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Fibre is a form of complex carbohydrate. Most dietary fibre comes from fruits, vegetables, dried beans, beans and legumes, flax, cereals, grains, nuts and seeds. The outer layer of a grain which contains most of the fibre is removed in refining.

Fibre falls into two broad categories; soluble and insoluble fibre. Most plants are rich in both types of fibre. The soluble fibre dissolve in water and become sticky. They are found in legumes, oats, flax, psyllium, barley, and pectin rich fruits such as apples, strawberries and citrus fruits. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve, passing through the digestive tract. This type of fibre is found in wheat bran, whole wheat products, brown rice, skins of fruits and vegetables like carrots and peas.

As it passes through the digestive tract, fibre acts as a sponge, absorbing many times its own weight in liquid. The result is a better bowel movements thus reducing constipation. As the stools pass rapidly through the digestive tract the toxins are removed immediately reducing contact with cancer causing agents.

Soluble fibre slows the release of glucose in the body controlling the blood sugar levels of the body. It also helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides. As it is filling and low in calories, eating fibre helps reduce hunger. The satiety is also higher with food high in fibre, thus extremely beneficial for weight loss or management.

Increasing the amount of fibre in the diet should be done gradually. Suddenly increasing fibre in the diet from 10 – 30 g suddenly can cause unpleasant symptoms like bloating and gassiness. The fibre intake of any adult should be 25 - 30g / day. Following are the strategies to include fibre in the diet.
  • Eat 5 – 7 serving of fruits and vegetables daily. Leave the skins on whenever possible
  • Eat fibre rich breakfast like oats, muesli, fresh fruits.
  • Snack on high fibre fruits like watermelon, pear, apples, etc
  • Prefer raw or steamed vegetables.
  • If use of processed food is unavoidable use whole grain versions like atta bread, brown rice etc.
  • Add extra bran to flours.
  • Eat pulses and legumes regularly preferable with the skin on or sprouted forms.
  • Eat plenty of salads.
  • Do not strain your vegetable soups.
  • Choose whole fruits more often than fruit juice.
  • Keep a bowl of veggies already washed and prepared your refrigerator—try carrots, cucumbers, corn for a quick snack.
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