Fiber dilemma: Dal and Roti diet

Indian diet is rich in quality fiber needed for a good gut health with lentils and wheat being a part of staple diet for most of us. The trouble is eating fiber rich Indian foods is that they come packed with carbohydrates as well .

Importance of fibre has been long known in keeping our gut healthy and smooth bowel movement. A healthy bacterial population is responsible to for a lot more than easy passage of waste and recent research suggests it can be responsible for a lot more which includes, good absorption of nutrients, sleep and keeping our brain active.

One of the ways most people like to keep those important bacteria alive is by constantly replenishing them through normal dietary foods ( Fermented milk products like cheese, curd, sour cream , buttermilk etc ) which can provide a good dose of bacteria. There are probiotic products with live cultures which we can take to supplement our diet.  The biggest challenge with probiotic sources is to keep the culture alive. Poor infrastructure, lack of awareness of storage temperature and poor cooling equipment mean that it is very difficult to keep probiotic sources at right temperatures to keep the cultures alive. Even if stored well cultures are pH sensitive and a little too much acid in the stomach, the bacteria die before reaching the intestine.

A new solution is to feed the the existing bacteria and help them grow and they thrive on a particular fibre. Inulin is present in a lot of pulses and chickpeas etc, however we would need to consume those in a huge amount in the initial phase to provide enough to get the culture going . It has become essential for us to supplement that in our diet . Pulses and chickpeas are also rich in carbohydrates and proteins. These carbs get hidden under the label of vegetarian protein source and rich in  fiber, which leads to overeating of carbohydrates in our diet.

A good suggestion is to include plenty of low calorie carbohydrate fiber sources in our diet as salads full of green leafy vegetables like lettuce, rocket, cabbage, baby spinach etc. Most fruit and vegetables are also good sources of fiber, however fruit again have carbohydrates which may add to our daily intake of calories.

A balanced diet with a plenty of green leafy vegetables is always recommended as a part of balanced diet and these are best eaten raw. Make sure your plate is a as colourful as possible with bright greens , reds , yellows and purples to ensure getting a variety of vitamins and minerals. Wash the vegetables thoroughly as there are often dangerous parasites lurching on the leaves.