The Wonders of Fibre
Here's a truly great addition to your diet-fibre,
and more of it!
Fibre has positioned
itself as an invaluable
component in the daily diet. Its benefits are
limitless- from including
regular bowel movements to lowering cholesterol to
reducing the risk for
certain diseases such as cancer, obesity, heart
disease and diabetes.
For years, people consumed fibre by eating fruits
and vegetables. Now,
there are other sources of fibre available,
including whole grains, which
contain the entire grain kernel- brain germ and
endosperm. Examples of
whole-grain foods are whole-wheat flour, cracked
wheat, oatmeal, whole
cornmeal and brown rice.
Because many people fail to reach the dietary
allowance for fibre,
commercial fibre preparations are now also available
in the market as
supplements, including those that contain psyllium
husks or oat brains.
Fibre at work
Fibre is an edible part of plants or similar sources
of carbohydrates. It Is
resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestines. It ferments
in the large intestines, helping us pass stools.
There are two forms of fibre: soluble and insoluble.
dissolves in liquid to form a gel . It binds with
bile acids, prolongs
stomach-emptying time and increases the bulk and
moisture of faeces.
Soluble fibre al so helps in lowering cholesterol,
regulating blood sugar,
managing our weight and regularising bowel
movements. Sources of
soluble fibre include psyllium, oats, fruits,
vegetables and legumes.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in liquid and
passes through the
digestive tract intact. It moves bulk, promotes
regular bowel movement
and prevents constipation. It also maintains an
optimal pH (a measure
of acidity or alkalinity) in the intestines to
prevent the growth of cancer promoting microbes.
Whole-wheat products, corn bran and fruit and
vegetable skins and roots are sources of insoluble
Call for change
Our body needs about 25g of fibre daily. That's a
whole lot of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, people do not consume as
much of these foods as they need.
By avoiding food traps such as fast foods and
and diligently incorporating fibre in our diet, we
can push ourselves away from disease and closer to