Fibres are a non-digestible form of carbohydrates like polysaccharides. Fibres mostly originate from plant-based foods.
In recent days, our diets have changed with westernised societies, and our gut microbiota has also evolved with the change in foods.
Fibre foods are important for your body to increase bowel movement. Fibre foods soften the stools and increase their weight of the stools. These stools can be passed easily.
If a person has watery or loose stools, consuming fibre foods can help solidify them. Fibre has the ability to absorb water and maintains a healthy bowel movement.
When we hear the word fibre, we always recall the sentence “eat more fibres”. This blog will give the necessary knowledge on fibre-rich foods.
Types of fibre
There are two types of fibres— soluble and insoluble fibres. Other nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins can be digested by the body. But the body will not be able to break or digest the fibres.
The fibre will be passed through the stomach, small intestine and colon. The fibre will then be excreted out of the body.
The soluble fibre will dissolve in water, and the insoluble fibre will not dissolve in water.
The soluble fibre, when dissolved in water, will form a gel-like material. The soluble fibre will help to lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Soluble fibres are rich in oats, citrus fruits and barley.
The insoluble fibre promotes bowel movement. It adds bulk to the stools and helps people who suffer from constipation. The insoluble fibre is rich in wheat flour, wheat bran, vegetables and beans.
Benefits of fibre to the digestive system
Consuming a high-fibre diet can provide various health benefits.
1. Bowel movement
Fibre-rich foods help to improve bowel movement. The fibres add bulk to the stool and it can be easily excreted out from the body.
2. Blood cholesterol levels
Soluble fibre keeps a check on your blood cholesterol levels. Fibre lowers the low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol. Foods like oats, beans and flaxseeds are rich in fibre that maintains a healthy cholesterol level.
3. Blood glucose levels
People with diabetes can benefit a lot by eating foods that are rich in fibre. The soluble fibre slows down the process of sugar absorption by the body and maintains healthy blood glucose levels.
4. Weight loss
Consuming high-fibre foods aid in weight loss. Fibre can keep you full for a long time, and you will eat less. Fibre foods are also energy dense. So consuming foods can help cut the extra calories you gain.
5. Dietary fibre requirement per day
According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recommended total dietary fibre intake is 25 grams daily. From 25 g of daily fibre intake, about 6 g should be soluble fibre.
High Fibre foods
Incorporating fibre-rich foods should be made a priority. We can try and include these foods in our diet.
According to USDA, 100 g of boiled lentils contain about 8 g of dietary fibre. Lentils are rich in fibre and contain both soluble and insoluble fibres. The insoluble fibre cannot be digested by the body, which improves bowel movement.
According to USDA, 100 g of chia seeds contain about 34 g of dietary fibre. The recommended amount of daily consumption is 20 grams or 1.5 tablespoons.
Research studies suggest the consumption of chia seeds reduces visceral adipose tissue, also called belly fat.
Chia seeds are rich in other nutrients like omega-3-fatty acids, antioxidants and fibres. These nutrients support strong bones, manage blood sugar levels and promote heart health.
Consuming 1/3 portion of avocados can provide 3 grams of dietary fibre. Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fibres.
Avocados keep your colon healthy by promoting healthy bowel movement. The fibre in avocados absorbs the water and adds bulk to your stools which aids in easy bowel movement.
- Brussels sprouts
Raw brussels sprouts contain vitamin C and folate. Consumption of steamed brussels sprouts releases more indole than raw sprouts.
Quinoa is classified as a seed, but they are placed under the category of whole grains. Quinoa is rich in fibre and plant protein. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 5 grams of fibre.
Quinoa consumption normalises the bowel and prevents haemorrhoids. Quinoa keeps a check on your blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It also reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Green peas
According to USDA, 100 grams of green peas contain 5 grams of dietary fibre. Green peas aid digestion and are packed with antioxidants. These antioxidants build a strong immune system.
Green peas can also act as an anti-cancerous agent and supports the digestive system. Green peas also keep a check on your blood glucose levels.
100 grams of cauliflower contains 2 grams of fibre, according to USDA. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable and is rich in B vitamins and fibre.
Apart from fibre, cauliflower contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that act as an anti-cancerous agent.
Cauliflower contains choline that improves memory and fibre that aids weight loss and improves digestion.
Apples and bananas contain the same amount of dietary fibre. Apples contain 2.4 grams of fibre, and bananas contain 2.6 grams of fibre.
These fruits contain nutrients that improve gut health and promote satiety. Apple skin contains more fibre content. So, it is recommended to eat apples with the skin to get the full benefits of the fruit.
Bananas can be a good snack. Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, and eating one banana will satisfy 10% of your fibre requirement.
For every 100 grams of walnuts, it contains 7 grams of fibre. Walnuts contain omega-3-fatty acids.
Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Research also suggests that they improve brain function and promote bowel movement.
- Whole grains
Any cereal that contains endosperm, germ and bran is classified as whole grains. According to NCBI, the dietary fibre of rice ranges from 2.7-9.9%.
Wheat contains about 9-20% of total dietary fibre and contains both soluble and insoluble fibre.
According to data published in NCBI, barley and oats are rich in soluble and insoluble fibres and other bioactive components.
The dietary fibre of rye is 14-20% which is higher when compared to wheat.
Cellulose, fructose and β-glucan are dominant fibres that are present in the rye.
Effects of too much fibre intake
Consumption of fibre can benefit and improve our gut health. However, overconsumption of fibre can cause side effects.
Symptoms of excess fibre intake are listed below.
- Stomach cramps
- Weight gain or loss
- Intestinal blockage and
- Poor absorption of certain nutrients.
Consumption of fibre can benefit our health. Foods like wheat, avocados, rice, rye, green peas, cauliflower, apples, bananas and whole grains are rich in fibre. These foods also contain other nutrients that can benefit our health.
However, overconsumption of fibre can cause side effects like bloating and dehydration. So we should be watchful about our fibre intake.
What food has the highest form of fibre?
Foods like chickpeas, green peas, cauliflower, lentils, berries and pears are rich in fibre.
What fibre helps with digestion?
There are two types of fibre—soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre helps with digestion.
Which fruit is highest in fibre?
Raspberries contain about 8 grams of fibre per cup.
Does fibre help heal the gut?
Fibre helps to keep your gut healthy and improves bowel movement.
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