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10 reasons you should eat fibre-rich foods

Here's a detailed account on health benefits of fibres, from maintaining digestive health to preventing diabetes and cancer.

Written by Shraddha Rupavate |Updated : April 2, 2015 5:24 PM IST

Fibre rich foodsWe all are aware that fibre is good for our health in some way. But when it comes to actual consumption, it is still ignored to a great extent. On an average, an Indian consumes only 14 grams of fibre everyday while the recommended daily allowance is 25 grams for adult women and 38 grams for adult men.

Fibre is an excellent nutrient that offers staggering array of health benefits. In fact, the health benefits of fibres are much more significant than other nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

1. Relieves constipation:

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Fibre sources like wheat and oat bran, and vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, maize and tomatoes influence stool consistency and increase stool bulk. They help in making the stool softer, thereby reducing the time for fecal transition through the bowel. Try these effective home remedies to relieve constipation problems.

2. Lowers cholesterol

Soluble fibres in oats, beans, flax seeds and citrus fruits help to reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol. This causes a decrease in total blood cholesterol levels by reducing the level of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein- LDL). Here are more health benefits of oats.

3. Helps in weight loss and management:

There is strong clinical as well as observational evidence that fibres may help in controlling and reducing weight along with other factors. High fibre foods make you feel full even when you eat lesser amount of calories. It also delays the time for digestion, so you don't feel hungry for a long time. This also gives the digestive system more time to absorb energy and nutrition from foods you eat.Here's a simple guide for weight loss.

4. Treats and prevents childhood obesity

A study had shown that obese children who consumed about 15 grams of dietary bre everyday, as a part of reduced-calorie diet, lost more weight as compared to non- bre treatment period. Read more articles on childhood obesity.

5. Keeps the heart healthy:

Did you know that with every 10 grams of fibre you consume daily, your chances of developing a heart disease falls by 14 percent? Studies have shown that both insoluble as well as soluble fibres play a role in keeping the heart healthy. Insoluble fibre sources such as whole grains, wheat bran and vegetables including carrots are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. It also benefits people having heart diseases by slowing down the progression of the disease. Soluble fibre sources such as oats, peas, beans and citrus fruits like oranges and mosambis decrease the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases. Read more about how fibres help in preventing heart diseases.

6. Prevents and controls type 2 diabetes:

Eating fibre rich foods can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes upto one third. Several studies have shown that certain fibres cause delayed absorption of glucose into the blood stream which helps in blood sugar control. Take a look at these natural ways to control diabetes and some tips to prevent diabetes.

7. Prevents inflammation of appendix (appendicitis)

Appendicitis is mainly caused when food gets stuck into the small pouch called appendix that's attached to the right side of your intestine. When food travels through the intestine, thick fibres sweep the intestine just like a broom and prevent food particles from getting stuck in the opening of your appendix.

8. Reducing the risk of certain cancers:

The benefits of fibres are not just confined to digestive health. Evidence suggests that fibres (especially insoluble fibres) have the potential to reduce the risk of certain cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer stomach and esophagus cancer, if taken in specific amounts. For example, increasing the intake of fibre from 13 grams to 25 grams would drop your risk of developing bowel cancer by almost 40 percent. Insoluble fibres are the non-digestible part of foods, which act like cleaners and eliminate all the toxins out of the body. They are also rich in antioxidants that help in fighting cancer. Read more about the role of fibres in preventing cancer.

9. Boosts the immune system:

A study conducted by University of Illinois showed that soluble fibres sources like oats, nuts and fruits like apples drive the personality of cells of the immune system. They enhance the production of anti-inflammatory protein called interleukin-4. This protein helps to reduce inflammation, thereby speeding up the process of recovery after an infection. Here are some more natural remedies to boost the immune system.

10. Improves diet quality

If fibre is used as a replacement for other unhealthy, processed foods your quality of diet will improve immensely. A fibre rich diet keeps you energetic, boosts brain power, keeps the skin and hair beautiful and healthy and reduces the risk for several other diseases such as kidney stones, skin problems and joint problems.

References:

  • Indian Council of Medical Research. Nutrient Requirements And Recommended Dietary Allowances For Indians
  • Fiber Ingredients: Food Applications and Health Benefits- Edited by Susan Sungsoo Cho and Priscilla Samuel
  • James W Anderson and colleagues. Health bene ts of dietary ber.

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