You may have heard that fibre keeps your bowels healthy, but did you know that fibre can also help manage your weight, control food cravings, and fight chronic health conditions such as high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?
Fibre is an "indigestible" carbohydrate which means that unlike sugar and starch, it cannot be broken down by the body. This means it does not raise your blood sugar and provides you little to no calories. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fibre is found in wheat and corn bran and the skin of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It does not dissolve in water and passes through the digestive system intact. It acts as "nature's broom" by speeding up the passage of food through the gut. This helps to combat constipation and decrease your risk of hemorrhoids, diverticulosis and colon cancer. Soluble fibre is found in oats, psyllium, legumes, brown rice, barley and fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots and potatoes. It absorbs water and forms a "gel". As it passes through the digestive system, it traps cholesterol and carries it out of the body. It also slows down the digestion and absorption of food which can help you stay full between meals and control your blood sugar levels.
If you're looking to boost your fibre intake, do so gradually and drink plenty of fluids. This will help prevent potential side effects such as gas, bloating and diarrhea. It is important to consult your physician or dietitian if you plan to make any drastic changes to your diet to make sure you do it the right way.
Curious how much fibre you should be getting? Click here to use our Get Enough tool.
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