As we continue on our journey of learning to manage our dietary and lifestyle habits, we have certainly become more aware and taken cognizance of the food we eat.
By Nadiya Merchant
With Diwali and the festive season in full swing, know that your food choices definitely matter! Are you the kind of person who is always on the lookout for nutritious foods and checks the food label for healthier ingredients? If you said yes, you are one among many who have undertaken this journey towards a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
As we continue on our journey of learning to manage our dietary and lifestyle habits, we have certainly become more aware and taken cognizance of the food we eat. One such integral part of our diet is the ‘Dietary Fibre’, which comes with a host of health benefits.
Good nutrition basics: Types of Fibres in Your Food
There are predominantly three different types of fibres found in foods:
- Soluble fibres found in oats, barley, rye, apples, peas etc.
- Insoluble fibres found in most cereals, especially wheat bran, rice and maize and skins of many fruits and vegetables
- Resistant starch, found in some cereals like corn and cooled cooked rice
Importance of Dietary Fibre: Benefits of wholegrains
Research has shown that dietary fibre has the ability to reduce the risk of developing many lifestyle diseases. Grains, especially whole grains, contain cereal fibre, which provide several health benefits. Incorporating cereal fibre in your diet is very easy considering that India is home to a variety of grains which are available across the length and breadth of our country.
Now that we know what dietary fibre is, let us have a look at the numerous benefits it offers.
Amongst the range of health benefits that cereal fibre provides, some prominent ones are mentioned below:
Stay strong, live long
According to studies, cereal fibre intake is significantly and inversely associated with risk of total death and death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), infectious diseases and respiratory diseases in both men and women.
Eat, digest, repeat!
Cereal fibre plays an important role in aiding digestion and bowel health. Insoluble fibre such as bran is perceived to increase transit time thereby increasing stool frequency. Wheat bran is considered the best fibre for promoting regularity.
Cereal fibre intake is associated with reduced body weight and waist circumference. Scientific research has shown inverse associations between cereal fibre intake and BMI, weight gain and body fat. Other factors remaining constant, high fibre eaters gain less weight over time.
Cereal fibres may help shield us from chronic diseases like colorectal cancer and heart diseases. Colorectal cancer which strikes at a young age (40 – 45 years) is one of the most preventable cancers. According to a research by Aune (2011) – Each 10 gram increase in cereal fibre is estimated to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 10%.
So what are you waiting for? Enjoy the benefits and unlock the door to nourishing cereal fibre living!
(The author is Lead – Nutrition & Scientific Affairs, Kellogg South Asia. Views expressed are the author’s own.)