How To Increase Your Fibre Intake
What is fibre?
Dietary fibre is obtained from plant foods and is essential for a healthy digestive system. Fibre is indigestible so it passes through our gastrointestinal tract with only minor changes before being excreted. It plays a beneficial role in the prevention and management of numerous lifestyle diseases.
Types of fibre
There are two different forms of fibre, both need to be included in our diet:
Soluble fibre: Soluble fibre is partially dissolvable in water and forms a gel when consumed. The gel slows the rate at which food is digested which makes you feel fuller for longer. The gel also has the function of removing cholesterol from your body, thereby lowering blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre assists with constipation by softening the stool.
Insoluble fibre: This type of fibre provides bulk to your stool, it moves through the digestive tract relatively unchanged and is not dissolvable in liquid. It is responsible for moving materials through your digestive tract at a faster rate which is essential for regular bowel motions and the prevention of constipation.
Resistant starch: Resistant starch is not technically fibre but it has similar characteristics in the way it is digested. Alike fibre, it makes its way to the large intestine relatively undigested. Once in the large intestine, it undergoes fermentation by bacteria and the by-products produced from this process (fatty acids) are very beneficial for digestive tract health. The resulting fatty acids also have the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Good sources: Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate and is found in pasta, legumes, potato and unripe bananas. Hi- maize is a type of corn that also has high levels of resistant starch, it is commonly added to breads and cereals and will usually be advertised on the product label.
The benefits of fibre
- Promotes the growth of good bacteria
- Regulating bowel movements
- Weight management
- Prevention of lifestyle disease:
- Heart disease: Soluble fibre binds to cholesterol and increases the amount excreted from the body. Lowered blood cholesterol levels decrease the build up of fatty material and plaque on arteries, allowing blood to flow freely and reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Cancer: Fibre reduces the risk of colon cancer by speeding up the transit time of food. The increased speed of transit reduces the bowels exposure to the carcinogenic properties of waste products.
- Diabetes: Fibre helps to control blood glucose levels by releasing glucose in to the blood stream at a much slower rate. This prevents a sudden spike in blood glucose levels. This as well is beneficial for individuals who do not have diabetes.
- Fibre prevents diverticulitis and hemorrhoids by providing bulk and regular bowel motions.
Now what to eat?!
For advice and examples of substituting low fibre foods for high fibre choices to boost your fiber intake, please contact ENT Wellbeing Diet and Nutrition and our dietitian Belinda Elwin can write up a plan for you for sustainable healthy eating. Phone us today on 1300 123 368.