Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is found naturally in plant-based foods. Such foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and beans. Although it is not digestible in humans, fibre does some remarkable things that impact our health positively as it is moved down the digestive tract.
Difference between Soluble and Insoluble Fibre
Both types of fibre are important to the body but each functions differently. Soluble fibre attracts water and as the name suggests, it attracts water, dissolves in it forming a form of a gel. This gel slows down the digestive process which is beneficial for weight loss. Some foods rich I soluble fibre include nuts, edible plant skins, oats and legumes.
Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, repels water. The primary benefit of insoluble fibre is to provide help in the movement through the digestive tract and also add bulk to stool. Fibre may help you live longer as eating plenty of it lowers the risks of obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and digestive diseases.
Benefits of a Fibre-Rich Diet
Fibre, more specifically insoluble fibre, bulks food in your digestive tract slowing down digestion. This increases satisfaction from food and aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Also, foods rich in fibre tend to have fewer calories meaning you will be full without having to consume extra calories. This is why a high fibre diet is linked to a lower rate of obesity.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Reduction
Consuming foods rich in fibre helps to prevent bile salts produced by the gall bladder from being recirculated. Bile salts are made of cholesterol and by preventing them from being recirculated the body is forced to produce more by picking cholesterol from the liver. Fibre plays a more preventive role in blood pressure.
A high fibre diet helps to keep food clear from pouches in the colon and move more easily n the digestive tract. A condition where pouches form in the colon and become infected is called diverticulitis and having a fibre rich diet lowers its risk sufficiently. Both soluble and insoluble fibre can also play an important role in preventing colon cancer.
Great Sources of Fibre
It is important to note that foods with high levels of fibre commonly have a combination of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Great food sources for fibre include grains like oat bran, brown rice, shredded wheat and raisin bran. Nuts and seeds like almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds. Also, vegetables like kidney beans, green pea, sweet potato and lentils can provide all the fibre you may need. Adding fruits into the mix to bring in natural flavour from the likes of passion fruit, pear, prunes, raspberries and blackberries.
Foods rich in fibre may seem to lack flavour and seem like opposites because we mostly rely on flavour when making out dietary decisions. However, in reality, fibre has both flavour and medicinal effects that both help to lower the risks and prevent common diseases.