Image Credits: Randy Glasbergen
Did you know that fibre in your diet actually helps to reduce your cholesterol? Dietary fibre has many health benefits. Some, like this one, are not known widely.
Dietary fibre includes the parts of plant foods that the body can’t digest or absorb. Instead, it passes relatively intact through the stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of the body.
Types of dietary fibre:
Benefits of a high-fibre diet
Apart from the well-known benefits listed above, a high-fibre diet has other benefits too like the following:
- Lowers cholesterol levels: Soluble fibre can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fibre a day decreases your LDL cholesterol. Soluble fibre turns into a gel during the digestive process and prevents cholesterol, fat, and sugars from being absorbed by the body
- Heart health: High-fibre foods help in reducing blood pressure and inflammation and keep your heart healthy
- Helps control blood sugar levels: Fibre can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Aids in achieving a healthy weight: High-fibre foods tend to be more filling than low-fibre foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fibre foods tend to take longer to eat and are less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- Gallstones and kidney stones: A high-fibre diet may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, likely because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.
- Skin health: Fibre, particularly psyllium husk (popularly known as Isabgol), may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing them from being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.
A word of caution:
High-fibre foods are good for your health. But adding too much fibre too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fibre in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.
Note: It is important to drink plenty of water. Fibre works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.
Know the truth about Processed Foods advertised to be High Fibre
The food industry has hijacked the advice to eat more fibre by putting isolated, highly processed fibre into what are essentially junk foods. Such processed foods typically contain combinations of processed starch and added sugar and are low in vitamins and minerals. Just adding isolated fibre back into such processed foods does not cover up for those nutritional deficiencies. So, you are better off getting the fibre from natural sources than relying on processed food.
Natural fibre rich food therefore serves many purposes and hence all the more reason why you should have more of them!
Credits: Mayo Clinic
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