Fibre requirements in a healthy diet

Donovan GRANT

Monday, March 25, 2019

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DEAR DONOVAN,
I know there are different types of fibre in foods and that they have different effects on the body. Can you tell me about them? How much fibre should I eat, and what are some good sources of fibre?

Dietary fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and plays an important role in the proper functioning of our bodies. Fibre is found in the parts of plants that the body can't digest, such as wheat bran as well as fruit and vegetable skin. There are two main types of fibre in the food we eat. They are soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. These fibres have different functions and health benefits.

Soluble fibre, which is soluble in water, binds with fatty acids, LDL (bad cholesterol), and pushes it out of the body before it reaches the bloodstream, which can result in blockage of arteries. Soluble fibre plays a very important role in controlling blood fat levels. Soluble fibre also plays an important role in controlling blood sugar levels especially with people with diabetes. Soluble fibre is found in foods such as oats, barley, fruits and vegetables.

Insoluble fibre is not soluble in water. It is found in whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fibre helps to moisten and bulk up stool and helps to move it through the intestine. This fibre also helps to prevent constipation and helps to keep the intestine clean. Insoluble fibre also helps good bacteria to grow. These bacteria help in digestion and support our immune system. In addition, insoluble fibre helps to reduce insulin resistance which is a vital step in controlling high blood pressure and diabetes.

Fibre may also be important in reducing colon cancer. Fibre makes you feel full and this may be an important part in controlling obesity. Also, fibre plays a very important role in heart health and also helps to control the Ph in the intestine.

The best source of fibre might be whole foods because they also contain many other healthful plant compounds such as minerals and vitamins. However, getting fibre from many varied plant sources might be the best way to get all the health benefits from fibre. It is usually recommended that we take in about 25 to 38 grams of fibre per day. However, health, age and gender must also be taken into consideration for fibre intake.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.


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