Facts About Fiber That You Need To Know!
Your mom has probably been nagging you to eat more fibre, and while you have a vague idea that fruits and veggies have fibre, you’re not 100% percent sure what it is or why you need it. Well, here’s what you need to know!
1. Fibre is a type of complex carbohydrate that the body cannot digest.
Your body breaks down most carbs into glucose, which it uses for energy. However, fibre consists of such complex carbohydrates that the body cannot digest them, so they pass through the system undigested.
2. Fibre has 0 calories and no nutrition.
Since your body cannot digest fibre, it does not add to your calorie count or nutritional intake.
3. The main benefit of fibre is that it keeps your digestive system healthy, preventing constipation and flatulence.
We’ll spare you the gross details, but fibre basically keeps your digestive system going, and lack of it could lead to some very uncomfortable bathroom episodes.
4. Adults require about 30 grams of fibre every day.
Most of us don’t get as much fibre as we need, so we need to step up our intake.
5. The older you get, the more fibre you require.
Your digestive system is padded with muscles that help get the food you eat from Point A to Point B. However, as you get older, these muscles get weaker, so your system needs more fibre to be able to process food.
6. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains are rich in fibre.
Some of the richest sources of fibre include corn, celery, carrots, bananas, peas, broccoli, apples, oranges, pears, beans, lentils, avocados, whole wheat foods, brown rice, oatmeal and almonds.
7. Whole fruits are better than fruit juice any day, because when you drink juice you lose out on fibre!
When you make juice, you tend to strain out all the pulp and throw it away, however that’s actually precious fibre that you’re missing out on. A cup of apple juice for example, is made with about 3-4 apples. Each apple contains roughly 3.75 grams of fibre, so that’s 12-15 grams of fibre that you’re losing!
8. Meat and dairy products have no fibre.
Meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products contain no dietary fibre at all.
9. There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre dissolves in the stomach, creating a sticky gel-like substance that traps sugar and fats and slows down their absorption. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve; instead it absorbs water and grows in size. Oatmeal is a good example to help us understand the two types of fibre. If you’ve ever cooked oatmeal, you’ve probably noticed that as it cooks, it absorbs water and grows in size. This is because of the insoluble fibre. You’ve probably noticed that your porridge has a gluey consistency. This is due to the soluble fibre.
10. Eating plenty of fibre every day can also help you lose weight.
To begin with, fibre takes time to pass through your system and keeps you full for longer, so you’ll probably eat less at mealtimes. It also has a lower energy density, which is good for overweight people, and it slows down the absorption of sugar from your intestine. Studies show that people who eat more fibre tend to be slimmer than those who don’t.
11. Fibre is essential for diabetics. In fact, it can even help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is all about controlling your blood sugar levels, and since fibre helps slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestine into the blood, it is essential for diabetics. Research shows that eating a high-fibre diet can help reduce your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes considerably.
12. Fibre also reduces your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Fibre lowers your cholesterol levels by binding to the bile in your system and preventing your intestines from using it for digestion. This forces your liver to use the cholesterol in your blood to produce more bile. And voila, lower blood cholesterol!
Fibre also lowers your blood pressure significantly. Several research studies have found that eating fibre regularly can lower both your systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure levels.
13. Fibre can prevent cancer, especially colon cancer.
By flushing things out of your colon on time, fibre prevents a build-up of toxins and thereby protects you against colorectal cancer. Preliminary studies also show that fibre can prevent other types of cancer as well.