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About Dietary Fibres

Most people know about nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. But the importance and functions of dietary fibres remain largely unknown despite being an essential part of our food. They are indigestible to the most part themselves yet play a huge role in the process of digestion.

There are mainly two types of fibres: soluble and insoluble. Interestingly, soluble fibres can slow down digestion and reduce the rate at which the body absorbs sugar and other nutrients. Even though this might seem bad, this slow absorption can prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels and provide the body with a continuous supply of energy over a period of time. Insoluble fibres, on the other hand, helps the easy movement of food through the intestines. Depending on your needs, you will either need soluble fibres or insoluble fibres, or both. Read this article to know more about them.

Different types of dietary fibres

Most food contains soluble and insoluble fibres in different proportions. However, because of defective dietary habits or the inability of the body to retain roughage from the food, some people will need an extra dose of fibres apart from their regular diet. However, the type of fibre that the body needs varies from person to person. It might come as a surprise to some people that there are more than a dozen different fibres. Out of these here is the list of four most common types of fibres that the human body needs.

Cellulose

Cellulose is the major component of plant cells and is insoluble in water. Therefore, it is not surprising that green vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and kale are the richest source of this dietary fibre. This fibre does not undergo any significant digestion as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. This helps it to move other food components along with it as it moves through the tract. Another great benefit of cellulose is that it can aid the growth of useful bacteria in the digestive system. It is the presence of these bacteria that keeps the system healthy and efficient.

Pectins

If you go through the ingredients of some pre-packed desserts, you will find pectin as one of the ingredients in them. Unlike cellulose, pectin is a dietary fibre that is soluble in water. Besides helping in more efficient digestion, pectins have the amazing ability to delay the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. This is extremely helpful for diabetic patients as pectins help prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Some studies also suggest that pectin can lower cholesterol levels by facilitating the removal of fatty acids from the body.

Beta glucans

This dietary fibre is a type of gel-forming soluble fibre that is also prebiotic. A prebiotic is any substance that helps in the nurturing of good gut bacteria that secretes enzymes capable of breaking down protein molecules. Presence of Beta glucans can make the food more filling, which in turn keeps you from overeating. Furthermore, it can delay the rate at which food leaves the intestine. That means you won’t feel hungry again for a good while. All these qualities make beta glucans, one of the most useful dietary fibres. So, eat more foods like oats, barley, and mushrooms.

Lignin

The human body needs both soluble and insoluble dietary fibres for the efficient digestion of food. While fibres like pectins and beta glucans are water-soluble, lignin is a water-insoluble fibre. Probably the second biggest benefit of eating insoluble fibres is that it can significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer. But even though there is a substantial amount of studies that prove this, scientists are yet to discover the exact mechanism of this. However, one theory suggests that because lignin moves the food faster through the digestive tracts, it gives carcinogens less time to interact with the tissues.

Tips on buying Dietary Fibre Supplements

Finding the right dietary fibre supplements can be harder than you might think. This is because there are so many different types of dietary fibres that too from hundreds of different brands. Trying to pick the right one out of this can be an overwhelming experience. However, if you know what criteria to consider while shopping for them, it can be easier. Here are a few tips that you can follow when you are shopping for dietary fibre supplements online.

  • Consult your doctor – Supplements basically make up for the lack of nutrient intake in your food. So, you only need supplements if you are not getting the adequate amount of a certain nutrient through your food. If you already don’t know what kind of dietary fibre supplements you need and how much, you should consult a health care provider before shopping.
  • Read the label – Sometimes the label of a product might claim a lot more than it can actually do. This is not surprising as the function of those labels is to catch the attention of the customers. However, you should also look at the list of ingredients in any supplement. The list of ingredients in the supplement can pretty much tell you what and what not can that particular supplement does.
  • Dosage – Just like other drugs, you should follow the appropriate dosage when it comes to dietary supplements as well. Only a health care professional can tell you the dosage you need of a particular supplement. Sometimes, a particular supplement might have extra ingredients that your body does not necessarily need.
  • Quality of the supplement – Dietary supplements have been around for a very long time. However, not all supplements meet the required level of criteria. But the trouble with this is, it is not easy for a regular person to understand whether a supplement from a particular brand is good enough or not. In this case, the solution is to stick to products from reputed brands only.

Besides dietary fibres and other supplements, the key to a healthy lifestyle is a holistic and balanced food habit. These should include all the macro and micronutrients in the required quantities and ratios. But now finding healthy food items is easier than ever. You can use our shopping search engine to look for them. That way, you can compare the prices and quality of different products and pick the best one among them. Also, don’t forget to check out other great products from the Food & Beverage category.

Question & Answer

What foods are highest in fibre?

Even though there are so many dietary supplements, there is no denying that the best way to increase fibre intake is by including more plants and vegetables in your diet. A normal adult body requires around thirty grams of fibre per day. So, what are the things to include in the diet? The easiest way is to replace refined grains with whole grains. This means using brown bread instead of white bread, having whole grain cereals for breakfast, etc. Also, including fibres in your diet doesn’t have to be boring either. Fruits like berries, oranges, and melons are rich in fibres.

Do eggs contain fibre?

Eggs are an affordable option to include in your diet. It is high in proteins and amino acids. However, eggs are not a great source of dietary fibre. That being said, there are ways to include fibres into your egg breakfast. Try adding some veggies like spinach, chopped broccoli, avocado, or artichoke, or a mixture of all these. If you want to make it tastier, scramble the eggs and add salt and some spices as well. Keep in mind that eggs taste better if you do not cook them hard. Instead, keep the softness of the egg to make it feel fluffy and flavour rich in your mouth.

Can too much fibre in the diet cause problems?

Interestingly, there is something called too much fibre intake. This happens if a person eats more than seventy grams of fibre in a day. While this is very uncommon for people following a normal diet, this happens a lot if a person is following a completely vegan diet. This situation can cause some unpleasant side effects. The most obvious effects are bloating and gas. Also, too much fibre content in the food can slow down the digestion process significantly. This makes a person feel too full for a long time. Eating too much fibre can sometimes lead to constipation or in other cases, diarrhoea.

If you are looking to buy dietary fibres online in the UAE, look no further as you are in the right place. There are more than 500 shops and brands offering them here on Shops.ae. These shops offer products from popular brands like AOAC, NHS, British Nutrition Foundation, Nutrition Australia, and Sunfiber.