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Did you know that taking care of your gut health during the postpartum stage can contribute to better abdomen, womb, and genital area recovery? The most direct reason being a good digestive system and smooth bowel movement can prevent you from having to strain yourself further, thus reducing the pressure on your incision site and pelvic floor muscle.
But wait! There’s more to having a healthy digestive system than just spending less time in the bathroom. In fact, good digestion is one of the most important aspects of good health, as the digestive system performs a number of functions that ultimately affect our mental and physical state.
How does this work? Well, a healthy digestive system makes it possible for all the foods we consume to be broken down in the gut to the most simple form that can enter into the bloodstream and be delivered as nutrients to all organs in the body.
Having a good digestive system is one of the key elements of having good gut health. Hence, in this week’s guide on improving your gut’s health during postpartum, let’s go into detail on how you can improve your digestive health with the different types of fibres in various fruits and vegetables!
Types of Fibre, Food Sources and Health Benefits
We are all familiar with the saying of how fibre helps us with smoother bowel movement, but did you know that there are actually many different types of fibre available, and they each benefit our health in different ways?
Fibre are most often categorised as insoluble fibre and soluble fibre, and they each play a role in improving your digestion:
- Insoluble fibres: Insoluble fibre hydrates and attracts water into your stool, making it softer and able to pass through your intestines with less strain on the bowel, which prevents constipation. Insoluble fibres also support insulin sensitivity and can help reduce your risk of diabetes.
- Soluble fibres: On the other hand, soluble fibre can improve digestion in a number of ways as it dissolves into a gel-like form. Like insoluble fibre, it can help reduce your risk of diabetes by improving blood glucose control.
If we look further in detail, fibres can actually be categorised in many more different types. Let’s look at some of the fibre that you can find in fruits and vegetables and the health benefits they offer!
Cellulose is a type of insoluble fibre that can be found in many vegetables including broccoli, cabbage and kale, as well as other legumes, nuts and bran. After you consume these vegetables, their cellulose passes through your digestive tract and binds other food components together to get things moving along. Cellulose also maintains a healthy digestive system by promoting the growth of good gut bacteria and boosting your immune system.
Pectins is a type of soluble fibre that can be naturally found in fruits, berries, and seeds. Pectins slows the passage of food through the intestinal GI tract, which helps to control blood sugar level and lower blood cholesterol. Speaking of cholesterol, pectics also helps to lower cholesterol by reducing the fatty acids in our body. Some healthy sources of pectins include fruits and vegetables like apples, strawberries, citrus fruits, carrots and potatoes.
Like pectins, inulin is also a type of soluble fibre that helps to prevent blood sugar spikes by slowing down digestion. Moreover, inulin also helps increase the good bacteria in the gut and strengthen your immune system. You can find inulin in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, garlic, onions and asparagus, as well as barley and rye. On the other hand, inulin can also be extracted from beets, chicory root and onions and be added to processed foods to increase their fibre content.
Lignin is an insoluble fibre that can help promote bowel movement. On top of that, lignin is also beneficial for heart health and the immune function. Research also suggests that insoluble fibre like lignin may help lower the risk of colon cancer. Fruits and vegetables that include lignin are green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, avocado and unripe bananas. Other than fruits and vegetables, certain legumes and beans and peas, as well as nuts and seeds like flax seeds are also good natural sources of lignin.
5. Resistant Starch
Being one of the main soluble fibres we get in our diet, resistant starch can help with weight loss by increasing fullness and regulating blood sugar levels. It also increases insulin sensitivity and helps lower the risk of diabetes. If you’re looking for natural sources to get resistant starch, legumes and beans are excellent sources. Resistant starch can also be found in oatmeal.
As you might have realised by now, as there are many types of different fibres that can be found in different sources, you should have a wide variety of both vegetables and fruits to ensure you get all the essential fibre you need. Not to mention fruits and vegetables in different colours have their own unique antioxidants, which can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals and support your overall wellbeing.
How much fruit and vegetables to have?
As part of a balanced diet, it is recommended that you have 2 or more servings of vegetables per day, and 2 servings of fruits per day. For easy measurement, a serving of fruits or vegetables is about the size of a fist.
If you’re planning to or currently following traditional Chinese confinement diet practices, you may have been told that there are certain vegetables and fruits to avoid during confinement. If you wish to have a well balanced diet while still respecting traditional diet practices, our suggestion for you is to consult both traditional and modern health practitioners, and try to find fruits and vegetables that are accepted by both concepts. For example, some acceptable vegetables for confinement based on traditional belief include amaranth, broccoli, Shanghai green, snow peas and capsicum.
Get the Best Nourishment During Confinement
Your body needs the best nutrients after giving birth to improve your postpartum recovery and breast milk production. At Tian Wei Signature, we serve MSG-free, breastfeeding-friendly confinement meals to benefit you and your baby with all the essential nutrients. You can enjoy a wide variety of fusion and traditional confinement meals that include healthy grains, meat, fish, and vegetables for confinement. Each meal also comes with red dates tea and herbal soup or warm dessert. Learn more about our confinement delivery Singapore packages by clicking the “Book Now” button on the top right corner of this webpage now!