Why Is Fibre So Important?

The one key point that I can’t stress enough to clients is to always make sure to get enough fibre in the diet.  It is my belief (backed up by scientific studies) that fibre plays a pivotal role in a healthy lifestyle as well as adherence to it. Let us examine those reasons

  1. FIBRE AIDS IN A HEALTHY GUT: There has been an increasing number of studies that examine the link between gut health and overall wellness. What has repetitively emerged is that a healthy gut can help to:
    • Reduce inflammation
    • Reduce adverse symptoms like bloating, cramping, gassiness, constipation or diarrhoea
    • Aid in immunity (protection against disease)
    • Boost energy levels
    • Play a role with mental health. An unhealthy gut has been linked with increased levels of anxiety and stress.

Bottom line, if you can achieve optimal gut health, you are paving the way to a healthy lifestyle.

  1. FIBRE HELPS TO REGULATE APPETITE: Fibre is an indigestible part of food; which means that our body cannot break it down. Due to this reason, it takes long to pass through our stomach and for that reason can give us the feeling of being full for longer. Hence, lower chance of cravings or overeating.
  2. FIBRE AIDS IN THE CONTROL OF CHRONIC ILLNESSES: An intake of inadequate fibre has been linked with chronic conditions like Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure as well as cancer (Colon and Breast). As a matter of fact, the guidelines as to the management of all of these conditions propose strategies that aid and include in getting an adequate fibre intake.
  3. FIBRE HELPS WITH WEIGHT LOSS: The Holy Grail, isn’t it? Weight loss. With the combined effect of controlling inflammation, appetite and blood sugar levels, adequate fibre intake is absolutely essential to weight loss. As mentioned before; adequate fibre intake can also play a role in mental health which is strongly linked with weight loss success.
  4. FIBRE PLAYS A ROLE WITH ENERGY LEVELS: Besides the fact that most foods that are high in fibre contain nutrients that influence energy levels (think folate and various Vitamin B), due to the fact that high fibre foods prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, fibre plays an important role in promoting and supporting sustained energy levels.
  5. FIBRE PLAYS A ROLE WITH CONCENTRATION: Disrupted and uncontrolled blood sugar levels make concentration a mission. Through controlling these parameters, fibre is a key factor in improving concentration span.

These are but just a few of the advantages of including adequate fibre in one’s diet. If you are curious as to whether your fibre intake is sufficient or would like to discuss strategies to increase your fibre intake, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with your local dietician to explore these avenues.

 

Keep your eyes open for my next article on tips on increasing fibre intake!

Cecile Niebuhr, RD(SA)

About the author:

Tanya has been providing dietary guidance since 2009 as a registered dietician licensed in South Africa. Her goal is to help patients understand the connection between diet and diagnosis for improved nutritional well being.

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