Why Fibre is so important
Fibre is an important component of a healthy diet and it’s something that most people aren’t eating enough of. Some of the health benefits include:Soluble fibre can help control our blood sugar levels by slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates and absorption of sugar. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to our stools so that they can keep our bowel movements regular. Fibre can aid in weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness so you eat less and it can help move toxins out of the body, preventing them from being extracted via the skin, which can improve skin health.
Fibre is plant roughage that resists digestion, some examples are fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. Since fibre is the part of food that can’t be digested, it moves through our bodies, keeping our stomach, colon and small intestine clean and healthy and get rid of things that shouldn’t be there, such as toxins, waste and cholesterol. Fibre is needed for colon and gut health, weight control, clear skin and cardiovascular health and blood sugar control.
There are two types of fibre, soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a thick gel in your intestines which slows down digestion. It helps to stabilize blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and can help to lower LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol by collecting fatty deposits as it moves through the intestine. Soluble fibre helps to keep you fuller for longer which can help with weight loss. Foods that are high in soluble fibre include oats, barley, potato’s, kumara, carrots, bananas, apples, nuts, seeds, lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas. Insoluble fibre add bulk to your stool and helps to keep bowels regular. It is found in the outer skins of seeds and grains which are not easily digested. Insoluble fibre is often referred to as a broom for your intestine because it works like a broom through the bowel. Foods that are high in insoluble fibre include kidney beans, lentils, flax seeds, wheat bran, peas, broccoli and oats.
As adults we should be aiming to eat 30 grams of fibre per day. Research has found that New Zealanders are eating less than half the recommended amount. By making a few daily adjustments, we can all increase the amount of fibre we eat per day to help improve our health. Add fruit and/or nuts and seeds to our oats in the morning, pack some fruit to snack on throughout the day, bulk up salads with beans, lentils and extra vegetables, when roasting vegetables leave the skin on, swap pasta for quinoa, beans and or lentils, swap boxed cereal for oats and snack on nuts, seeds and popcorn.
How do you increase your fibre intake every day?