Do you think by consuming two servings of fruits and vegetables every day, it provides sufficient dietary fibre for our daily bodily requirements? This is very often not the case. Per Health Promotion Board, the recommended daily fibre intake for women is 20g and 26g for men. Fibre is the indigestible part of plant-based food that does not get absorbed by the body. It aids in weight management and controls the appetite – High fibre foods are more filling which allows us to stay satisfied longer. Such foods tend to take a longer time to be consumed and are less energy-dense, which means they contain lesser calories for the same amount of food.
2 types of fibre:
1. Soluble Fibre
Soluble fibre helps to regulate blood sugar levels by delaying glucose absorption into the bloodstream. It is always advisable to increase soluble fibre intake for individuals with high cholesterol. It helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by binding itself to it which promotes excretion. Additionally, it acts as a form of prebiotic which helps to maintain gut health. Good sources of soluble fibre include oats, barley, oranges and beans.
2. Insoluble Fibre
Insoluble fibre helps to maintain bowel health, preventing colon diseases as they form softer and heavier stools by absorbing water. Hence, it is important to drink more water as you increase your fibre intake. Additionally, it aids in maintaining an optimal pH in intestines, which prevents bacteria from forming cancerous substances. Good sources of insoluble fibre include brown rice, sweet potato, spinach and guava.
Q: Pre & Probiotics, what are they?
Furthermore, it is essential to get your pre and probiotics fix that your body requires! Probiotics are live bacterial cultures which are beneficial to the body – they can be found in food sources such as yoghurt, cheese, and other cultured dairy products. Non-dairy sources will include sauerkraut, sour pickles and miso. On the other hand, prebiotics is non-digestible in the gut. These include Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterial – they have the potential to improve your health.
A: They are beneficial bacteria.
Prebiotics are also known as ‘food’ for the beneficial bacteria. Examples of prebiotics include inulin and fructooligosaccharides, which can be obtained from whole grains, onions, garlic, banana, honey and many more! By enhancing the growth of these beneficial bacteria, it improves the good-to-bad bacteria ratio in our gut. An increase in the number of probiotics positively impacts the digestive system by reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Lastly, prebiotics has been shown to improve the absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. It aids in the reduction of lesion growth in the guy hence reducing the risk of colorectal diseases. In a nutshell, the combination of probiotic bacteria taken together with prebiotic that supports their growth is called symbiotic. These beneficial health effects enhance our gut function as well as our body immune system.