Are you tired of your bloated stomach and not being able to fit in that lovely dress you bought? Sick of spending uncountable hours in the toilet, trying to defecate? Confused as to why you feel hungry again only minutes after you have had a meal? Or are you just frustrated with your over-all digestive health? What if I tell you that the answer to all these questions lies in one word, or better yet one carbohydrate, fibre!
Fibre is one easily available carbohydrate that can accompany all fruits, beans and salads you may have forgotten about while you slurped down your spaghetti. The fun fact about fibre is that it is never actually digested, nor utilized for energy. In fact, it goes right into the toilet as it was on your plate. Then what is fibre good for? It is your digestive system’s well-wisher. It slows down digestion, absorbing fats from your diet which helps lower cholesterol and heart disease in the long run. It makes your feces more lubricated, softer and easier to pass out.
Where Can You Find Fibre?
Unluckily, this digestion-friendly carbohydrate is not found in meat, white flour and dairy products, which Pakistanis consume way more than fibre-rich resources. The foods one should look for, in order to consume the right amount of fibre, without the feel of eating wet cardboard are:
- Fruits with their skin – pears, avocado, and apples
- Beans – slima, kidney, and black and white beans
- Vegetables like artichokes, spinach and broccoli
- Grains like oatmeal, barley, whole wheat pasta and bran flakes
- Nuts such as almond and peanuts
According to the Institute of Medicine, men less than 50 years should consume 38 grams and women less than 50 years of age should consume 25 grams of fibre per day. Men and women who are over 50 years of age should have an intake of 30 gram and 21 grams of fibre per day, respectively. This leads to an average of at least 2 cups of vegetables and fruits every day, which is not difficult at all considering we eat three meals day.
Freshen up your breakfast by adding juicy berries and delicious nuts to your boring oat meal cereal. Your lunch can be made better for your digestive system if you replace your white bread sandwich with brown bread in combination with your favorite vegetables. Substitute your white rice or white flour pasta with brown rice and whole wheat pasta for dinner and let it go easy on your stomach for the night. If you have a tendency to have mid-day snacks, throw out your big bag of chips and bring in whole grain crackers to enjoy with your home made salsa and vegetables to enjoy with hummus.
Hate dry tasting bran flakes? Simply blend them in with your smoothie and make any meal fun to eat and easy to digest. Add lentils to your daily diet and you will find out how this flavor friendly legume absorbs and binds perfectly to all spices added to it. Chia seeds can be used with water to thicken smoothies instead of high fat cream or even substitute eggs in cookies and cakes.
In a nut shell almost all fibre rich foods can be hidden anywhere in your meal or maybe staring right back at you tempting and challenging you at the same time to try them out. All you have to do is take a step forward and give your meals a new partner!
Warning: the idea people have that fibre can cause bloating, cramping and gas is not entirely wrong. Those who are beginning to consume fibre for the first time may observe such a situation. In order to avoid this, make these changes to your diet gradual and constant, not sudden and temporary – which allows your gut to adjust to a new type of carbohydrate. You also need to keep yourself hydrated as your gut needs water assistance to carry fibre all the way down and out.