Fibre: The Forgotten Food Group
The UK has a big problem with fibre. It is recommended that we consume at least 30g of fibre a day. But with the average person in the UK getting just 18g a day, it’s time we start taking fibre more seriously. Recent studies have indicated that the lack of fibre in our diets is helping to make us fat. If you want to lose weight and live longer, as well as reducing your risk of developing diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular disease, then its time to up your fibre intake.
It’s a well-known fact that we need fibre in our diet. This indigestible substance from plants plays a crucial role in moving food through the digestive system and is linked with better health. This is largely down to fibre’s ability to feed the gut microbiota (also called gut flora). The microbiota consists of trillions of microorganisms, including many species of bacteria. It plays a fundamental role in our immune system and inflammation. A mucus layer rich in digestive enzymes sits on top of the bacteria. These enzymes can break down the fibre in our food. Research has shown that when diets are low in fibre, the population of the gut bacteria can drop to promote inflammation of the gut and trigger an imbalance of gut bacteria that could lead to serious illness and disease.
If this isn’t enough motivation to start consuming more fibre, then perhaps shedding some light on its ability to keep your waistline thin will do the trick. Fibre takes a long time to break down and has a significant ‘bulking effect’ in the colon, helping to regulate appetite and make you feel fuller for longer. Compared to normal digestion, the bacterial breakdown that happens when fibre is consumed causes much less calories to be stored as fat. There is lots of research being done into the fat-fighting properties of fibre, and there’s a growing consensus that consuming more fibre is vital for losing weight.
It’s not always easy to consume the recommended 30g of fibre a day. A rise in food allergies means less people are eating bread and other foods rich in fibre. Lots of us get our five a day from juices containing pulverised fruit and vegetables that deliver fibre to our bodies in a different way. In fact, the UK is consuming less fibre than ever before. It comes as no surprise then that current recommendations state that we should be eating more of it.
Chufas are a superb source of fibre. They have a complete nutritional profile that includes high quantities of a fibre called resistant starch. This type of fibre is particularly good at feeding the gut microbiota and has been found to demonstrate anti-obesity, anti-diabetes and anti-inflammatory effects. Chufas are suitable for almost any diet, making them an ideal choice for people with food allergies who struggle with getting enough fibre.
We should all be aiming to increase our fibre consumption to help us keep slim, improve our wellbeing and avoid chronic disease. Incorporating chufas into your diet can help you to do just this, while also enjoying the countless other health benefits that chufas provide.
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