Why Should People Increase Fiber in Meals?

A plant-derived carbohydrate is fibre. The small intestine does not digest or absorb fibre like it does with other carbohydrates (sugar and starch). Instead, it enters the large intestine undigested and is wholly or partially metabolised there by the bacteria that normally reside there. Fibres are important part of a healthy and a balanced diet.

Speaking of the same, Neelam Ali, Dietician, Noida International Institute Medical Sciences told HT Lifestyle, “To begin with, a daily fibre intake of 35 grams for males and 28-30 grams for women is advised. What we really eat amounts to roughly half on an average.” Adding to the same, Nutritionist Sonia Bakshi told HT Lifestyle, “Indian foods like Lentils(dal), Banana, Barley(jau), Nuts, Cucumber, Wholegrains (amaranth, kuttu, ragi, bajra, dalia, jowar) are rich in Fibre. It is recommended to increase fiber intake slowly otherwise it can lead to constipation and bloating.”

The nutritionists further noted down the health benefits that fiber helps in bringing:

Regulates blood sugar: Fibrous foods have a low glycemic index (GI), which is a measurement of how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level after you eat it. This lowers insulin sensitivity. Blood sugar increases can be prevented by soluble fibre. In water, it absorbs water and create a gel-like material that slows the intestinal absorption of monosacc rides. Instead of a sugar, this causes the blood sugar to be steadily regulated.

Regular bowel movements: Fiber makes your faeces bulkier. This makes the stool softer and larger. The risk of constipation decreases when your stool becomes more bulky and easier to pass.

Healthy weight management: This is encouraged by a diet rich in dietary fibre, which increases feelings of fullness and helps avoid obesity. Since fibrous foods are nutrient- and energy-dense and have fewer calories per unit of food than other foods, they help you avoid taking too many calories.

Lowers cholesterol: In the small intestine, soluble fibre binds to cholesterol and reduces it. The fibre binds to the cholesterol particles once it is inside the small intestine, keeping them from entering your bloodstream and spreading to other areas of your body.

Heart diseases: A diet rich in soluble fiber keeps the LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels in check, overall reducing total cholesterol, which helps keep arteries unclogged. This results in less inflammation, thereby reducing pressure on the heart, lowering chances of heart diseases.

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