What Is a High - Fibre Diet
Adding more fibre to your diet is one of the easiest and most effective incorporations for a healthy gut and keeping your digestive system happy. Fibre is usually found in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, sprouts and lentils. It is part of the carbohydrate component. Unlike other components like fat, proteins and carbohydrates, the body does not absorb fibre, but its presence in the digestive tract holds immense benefits.
There are two types of fibre and a balanced diet should have a mix of both.
- Viscous/insoluble fibre - These are found in nuts, dried fruits, beans, whole grains and wheat, sweetcorn, broccoli, and carrots. Increasing intake of insoluble fibre helps to relieve constipation and other digestive problems.
- Non-viscous/ Soluble fibre - You can get these by eating pulses, beans, oats, barley, fruits like apples, avocados and oranges. A balanced intake of soluble fibre helps to slow down your digestion and lower cholesterol level.
How Much Is Needed
The right amount of fibre should be consumed. Starchy carbohydrates should make up 40% of the diet. For average adults, 30g of fibre per day is recommended. The thumb rule is that for every 1000 calories consumed the body needs 14 g of fibre. it’s best to start slow in the beginning to prevent any unwanted side effects. Our lead nutritionist Dr Shweta P opines - “If you have any kind of inflammatory bowel disease such as IBS, leaky gut, colitis avoid any kind of fibre supplement as it might worsen your condition. If you suffer Crohn's disease (narrowing in the intestine), it’s advisable to avoid insoluble fibre as it may lead to blockage of the bowel”.
Advantages of a High - Fibre Diet
A Healthy Weight
A high fibre diet involves eating fruits and vegetables that are naturally lower in calories. Fibre slows down the digestion process which helps to keep you fuller and cut down on snacking unnecessary junk.
Fibre helps to lower cholesterol absorption by the body. Soluble fibre attaches itself to the cholesterol component in the digestive tract and prevents it from entering the bloodstream. The cholesterol is dispelled along with fibre (1).
Adding Bulk to Digestive Tract
Let’s talk about Poop! Sometimes our digestive system can become uncomfortable and lethargic, this affects our performance for the entire day. Fibre helps to renew a sluggish digestive system, it bulks up the stool and stimulates the intestines. A bulky stool is easier to pass and lowers your chance of constipation.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Fibre helps to maintain a healthy bowel environment by lowering the risk of developing small pouches in your colon called diverticular diseases. Studies have found that fibre plays a role in decreasing the chances of haemorrhoid and colon cancer (2).
Promotes Blood Sugar
The body takes longer to break down fibre rich food, which in turn decreases the glucose released in your blood. Particularly soluble fibre can slow down sugar absorption in your body. A high-fibre diet is especially beneficial for individuals with diabetes. Soluble fibre specifically helped increase insulin sensitivity, lowered blood sugar, and reduced cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes(3).
Tips to get your daily fibre
- Indian Diet is already inclusive of Dal, rice and dal is our comfort food. You can also use them to make patties, kebabs and chilas.
- You can replace your white rice with unpolished rice and other rice varieties like wild rice, red rice, black rice and brown rice which are high in fibre and other nutrients.
- Make your snacks count by choosing a handful of nuts, dried fruits, popcorn or a vegetable platter with hummus.
- While shopping if you’re looking for fibre-rich carbohydrates, make sure to look for the word ‘whole grain’. Multigrain means there are different grains; it doesn’t guarantee that there’s whole grain.
- Switching flours from Maida to other alternatives like Rajgir, buckwheat, whole wheat flour and other whole grains like millets and quinoa.
- Not only for your curries, but you can also bulk up your soups and salads with beans and lentils, even make chutneys.
- Nothing can replace green leafy vegetables and fruits. Cauliflower, spinach, mangos, papaya, jackfruit are just a few to mention.
Strong evidence suggests that a high fibre diet has many health benefits so it’s time to celebrate the good carbohydrates. Fibre is super important to keep your gut happy and healthy. Help your gut bacteria to flourish and try out some new recipes.