Benefits of Fibre and Fibrous Foods

Benefits of Fibre and Fibrous Foods

A diet high in fibre is extremely beneficial to good health and weight loss and is a great tool to help you attain better results in the Max's challenge.
Good sources of fibre include wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables. The main role of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy.
Dietary fibre contributes to other processes, such as stabilizing glucose and cholesterol levels.

There are two categories of fibre which we must include in our daily diets these include:

  • Soluble fibre which includes pectins, gums and mucilage, which are found mainly in plant cells. One of its major roles is to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Soluble fibre can also help with constipation.
  • Insoluble fibre which includes cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, which make up the structural parts of plant cell walls. A major role of insoluble fibre is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as hemorrhoids. Good sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods.

Both types of fibre are beneficial to the body and most plant foods contain a mixture of both types.

Soluble fibre soaks up water like a sponge, which helps to bulk out the faeces and allows it to pass through the gut more easily. It acts to slow down the rate of digestion. This slowing down effect is usually overridden by insoluble fibre, which does not absorb water and speeds up the time that food passes through the gut.

A high-fibre diet helps control weight gain. High-fibre foods tend to have a lower energy density, which means they provide fewer calories per gram of food. As a result, a person on a high-fibre diet can consume the same amount of food, but with fewer calories.

Fibrous foods are often bulky and, therefore, filling. Soluble fibre forms a gel that slows down the emptying of the stomach and the transit time of food through the digestive system. This extends the time a person feels satisfied or 'full'.

By Coach Lockie