Updated: Feb 21
Fibres are arguably a nutrient that has been seen to be exclusively present in plant sources of foods. They are a structural polymer of the plant foods' cell walls. They are present in virtually all plant foods including leaves and roots, stems and fruits of all plant edibles. They are also known as roughages. Fibres have numerous health benefits that would surprise you and are worth knowing. You should read this till the end.
Fibre is mostly considered as the food component (basically carbohydrate) that the body cannot digest. Unlike other forms of carbohydrate, fibre cannot be metabolised (broken down) into glucose or used as an energy source. It was just created to go through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and support the body to add bulk to solid wastes as they exit the body.
Fibres are typically grouped into two categories. They are soluble and insoluble fibres.
Soluble fibres are those that can be dissolved in water when they come in contact with water. Examples are Oats, beans, nuts, lentils, apples, blueberries, etc.
While insoluble fibres are those that will not dissolve in water when they are in contact. They include tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, etc.
Regardless, both soluble and insoluble fibres still do not get digested by the body's digestive system. But the great stuff about this is that they get to release every nutrient that is naturally attached to them. This right here is a reason why foods that have them (plant foods) are the best option for controlling diabetes, high cholesterol and many other lifestyle diseases.
About 30-40 grams of fibre is recommended to be eaten daily by an average adult. This can be achieved especially when we have more whole plant foods in our meals.
Just before we look at the fibre sources and the best ways to eat more of them, let us take a look at a number of their benefits to health.
Other benefits of fibre include:
Their presence in foods helps to effectively manage diabetes
They help to lower blood cholesterol
They help to reduce over-eating and the onset of obesity.
Foods rich in fibre keep you full for longer because they are filling
They improve heart functions and prevent disease.
They help to prevent the deposit of toxins in the colon and other parts of the body.
Fibres help to improve bowel movement and colon cleansing.
Some of the foods with the highest fibre contents are whole wheat, legumes, fr units, whole grains and cereals, vegetables, nuts, pulses, etc.
Check out the following tips on how to include more fibre in your meals daily.
Replace all processed foods with their whole version. Replace white rice with brown rice. White bread with any whole grain version of it.
Eat at least one fruit with every meal every day.
Substitute meat for beans and other legumes, tofu, etc.
Have whole fruits and vegetables as snacks during breaks instead of unhealthy ultra-processed substances like chips, chocolates, candies, pastries, ice-creams etc.
Eat more whole foods like oats and whole-grain pasta for breakfast instead of waffles.
Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
Eats fruits that are in season.