Mental health benefits of eating a fibre-rich diet | Health

Eating a diet high in fibre – both soluble and insoluble – has innumerable benefits for your digestive health and heart health besides aiding in controlling blood sugar levels. You can get the fibre you need easily from daily food items like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds among other things. Nuts, cucumber, lentils, banana, whole grain, apple, beans, barley and moringa leaves are some of the common high-fibre foods that people consume in India. Apart from the many physical health benefits that come with a high-fibre diet, there is a host of mental health benefits too. (Also read: Nutritionist suggests easy ways to add fibre to your daily diet)

Did you know not eating enough fibre can lead to cognitive impairment? It could also affect your moods. According to studies, a high level of dietary fibre intake on the other hand is related to a lower risk of anxiety.

Here are some of the benefits of including fibre in your diet by Harvard psychiatrist Uma Naidoo, as shared on Instagram.

Reduced stress: What you eat can have an impact on your stress levels. Eating high fibre foods may reduce the effects of stress, according to research published in The Journal of Physiology. The connection between gut bacteria and stress-related disorders such as anxiety, depression and irritable bowel syndrome is being studied in recent years.

Improved mood: Eating a diet high on fibre can lift your mood. According to a new study, people who consume high amounts of fibre are less stressed and have a more positive mood. Instead of going for processed foods, choosing fruits and nuts as your mid-meal snacks is thus a good option.

Increased serotonin: According to research, eating fibre can increase the availability of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA. People with depression and anxiety generally report low levels of serotonin.

Delayed brain-ageing: Want to prevent degenerative diseases? Eating fibre can apparently delay the onset of such ailments. Eating fibre-rich foods like broccoli, nuts, oats and beans may delay the process as it triggers production of a short-chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Lowered inflammation: Eating a diet rich in fibre could help the beneficial bacteria living in the gut release substances that lower inflammation in the body. Also eating high-fibre diet can help in losing weight.

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