We all know fibre plays an important role in our diet. Fibre, found only in plant products, can be in two forms – soluble and insoluble – both play different roles in promoting health and preventing diseases.
Soluble fibre and its health benefits
Soluble fibre is ‘soluble’ in water. It forms a gel-like substance and swells when mixed with water.
Foods rich in soluble fiber include oats and oatmeal, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), barley, fruits and vegetables (especially oranges, apples and carrots).
Soluble fiber has many benefits, including lowering cholesterol (which is a primary risk factor for heart disease), moderating blood glucose levels, promoting weight loss and healthy bowel movements.
Insoluble fibre and its health benefits
On the other hand, insoluble fibre does not absorb or dissolve in water. It passes through our digestive system in close to its original form. It is found in the seeds and skins of fruit as well as whole-wheat bread and brown rice.
Insoluble fiber provides many benefits to intestinal health, such as reducing your risk of hemorrhoids and constipation. It also aids in weight loss.
In addition to this, all fibre-rich foods contain plenty of nutrients in the form of minerals and vitamins which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Tips to increase dietary fibre in your daily diet
Here’s how you can increase your fibre intake:
- Choose fruits and vegetables instead of juices – eat them with peels when possible because they contain much of the fibre.
- Aim for at least 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Opt for whole grains – bread, cereals, rice and pasta – instead of overly processed and refined grains.
- Increase intake of beans or other legumes while cutting down on meat.
- Try replacing white rice with brown rice.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re taking more fibre-rich foods, you need to increase your water intake than usual as fibre absorbs a large amount of water. So the more fiber you add to your diet, the more fluids you should consume.