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Fibre is Your Friend: Why This Nutrient is Essential for Your Diet and Health

by Healthy Lifestyle the story about a month ago in diet
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Diet & Health

Fibre is Your Friend: Why This Nutrient is Essential for Your Diet and Health
Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard that fibre is great for your health, but what exactly does that mean? Fibre helps promote digestion and keeps you feeling full longer so you can avoid cravings throughout the day; it also keeps your digestive system functioning at its best and has even been shown to protect against some forms of cancer and heart disease. If you want to learn more about why fibre is so important, read on!

You need fibre

We’ve heard it over and over again, but your diet does need more fibre. There are two main reasons why: fibre takes time to digest, helping you feel fuller longer; plus, it can also help you avoid cravings. It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals that boost your health and keep your body functioning at its best. Talk about a superfood! Incorporating healthy whole grains into a balanced diet—like brown rice or quinoa—is an easy way to add extra fibre. Whole grains take longer to digest than processed foods, which helps curb those uncontrollable cravings by keeping blood sugar levels stable in the long term.

Fibre Helps Fight Off Disease

Fibre not only keeps your digestive system running smoothly, but it also helps fight off disease. Fibre can keep you from absorbing some of the cholesterol in foods like meat and eggs, reducing your overall intake. Fibre can also lower blood pressure, making it easier for blood to flow through your arteries to feed your muscles. Studies even show that people who eat more fibre are less likely to suffer from colon cancer or heart disease.

Fibre Boosts Your Immune System

For your immune system to function at its best, it needs to have a variety of nutrients in its toolbox. One of those tools? Dietary fibre. Fibre helps support gut health—and a healthy gut, with a diverse microbiome population, can help keep you resistant to illness. You can find fibre in many fruits and vegetables; however, grains like oats are also an excellent source of soluble fibre (which provides health benefits). What’s more, a study published in JAMA showed that consuming 40 grams of oat-based beta-glucan daily helped lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation—great news if you’ve been told you have high cholesterol or if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease.

Fiber Keeps You Full

You might not think of fibre as a way to lose weight, but it’s an effective tool. Eating a diet high in fibre could help you lose nearly three times as much weight—and in a quarter of the time—as those who don’t eat any fibre at all. That’s because foods that are high in fibre tend to take longer to digest than other kinds of food (like sugar), keeping you fuller for longer so that you don’t overeat. To reap all of these benefits without having to overhaul your entire diet, work some more fibre into your daily routine by adding it into recipes or snacks that already taste great.

Indigestible Fiber Fights Inflammation

When you eat indigestible fibre, your gut bacteria eats it, too. Bacteria in your gut can ferment certain kinds of fibre to produce short-chain fatty acids—including butyrate—which act as nutrients for your colon cells. In other words, by consuming indigestible fibre, you can feed beneficial bacteria in your gut. These bacteria have also been linked to reductions in inflammation throughout your body. And because they’re feeding on fibrous material instead of bad food or excess calories from sugar, processed foods or fat—they help prevent weight gain (1). You should aim to include at least three servings of whole grains a day as part of a high-fibre diet.

Soluble Fiber Lowers Blood Sugar

Soluble fibre (found in foods like beans, oats, and barley) can help lower blood sugar. Foods that are high in soluble fibre will also make you feel fuller and longer. Who doesn’t want that?

Fibre Prevents Overeating

Your body has to work hard to digest fibre, which means you feel fuller longer. In addition, studies show that eating foods rich in fibre can lower your calorie intake over time. The more fibre you get in your diet, the better it will be for your health and waistline. Although all foods with any type of plant matter—vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits—contain some amount of fibre (and many processed foods contain added fibre), most people aren’t getting enough. For women aged 19-50 years old, recommended daily fibre intake is 25 grams; women aged 51 years or older need 21 grams a day; men need 38 grams a day, and boys aged 9-13 years old need between 31 and 38 grams per day.

Fibre Can Help Control Cravings

It’s no secret that too much sugar, salt, and saturated fat can leave you feeling like you want to pull your hair out. But did you know that a lack of fibre could be what’s driving those cravings? That’s because eating high-fibre foods helps to keep blood sugar levels steady.

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

Fibre helps you feel full longer

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