Facts, benefits and functions of humble fibre you may not have known
1. Fibre is only found in plant foods.
Fibre is found naturally in plant-based foods like grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, as well as fruits and veggies. Animal products like meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products don’t provide fibre.
2. Fibre is not completely digested by the body
This means it doesn’t get completely absorbed and used for energy like other nutrients. Rather, the undigested bits move through the digestive tract to perform other beneficial functions.
3. Many Canadians don’t get enough fibre
Canadian women need 25 grams of fibre per day and men need 38 grams of fibre per day. Most Canadians are only getting about half that much.
4. Different types of fibre have different health benefits
All fibres play a role in a healthy diet, but you may not know that there are different kinds of fibre and they all work differently in the body.
5. Fibre helps support a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol
Some types of soluble fibres (such as fibre from psyllium and oats) bind to water and turn into a gel, which helps trap cholesterol. The cholesterol is carried into the large intestine to be eliminated in the stool. This helps to reduce blood cholesterol.
6. Fibre can help regulate blood sugar levels
The gel that forms from soluble fibre also slows the absorption of sugar after a meal to help regulate blood sugar.
7. Fibre helps you feel fuller at meals
There are several ways that fibre can help you feel full. Fibre absorbs fluid to swell up in the stomach, helping us to feel full. Fibre delays the emptying of food from the stomach, which can extend feelings of fullness. High fibre foods generally take longer to chew and slow down the rate at which we eat, which gives our bodies a chance to signal when we are full.
8. Certain fibres are specifically recognized for promoting regularity
Wheat bran fibre and psyllium fibre are effective at promoting regularity.
9. Fibre feeds the good bacteria living in the gut
Fibre provides food for the good bacteria in your gut. These good bacteria play an important role in helping to keep you healthy.