The components of a diet that are not considered nutrients are called non-nutrients. But some non-nutrients play a vital role in our body – water and fibre. It is always advised to consume a lot of fibre and drink a lot of water. There is a deep reason behind that. Fibres help improve digestion and water is needed for the overall functioning of the body. Moreover, water also helps you lose weight. But there are some other reasons because of which it is advised to take fibres and water in a large amount.
This article will explain in detail the different non-nutrients that are beneficial for your health & how fibre and water as a nutrient can help you stay healthier.
What are Non-Nutrients?
As discussed above, non-nutrients or non-essential nutrients are substances that can modulate several metabolic pathways. These are non-caloric substances. Moreover, non-nutrients have been demonstrated as anti-inflammatory and accidental. They are helpful in way that they can reduce the intestinal absorption of fat and glucose.
Types of Non-Nutrients
Water and fibre are the most essential non-nutrients but there are many subdivisions under them. Dietary fibre, amino acids, antioxidants, prebiotics, and probiotics are some of them.
1. Dietary fibre is not absorbed by the digestive system of humans and hence it is considered a non-nutrient. But it is very important for digestion and maintaining good health.
2. Non-essential amino acids include alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, alanine, glutamic acid, etc.
3. Antioxidants are believed to provide benefits that are not provided by minerals and vitamins. The free radicals within the body are absorbed by antioxidants. They are generally obtained from plant petrochemicals such as anthocyanins in cranberries and lycopene in tomatoes.
4. For optimal functioning of the digestive tract and to prevent colds, probiotics are needed. They also help in maintaining proper digestive health.
The part of a plant that cannot be digested in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine is called dietary fibre or roughage. In the large intestine, the undigested part is formatted by bacteria. It then produces short-chain fatty acids and gases. Now, if a question arises, “is fibre a nutrient or not? then the benefits provided by fibre are the answer to this question.
There are various sources of food that provide dietary fibre. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, pineapple, and vegetables like green peas, green beans, and broccoli are rich in dietary fibre. It is also present in pulses and whole grains.
Characteristics of Dietary Fibre
1. Dietary fibre can either be soluble or insoluble.
2. It includes cellulose, hemicellulose, Lignin, etc.
3. Fibre-containing foods always contain soluble and insoluble fibres.
4. When a soluble fibre dissolves in water, it forms a gel-like material. Some good sources of soluble fibre are present in foods like oats, barley flaxseeds, fruits, and vegetables
5. Insoluble fibre is present in vegetables like green beans and cauliflower. They promote the movement of materials through the digestive system and add bulk.
Benefits of Dietary Fibre
Following are some of the benefits of dietary fibre:
1. One of the important benefits of insoluble fibre is that it prevents constipation by adding bulk to the stools. It also reduces gut transit time. If there is a parallel increase in the water intake, the impact of fibre gets enhanced.
2. This reduces the risk of hemorrhoids by improving bowel function. It reduces the risk of diverticular disease and colorectal cancer too.
3. Fibre-rich foods also enhance digestion.
4. Fibres help to lower blood sugar and insulin response by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Also, it helps in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
5. Fibre also helps in lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
6. Fibre helps in reducing weight by adding bulk without adding calories. It also has a static heating effect.
How Much Fibre Should You Take?
1. It is always recommended that 25g to 30g of fibre a day is good for health. Also, you must include a variety of green vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts in your diet to obtain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
2. It is advised to take refined and processed food as minimum as possible. This is because the fibre and other nutrients are lost during refining and processing and the body doesn’t get them in optimum amounts. Some refined and processed foods are pasta noodles, white bread, etc.
3. One must take fibre while maintaining proper balance. Too much intake of fibre may lead to problems like intestinal gas and bloating. Too much fibre also interferes with the absorption of minerals.
4. It is always advised to have fibre in moderate amounts along with drinking sufficient water.
It is a known fact that water is essential for all life processes and it is very critical for sustaining life. But some other benefits of water are also very crucial for our health.
1. It is important to intake a lot of water in a day to remove waste products from the body. The waste products are removed through urine, sweat, and stools.
2. The fibre that we take doesn’t digest properly if we do not drink a sufficient amount of water. Moreover, fibre allows waste products to move and truly tries to crack as per the amount of water we are taking. Hence, it prevents toxic waste from accumulating.
3. Another unknown fact about water is that it is a great heat regulator. It helps the body temperature to be the same throughout the day.
4. Water helps in weight loss as it helps you feel full without adding extra calories.
How Much Water Should You Have Throughout the Day?
1. It is recommended that you should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. Also, during hot weather or after intense exercises, you must drink more water if needed.
2. During summer days, eating juicy fruits and having soups, green tea, and herbal teas are also important as they maintain the water content in the body.
3. But try to not take cold drinks, packaged juices, or other refined items to increase water content as they will affect your health adversely. This is because these packaged beverages contain a lot of sugar which is harmful to health.
4. It is very important to sip water throughout the day in order to keep the body hydrated.
The non-nutrients are not accepted as helpful nutrients but they are needed for dietary benefits. They help in absorbing nutrients from the food we take, keeping our digestive system healthy, and also helping in sustaining life. Not to forget, we should always have food in proper balance by drinking a lot of water to stay healthy and disease-free.