Almost every mother world over is accustomed to telling their children to eat fruit and vegetables. I know my mum certainly did till I would listen. In a delicious irony of fate, I am now her nutritionist. Not everyone gets even with their mothers, this way. An important reason mother’s advocate fruit and vegetables are fibre. There are two kinds of fibre, soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibre is that which dissolves in water. Soluble fibre plays a significant role in reducing the amount of cholesterol in your body. If you are regularly constipated, gradually increasing the amount of soluble fibre in your food can help. Foods such as oats, barley, rye, bananas, apple, carrots and potato contain this fibre. Golden linseed is another excellent source.

Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. It, therefore, passes out from your gut without breaking down. Insoluble fibre is a good source of nutrients to keep your digestive system healthy. Food such as bran, cereals, nuts and seeds contain insoluble fibre.

The total fibre that you need per day is 15 gms in children and 30 grammes in adults. Fibre is what is known as an antinutrient. An antinutrient is something that negates the effect of another nutrient found in the food. Sugar in this case. So if an Apple has 14 gms of sugar and 2.5 gms of fibre, actually you have reduced your sugar intake by 2.5 gms. Anyone who is watching their sugar intake understands how difficult this is. Sugar has a habit of sneaking up on you in almost everything you eat. The 2.5 grammes may not seem like much, but it adds up.

Shorn of all good fibre, remember, this is not an excuse to indulge in processed white bread. Sorry to disappoint!


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.