Ever pondered over why nutritionists advise you to eat more fibre?Read on, to learn why this component of food is regarded as a dietary superstar.

What, you may wonder, is all the fuss about fibre? Suffice to say that fibre is a component of the diet that promotes gut health. Also, it helps keeps your blood sugar in check, and your heart healthy too.

Here are some basic facts about fibre, to help convince you of it’s relevance.

#1 It’s a plant food

Fibre refers to those components of plant foods that can’t be digested or absorbed by your body. For example, cellulose present in whole grains and green leafy vegetables are sources of fibre.

On the other hand, protein foods such as poultry, meat, seafood as well as milk and it’s products don’t contain any fibre.

#2 Helps manage blood sugar

Fibre-rich foods have a lower glycemic index than their low-fibre counterparts, and are ideal for the management of blood sugar. For example, whole dals are a better choice than washed dals, and wholewheat products are better than refined flour products. Also, whole fruits with skin are a smarter nutritional choice than fruit juice.

#3 Protects you from disease

Fibre has a protective effect on the body. So, unless you eat enough, you are at risk of developing colon cancer, hernias and other digestive system ailments. You can protect yourself, by increasing your fibre intake.

Go for high fibre foods or supplements, and you will see how this helps you lose weight too.

#4 Getting the right amount matters

An adult should aim to consume at least 30g of fibre in a day from his diet. This can be obtained from 4 servings (30 g each) of whole grains; 1 serving of whole pulses/legumes; 2 servings each of fibre-rich fruits (such as Raspberries, Guavas, Avocados) and vegetables.

#5 There are kinds of fibre

Freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit halves rich in pectin soluble fiber on an exotic blue crackle paint table with a manual juicer viewed from above in neat rows

The first is soluble fibre also called fermentable fibre, which is soluble in water, and forms a gel. Thus, it is important to keep up your intake of water and other fluids, along with a good intake of fibrous foods.

Another benefit of soluble fibre is that it helps reduce LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels and may also control blood pressure. To get your daily dose, go for fruit, vegetables, oats, barley, Flaxseed and lentils (dals).

Healthy food oats, a rich source of fiber, in a bottle.

Then, there’s insoluble fibre, which passes through the gut without being broken down. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool, prevents constipation and helps monitor your appetite. Some examples are wheat bran, whole grains and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin.

A banch of bananas and a sliced banana in a dish over yellow background.

And finally, there’s a category of fibre known as resistant starch.This form of carbohydrates is not digested in the gut, but may be fermented by gut bacteria.

So, resistant starch acts as a prebiotic, and adding these to foods lowers their glycemic index. One example of resistant starch is the delicious banana. So, now you have another excuse to reach out for one of these.