Very often, we keep hearing about high fibre diet may be from our family physician, our gym instructor or from our dietician friend. But do we exactly know what this fibre food actually means? It is very important to educate ourselves before making any change in our routine diet. Yes, high fibre diets do have many benefits like lowering blood sugar, cholesterol and weight loss. But suddenly, if we switch on to such a diet completely, our digestive system may be disturbed leading to lot of problems like intestinal gas, bloating, constipation and many more. So, it is important for us to change our diet slowly and in right quantity. Fibre foods are mainly plant extract foods which can be either soluble or insoluble fibre. They are usually found in the outer cell layers of whole grains and plants which remain undigested in the gut. Since they are not digested in the intestine, they in turn, effect the digestion of other food and modulate the consistency of stool. Dietary fibres contain both soluble and insoluble fibres essential for our body and have their own benefits. Soluble fibres contain complex carbohydrate and are soluble in water which result in the formation of gel like substance in the gut and gives the sensation of fullness. Insoluble fibres remain unchanged in the gut and result to stool bulk.
In today's time, people have become very weight conscious, not only for health reason but also to look good and stay fit. Therefore many a times, along with an exercise regime, we tend to change our diet suddenly without a proper knowledge base. Fibre diet has become so popular not only for medically recommended reasons but also for weight management reason. So, it is important for us to know some basic facts of high fibre food. Fibres as already mentioned are plants extract that cannot be digested by our digestive enzymes. Hence, they give the sensation of fullness after consumption and provide the bulk of stool which helps to clean our bowel. So while having fibres in our diet, we are required to consume plenty of water which will aid the excretion process. Normally, in case of adults, about 30 gm of fibres is recommended for males and 25 gm in case of females. High fibre diet should not be given to preschool children as this kind of diet gives the sensation of fullness for which they may missed out their required intake of vitamin and minerals. Grown up children can have some amount of fibres along with their routine diet because of its health benefits. Clinically proven that intake of fibres in generous amount help in reducing the risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders and obesity. Fibre content of diet is not digested inside the body, hence, it not added to the blood sugar level. Fibre diets have been found to reduce the post prandial glycaemia and increases the insulin sensitivity. So it is highly recommended to diabetics. Ample studies have proven that fibre diet helps to lower the blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, improves immunity, helps in weight loss and maintains the regularity of bowel. Studies have proved that fibre intake also reduces the risk of large bowel cancers.
High fibre food has become highly popular for its association with weight loss. As both soluble and insoluble fibres remain undigested in the body, they result in the fullness of the stomach when consumed. So, a person consuming fibre food would eat fewer amounts as compared to the amount of his intake of normal carbohydrate rich food. This fibre food requires longer chewing time, so prolong chewing would also resist eating enough. Such food gives sensation of stomach bulkiness so the person remains satiety for a long time. Since this takes a longer time to digest, glucose formation becomes very slow and the insulin response is also slower. Therefore, we tend to eat less, does not feel hungry for a long time and as a result lose excessive weight.
Fibres of different variety should be consumed to get the varied health benefits of high fibre diet. With advancement of food science, fibre content is found to be maximum in case of bran of food grains and peels of fruits and vegetables. Food manufacturer has also started to incorporate dietary fibres in food products. Whole wheat, rice, oat and corn along with their bran are high sources of dietary fibres. Insoluble fibres found in rice, wheat, corn along with their bran give the bulkiness in stomach and help to prevent constipation. Soluble fibres found in oat bran helps to reduce cholesterol level. We should always remember to drink enough water while having fibre diet on routine basis to get its maximum benefits. Apart from this, various varieties of fruits, berries, dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of fibres with various health benefits. Not only fibres, fruits and vegetables are also rich sources of much needed vitamins and minerals. Apart from fresh fruits, various types of dry fruits and nuts are also rich sources of fibres. Again food product like juices, dairy products (like soy milk, yogurt) which are fortified with fibres can be added to our list of diet food.
High fibre diet is no doubt, good and healthy. As long as we are aware of the fibre content and quantity of intake in our diet, we are bound to be beneficial of its effects. It is necessary to take the right quantity and variety of fibre food to get the best benefits. At the end of the day, each one of us is worth to stay fit and healthy.
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A Medical Professional, enthusiastic in writing on health related topics.