If there's one underrated MVP in our diet, it's fibre. Not only does it help cleanse your system more efficiently, but fibre can also aid weight loss by making you feel satisfied in fewer calories and by regulating your blood sugar levels. However, most people are missing out on these great benefits because they aren't getting nearly enough dietary fibre. According to the American Heart Association, adults are recommended to eat 25 grams of fibre per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. The average American only consumes about 16 grams each day.
Insoluble vs. Soluble Fibre
Now that we've established that fibre is an important nutrient, it's also worth distinguishing the two kinds of fibre. Insoluble fibre (found in peels and skins) doesn't dissolve in water, which promotes regularity. Soluble fibre, on the other hand (found in the actual flesh of plant-based foods), does dissolve in water and helps your body absorb vital nutrients. A healthy diet should consist of both.
If you're among the majority who need to up their daily fibre intake, incorporate more of these foods:
- Whole grains (like oats, wheat, barley, and quinoa)
- Beans and lentils
- Fruits (like avocados, berries, apples, and pears)
- Vegetables (like leafy greens, onions, broccoli, carrots, and celery)
- Nuts and seeds
What Happens When You Don't Eat Enough Fibre
Fibre is known to prevent constipation, which means a lack thereof can lead to just that. More seriously, studies have shown that a high-fibre diet can effectively reduce one's chances of developing high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
What Happens When You Eat Too Much
Though unlikely, overconsuming fibre on a daily basis can have adverse effects including constipation, diarrhea, bloating, dehydration, and stomach cramps.
It's also important that you drink enough water to allow fibre to do its job without causing you pain in the bathroom. If you currently don't eat enough fibre, it's best to increase your daily intake gradually and to stay hydrated.