Your digestive health is important when it comes to overall wellness. By absorbing water and creating bulk, fibre speeds up the passage of food through the digestive system helping to prevent constipation.
What Is Fibre?
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot digest. It does not contain any calories and passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed into the blood stream.
Recommended Daily Intake
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily fibre intake of at least 25mg per day. Existing literature indicates that most South Africans are in fact consuming less than the recommended fibre intake, with the existing deficits occurring amongst lower income groups, as well as higher income groups who prefer purchasing expensive refined foods.
Kellogg’s Nutrition and Public Affairs Manager, and registered dietitian, Linda Drummond, agrees that “the current fibre deficit is worrying given that one of the big concerns about people not gaining the benefits of fibre over the long-term is that they may be losing out on protection against certain chronic illnesses which we know are on the rise.”
Benefits Of Dietary Fibre
A diet high in fibre may help reduce the risk of developing:
- Bowel cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Diverticular disease
- Weight gain
Sources Of Fibre
Most unprocessed and unrefined, or those that have been processed or refined as little as possible, contain a combination of functional fibres (soluble and insoluble).
Soluble fibre: Found in fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as oats, barley, and legumes, soluble fibre dissolves in the liquid you have digested and assists in slowing down the absorption of fats and sugars in other foods, keeping your blood sugar stable.
Insoluble fibre: Found in cereals, wheat and oat bran, insoluble fibre soaks up liquid like a sponge and moves through your digestive system as a bulking agent, cleaning it out.
Unlike other nutrients, especially vitamins, there is no upper limit for the intake of daily fibre.
By bridging the fibre gap and including fibre-rich foods, particularly those containing cereal fibre, you are sure to be regular, healthy and well-adjusted… digestively speaking.
Source: Extracts from an article first published in Mamas & Papas Magazine October 2013