07 July 2018

The secret fuel your body craves – and how you can get enough of it

Yes, fibre helps you poo. But researchers are finding even more superpowers in this secret fuel and venerable nutrient that your body craves.

Most US men fall short by nearly half of the 38g of fibre a day recommended by the US Institute of Medicine. But scientists now see that number, set in 2002, as a guideline. Just eat more. Stir two tablespoons of psyllium husks into your morning cereal.

Read more: 5 sources of fibre you should be eating right now

More active years

Fibre may be a youth nutrient. People who ate 32g of fibre a day over 10 years were more likely to be “successful agers” (free of depression, cognitive decline and ageing issues such as heart disease) than those who didn’t hit that threshold, a 2016 Australian study found.

Fibre may control inflammation – the villain behind many diseases – by curbing hunger and post-meal blood glucose spikes.

Read more: 4 simple heart-healthy, fibre-rich breakfast bowls

Better immunity

Men who consumed a fibre-rich diet reported feeling healthier than those who didn’t, a 2017 study in Food & Nutrition Research showed. Fibre may aid immunity, reducing your risk of inflammatory diseases.

But is feeling healthier the same as being healthier? Your perception of your health can be a powerful wellness influence, the researchers say. Stock up on whole grains and produce (and don’t forget nuts!) to steer clear of the doctor’s office.

Read more: Is getting the flu vaccine worth the hype?

Deeper sleep

1 cup oats + 1 large apple + 1 cup split peas

People who hit 25g of fibre a day (combo above) got more deep sleep, a 2016 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study found. In deep slumber, your day’s memories are stored and organised, says co-author, Professor Marie-Pierre St-Onge, leading to better cognition.

Read more: 6 products that will give every type of sleeper a better night’s sleep

7 ways to eat 7+ grams of fibre

1 whole avocado = 14g

3/4 cup hummus = 11g

1 cup artichoke hearts, boiled, drained, without salt = 10g

1/3 cup rice-based Asian snack mix = 10g

1/2 cup almonds = 9g

1 cup boiled peas = 9g

1 large pear = 7g

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock


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