Are you the kind, who is always on the lookout for nutritious foods? Are you also the type who checks the food label for healthier ingredients?
By Nadiya Merchant
On World Heart Day, take a look at your food choices and lifestyle habits. Are you the kind, who is always on the lookout for nutritious foods? Are you also the type who checks the food label for healthier ingredients? If you said yes, you are one among many who have undertaken this journey. 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.
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
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 provides 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.
- Feel light
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.
- Super shield
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? For the benefits galore, unlock the door to nourishing cereal fibre living!
(Nadiya Merchant is Lead – Nutrition & Scientific Affairs, Kellogg South Asia. Views expressed are the author’s own.)