Dietary fibres (also called as roughage) are plant constituents which are not digestible in the human digestive tract. Fibres can be classified into two groups-soluble and insoluble. Foods such as beans, legumes, pulses, peas, lentils, oats and oat-based cereals are rich sources of soluble fiber. Whereas whole wheat flour, wheat bran, high-fibre cereals (like muesli) and unpeeled fruits and vegetables mainly have insoluble fiber. Dietary fibre plays an important role in various functions of the body. Some of them include the following:
- Soluble fibre delays gastric emptying and decreases the rate of digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Soluble fibre binds bile acids, consequently lowering serum cholesterol.
- Insoluble fibre provides a sense of satiety/fullness.
- High fibre diet is usually low in fats and hence helpful in fighting obesity too.
Therefore, it is advisable to increase the fibre intake. The recommended fibre intake is 25-30 gm/day. This level is easy to achieve with adequate intake of fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains.