If you want to avoid bloating and flatulence from fibre, introduce it to your diet gradually – the unwanted symptoms will disappear as your body gets used to it.
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate from plants such as fruit, vegetables and grains, that is not broken down in the intestines by digestive enzymes. There are two forms: soluble fibre, which dissolves in water and becomes a gel-like substance that slows down the movement of food through the digestive tract, and insoluble fibre, which absorbs water and adds bulk, helping to move food through quickly. Here’s why you should include more of both types of fibre into your diet.
1. Relieves constipation
Insoluble fibre sources like wheat and oat bran, and vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, corn and tomatoes help in making the stool bulkier and softer. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation.
2. Lowers cholesterol
Soluble fibre found in oats, beans, flaxseed and oat bran can help to reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol and reduce the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol.
The FDA estimates that together with a diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol levels can drop between 0.5% and 2% for every gram of soluble fibre eaten per day.
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3. Helps in weight management
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-fiber foods are usually less ‘energy dense’, which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
4. Keeps the heart healthy
Studies also have shown that both soluble and insoluble fibre foods have heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
Replace refined grains with fiber-rich whole grains in your diet, and you might lower the risk of a stroke by up to 36% and the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 30%, research shows. Both conditions are tied to an increased risk of getting heart disease.
Did you know that with every 10 grams of fibre you consume daily, your chances of developing a heart disease falls by 14%?
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5. May prevent and control Type 2 diabetes
In people with diabetes, fibre – particularly soluble fibre – can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. In healthy people, a fibre-rich diet may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
6. May reduces the risk of certain cancers
Evidence suggests that fibre (especially insoluble fibre) has the potential to reduce the risk of certain cancers like cancers of the colon, small intestine, stomach and esophagus, as well as breast and ovarian cancers.
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7. Boosts the immune system
A study conducted by University of Illinois showed that soluble fibre sources like oats, nuts and fruits like apples help to reduce inflammation, thereby speeding up the process of recovery after an infection.
8. Improves diet quality
By replacing refined flour products and processed foods with fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, your diet will improve immensely. A fibre-rich diet keeps you energetic, boosts brain power, makes your skin and hair healthy and reduces the risk of ailments such as gallstones, kidney stones, skin conditions and joint pain.