Importance of Dietary Fibre
Updated: Mar 29
Dietary Fibre is an essential nutrient required for the proper digestion of foods, proper functioning of the digestive tract, and helping you give Satiety.
Senior Nutritionist Khushbu Shah briefs the importance of dietary fiber, its types, and its importance in our diet.
There are 2 significant types of Fibre
Role of Fibre in the Digestive Tract
Dietary fibre mixes with partially digested food in the stomach
In the small intestine, Soluble Fibre entraps Sugar, Cholesterol and Fats slowing their absorption in the body.
Hydration of the Fibre i.e. it mixes with water and forms gel-like substance that increases the viscosity of food mass giving the feeling of fullness which actually increases the Satiety value in the stomach.
In the Large Intestine, the Polysaccharide Fibre gets metabolised by the bacteria and creates Short-chain Fatty acids.
Thus Aids in Bulking of the food which promotes the regularity of Bowel Movement.
Benefits of High Fibre Diet
Normalises Bowel Movement: Dietary Fibre increases the weight and Size of the Stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass decreasing the chances of Constipation.
Helps in Curing Diarrhoea: In case of Diarrhoea, Fibre helps in solidifying the stool as the Soluble Fibre will absorb water and add bulk to the stool.
Helps Maintain Bowel Health: A high Fibre Diet may lower the risk of developing Haemorrhoids and Diverticulitis. Studies have proved that it also helps to lower the risk of Colon Cancer.
Lowers Cholesterol: Soluble fibre lowers cholesterol by binding to it in the small intestine. Once inside the small intestine, the fibre attaches to the cholesterol particles, preventing them from entering into the bloodstream and travelling to other parts of the body. Instead, cholesterol will exit the body through the faeces.
Helps Control Blood Sugar: In people with diabetes, fibre — particularly soluble fibre — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fibre may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Maintenance of weight: Consumption of High Fibre foods tends to give more Feeling of fullness i.e. higher Satiety Value than low fibre foods, thus making the person eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fibre foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less "energy-dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
What should be your fibre intake per day?
As per RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance), the requirement of Dietary Fibre is different at various age groups. Let us see in the below table the amount of Fibre required at various age groups by Males and Females.
Best Fibre Choices
Plant-based foods are an excellent source of dietary fibre. Below are the examples of food groups to be included in the diet to increase the Fibre Content on a daily basis.
1. Fruits and Vegetables.
2. Nuts and oilseeds
3. Whole Pulses and Legumes
4. Whole Grain products
Quick Tips to increase the Fibre Content in the Daily Diet
Startup the day with High Fibre Breakfast option like adding veggies to your hot Break fats items or simply having Oat Bran or Whole Cereals in the Breakfast
Switch more to the whole grains food items rather than the processed ones like the ones made out of Maida or Refined flour.
Add beans or lentils to the Salad, Soups and Side dishes.
Eat more fruits and Vegetables like approximately 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day. Prefer to eat them with the skin as the skin contains a lot of fibre.
Choose Healthy snacking options like a handful of Nuts, Dried fruits, Roasted Chana, Makkhanas or Sprouts.
Author: Khushbu Shah (Post Graduate in Clinical Nutrition)
KS Nutrition, Mumbai
Disclaimer: Blog is generated for informative purposes. Views expressed in the blog are personal and belong to the author of the blog. Lifetrons is publishing it on behalf of the author.