thing as too much fibre. However, it is best to add at least 40gms for men and 25 gms for women per day.”
Here are some more facts about fibre
1) There’s no way to consume fibre without fruits and vegetables: “Fruits, veggies and nuts are the only reliable means to ingest more fibre. Some good sources include avocado (11 gms per cup), berries (8 gms per cup), split peas (16 gms per cup). Other good sources include pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts,” says Bawri.
2) More fibre doesn’t mean more carbs: “Though many of these foods come with carbohydrates, but since your body cannot digest fibre, which is part of the sugar content, you have effectively reduced the amount of sugar consumed. This is the difference having a pear with sugar and a drink made purely with sugar,” he adds.
3) Children need more fibre: According to Prashant Wadhawan, consulting nutritionist, Viiking Trance fitness by Sachiin Joshi, “Children avoid eating lentils, beans and other whole grains making them more prone to digestive issues like constipation, bloating, blood sugar dysregulation, cravings which ultimately leads to obesity.”
4) Fibre is good for weight loss: Wadhawan adds, “Lack of fibre-rich, nutrient dense food and more of processed and high GI food makes blood sugar rise quickly, which then releases more insulin than it is required. Higher insulin levels for prolonged time with over consumption of sugar can also lead to obesity.” So, if you’re looking to lose weight, include more fibre in your diet.