There are many benefits to a high-fibre diet. Photo: Thinkstock
This may be an unappetising thought, but grasping how fibre works internally is vital.
Ingested fibre acts as an in-house broom or sponge, absorbing many times its own weight in liquid as it passes through the digestive tract. The result is softer and bulkier stools that pass through the intestine more rapidly and are expelled more easily, lowering the likelihood of constipation.
This quick passage through the intestine also helps prevent related bowel disorders – such as diverticulosis and haemorrhoids – which can occur from the increased pressure created by hard stools. It can even help lower the risk of bowel cancer (from reduced contact of stools with cancer-causing agents in the intestine), coronary artery disease (via the lowering of blood cholesterol levels) and heart attacks due to atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries).
Some soluble fibres are even effective against diabetes, although insoluble fibres have little or no effect. Of course, upping fibre intake won’t cure diabetes, but a diet that’s high in complex carbohydrates and fibre can certainly assist diabetics to better manage their blood sugar levels.
Trying to drop a few unwanted kilos? Adding fibre to your diet may be the best move you ever make. Besides providing a welcome feeling of fullness, the best way to use fibre for weight loss is to maintain a balanced diet that includes modest amounts of protein and fat. The body metabolises these more slowly than fibre, so you won’t get hungry again quite as quickly.
Easy and healthy! Click here for 10 easy ways to increase your fibre intake
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