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Food of the month: Fibres and its link to lowering cholesterol


Fibres play several important roles for our health. These include heart health, diabetes protection, weight loss, healthy bowels and digestive health. Fibres come from plants and are a form of carbohydrate. These foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.


Soluble fibre vs insoluble fibre


When ingested, soluble fiber becomes a thick gel in our intestines. This slows digestion (keeps blood sugars from spiking) and attaches to cholesterol particles and takes them out of the body, helping to reduce overall cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

Insoluble fibre, also known as roughage creates bulk, which helps in smooth bowel movements.


Sources of fibre

Both soluble and insoluble fiber make us feel full, which helps us to eat less.


According to studies, consuming at least 25 grams of food fiber a day is linked to a lower weight, blood pressure, blood sugars, cholesterol, as well as lower risk of developing (or dying from) diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and breast or colon cancer.

The American heart association recommends 25g and 38g of fibre for females and males under 50 years old respectively.


Important note:

Fibres as supplements do not work as well as natural fibres.


Fibre content in foods


Tips

It is relatively easy to achieve your daily need of at least 25g of fibre. Follow these tips:

  • Daily 2 servings of fruits

  • Daily 2-3 serves of vegetables

  • Include legumes or lentils in 1 of your meals

  • Swap refined carbohydrate products (white bread, white rice, regular pasta, potato etc) to complex carbohydrate (wholegrain bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, sweet potato etc)

  • Use the foods in the table above as your guide.


Seek help from your registered dietitian/nutritionist if you have conditions like gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, Irritable Bowel syndrome or any other sensitive gut issues before starting.


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