Saturday, 16 July 2016

Fibre in Food- What's good about it?

What is fibre?

Fibre is an indigestible form of carbohydrate that is found in both plants and nuts. Some are soluble making it possible to be absorbed into our body system after consuming it, while others are not. It is found in many plants and nuts in varying amount.

There are two types of fibre. Soluble, and insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre is found in many beans and some fruits. It’s called soluble because it dissolves in water and forms a gel like material in the intestine. This gel like material binds to fatty acid and bile acid, thus reducing blood cholesterol level. Soluble fbres help in reducing rate of digestion. When the digestion process is slowed, it reduces spikes in blood glucose level. 

This helps in regulating body sugar level which is beneficial for people with diabetes and prevent high sugar level in others.

Several studies have backed this effects of soluble fibres. This positive effect of preventing the rapid rise of blood sugar has been shown by many research studies. Recently, a group of scientists from Warwick Medical School looked at 23 scientific studies done on the effects of fibres on blood cholesterol level as well as blood pressure. 

"aiming for 30g of soluble fibre per day has been proven to reduce blood cholesterol level and help in blood sugar control"


They concluded that increasing dietary fibres improves blood cholesterol as well as surprisingly reducing diastolic blood pressure.  Diastolic blood pressure is the denominator of the blood pressure reading, and it’s best kept below 90mmHg to prevent the heart from pumping too hard.

What is the role of Insoluble Fibre?

while this form of fibre does not dissolve to be taken into the blood stream it has benefits on stool formation. One consumed it works in the large bowel by absorbing water and contributing to ‘bulking the stools’. This relieves constipation.

Where do we get fibres from?

Best method of getting the fibre is by eating the food rich in fibre. Recommended fibre intake by the US Department of Health is 14g per 1000 calorie. This roughly translates to about 28 to 35g of fibre intake per day, depending on your calorie intake.

Image |Pixabay
So which food has the highest amount of fibre? Navy beans contain the highest amount of fibre. According to US Department of Health, cooked navy beans have 9.6g of soluble and insoluble fibre in half cup. 

Apart from fibre, navy beans are also filled with Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Iron. Chickpeas are also rich in fibres. It contains 8.1g of fibre in ½ cup.
Locally available fruits such as papaya and durian are rich in fibre too. Banana contains 3.1g of fibre in each. Papaya has 2.1g of fibre, and durian has approximately 1g of fibre in each of its seeds.

As we know , soluble fibre is more effective in controlling blood cholesterol level along with reducing blood sugar. Among fruits, passion fruit has the highest amount of soluble fibre with 6.5g of fibre per 125ml juice. Avocado contains 2.1 g of fibre in half fruit.

In conclusion, aiming for 30g of soluble fibre per day has been proven to reduce blood cholesterol level and help in blood sugar control. Let’s choose fibre rich food to be added in our diet and live a healthy life!

For Further Reading

US Dietary Guidelines 2015 –http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/

Food Sources rich in soluble fibre, by Dietitians of Canada - 

Systemic review on dietary fibre’s effect on cardiovascular health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26758499

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