Include whole wheat items in your daily diet for good health,say doctors.
There may be nothing fancy about eating chapatis at home but doctors swear by the merits of the humble cereal wheat in keeping the digestive system healthy. Emphasising that fibre plays an important part in the digestive health and overall wellness,city doctors say whole wheat along with its bran cover is natures own wholesome package of fibre,vitamins and minerals necessary for starch digestion and utilisation.
According to nutritionist and National Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) president,Dr Rekha Sharma,wheat bran part of many Indian snacks and a staple food has gained importance for its multiple health benefits as there is more fibre in it than in the bran of other grains such as oats and rice.
Wheat bran or chokar,as it is popularly known,is the outer covering of the wheat kernel. During the milling of wheat,this outer bran layer is removed and the starch-rich endosperm is milled to yield wheat flour. The bran contains insoluble fibre called cellulose,along with a gamut of minerals such as calcium,selenium,magnesium,potassium,phosphorus as well as vitamins E and B complex. So while refined flour (maida) may be visually appealing and lends a texture to certain foods,whole wheat is extremely important for health.
Scientific evidence shows that wheat bran is the best cereal fibre for bulking up stools and stimulate bowel movement. Consequently,it helps to keep things moving through the digestive system, says Sharma. She adds that many people suffer from symptoms of digestive discomfort such as bloating and feelings of sluggishness from time to time that can often become worse.
This is where eating enough fibre,especially wheat bran fibre,can help. It lessens discomfort and even helps tackle constipation, she says.
According to a Breakfast Habits Study,an average Indian adult consumes less than or equal to 2g fibre for breakfast,which can be considered as low. The research found that nutrient inadequacies of the breakfast meal were not made up during the rest of the day,with an adult male and female consuming an average of 31g and 25g per day respectively. Dietary Guidelines for Indians recommend 40g of fibre per 2,000 kcal a day,depending on the gender and stage of life.
Experts say with rising incidence and prevalence of lifestyle diseases,it is imperative to include high-fibre foods in the diet. Jump start the day with a high-fibre breakfast that provides 12.5g/100g or as much as 5 g/40 g serve to help bridge the gap. This can be followed up with eating fruits,vegetables and whole grain foods in rest of the meals, says Sharma.
Doctors say although the digestive system can withstand a lot of stress,such as unhealthy food and emotional upheaval,it can only do so for a limited period. So,its important to take positive steps to keep the digestive system healthy.