Everyone talks about protein and fibre, but do you know why they are an important part of a healthy diet? Protein and fibre are widely recommended to help curb hunger and cravings as they help stabilize blood sugar and maintain stable energy levels. Read on to find out the importance of protein and fibre in nutrition.
What is fibre?
Fibre is a class of non-digestible carbohydrates; this means they work a little differently because they are digested by our gut microbes and not by us. It is the main source of fuel for gut bacteria, as they need fibre to grow and multiply. Knowing why and how to include them in your diet is important to stay healthy.
Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet, yet many of us ignore the importance of fibre intake. Fibre is found only in plants and is therefore not found in a typical diet based primarily on refined carbohydrates and animal fats. The recommended daily amount is usually 25-40 grams of fibre per adult. However, Fibre consumption has also decreased as food processing takes over the food supply. The average intake for most people is about half the average, which is about 14 grams per day. A high-fibre diet is associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases, and compared with a low-fibre diet, all-cause mortality was reduced by 30%.
Health benefits of fibre
- Promotes the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria
Fibre is fuel for the beneficial microbes in our gut because we humans cannot digest fibre ourselves. Also known as prebiotics, these compounds promote the growth of microbes that are essential for generating a healthy immune response, preventing infection, and reducing inflammation.
- Promotes weight loss/ healthy weight
The types of food you eat can increase or decrease your appetite. Fibre is one of the best foods for suppressing appetite. Fibre stretches and increases stomach capacity, activates satiety, signals to the brain that you are full and satisfied, and reduces hunger. It also reduces food cravings. This in turn can affect weight control by regulating caloric intake and promoting weight loss.
- Supports healthy digestion and reduces the risk of indigestion.
Of course, you can say that fibre is essential for a healthy gut. As mentioned above, fibre is a fuel source for healthy gut bacteria, helps build a strong gut environment and strengthens the gut barrier.
Fibre also helps increase stool volume, which promotes waste removal and reduces the risk of constipation and toxin build-up in the body. Regular fibre intake is associated with a lower risk of gastrointestinal diseases such as colon cancer, diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
- Supports detoxification of waste and toxins
Fibre plays an essential role in the detoxification process, especially the third phase of the detoxification process, as it helps increase the bulk of the stool and process waste through the digestive tract. Once the toxins have been dissolved in water by the liver and are ready for elimination, they stick to the bile in the digestive tract and then to the stool, where they are excreted in the stool.
If you don’t get enough fibre, it can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream, contributing to the build-up of harmful compounds.
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels
Fibre in complex carbohydrate sources such as fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes helps slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream compared to simple carbohydrates. This means that fibre helps control blood sugar levels. In fact, high fibre intake is associated with lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This means that a diet rich in fibre can help treat and prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
- Prevent cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular disease, one of the leading killers in Western society, is a largely preventable disease that can be prevented through dietary changes. Fibre is a heart-healthy nutrient that can help protect the heart and prevent heart disease because of its ability to lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and improve insulin resistance. Studies have linked higher fibre intake to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
What are Proteins?
Protein is an important nutrient for our cells because it provides the body with the building blocks to build body tissues and perform more functions than any other nutrient. It is also the largest component in the body after water.
Protein is an important macronutrient that we need from our diet to build tissue, produce energy, fight inflammation, maintain acid balance, and more. Adequate protein intake is important, but most of us are likely to overeat because of our dietary intake of animal protein, as is the case in many industrialized countries where meat and dairy products are consumed in excess. The recommended daily amount of protein can vary depending on factors such as age and activity level, but for the average adult, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideal. Actually not as much as we thought!!
However, some groups of people, such as athletes, very active people, and the elderly, may find it more difficult to get enough protein from their diet, and supplements such as protein powder may be helpful.
Health benefits of proteins
Blood sugar stability
Including protein at every meal helps keep blood sugar stable because it takes longer for protein to be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream. Protein is also very filling and provides a longer-lasting source of energy compared to carbohydrates.
Support the immune system
Protein may not be on your mind when it comes to building a strong immune system, but it’s important!
Proteins are involved in the formation of many compounds and substances that fight infection and defend the body against invaders, such as enzymes, antibodies, stomach acid, immune cells, mucous membranes and, of course, our skin.
Reduce cravings and increase satiety
Since protein is able to stabilize blood sugar levels and increase satiety during meals, it is very helpful in reducing appetite and preventing overeating. Eating protein suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin while increasing peptide YY, so we tend to feel full after a protein meal. Eating a protein-rich breakfast can significantly affect appetite and cravings throughout the day, making you less likely to overeat.
An important component of the body cells
Every tissue and organ are made up of proteins. Proteins make up the structure of our cells and tissues and are necessary for the production of collagen, hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. That’s why protein is important in your diet because it affects not only your skin, hair, and nails, but also your ability to ward off pathogens and infections and perform cognitive and physical functions.
Protein is an important source of energy for the body, but it can only be used in the absence of sources such as carbohydrates. When glucose and lipid levels are low, the body will use protein stores to meet its energy needs. Therefore, when it comes to fatigue and poor performance, it should be taken into account that there is enough protein in the diet.
Protein and fibre work together to keep you fuller for longer and provide your body with energy. Additionally, they promote a healthy digestive system. Your bowel movements will become more regular, and you will feel better overall. In order to lose weight and improve your general health, you should include both protein and fibre in your diet. Now you know the importance of protein and fibre in nutrition, kindly share this with your family and friends too