Fibre In Your Diet
Why do I need fibre in my diet?
Dietary fiber is the part of plants that cannot be digested. There are 2 kinds of dietary fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to keep foods moving through the digestive system. Soluble fiber holds water which, in turn, softens the stool for easy bowel movements. Fiber is an important part of your diet even though it passes through your body. A high- fibre diet can:
· Reduce cholesterol levels.
· Help promote regular bowel movements.
· Improve blood sugar level if you have diabetics.
· Treat diverticular disease (inflammation of part of the intestine) and irritable bowel syndrome (abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation that come and go).
· Help you lose weight. High-fiber foods are usually lower in calories and provide a feeling of fullness.
If you do not have enough fibre in your diet, you may have constipation. Your bowel movements may be small, hard, and dry.
What foods contain fibre?
Breads, cereals, and pasta made with whole-grain flour or brown rice and wild rice, oats, bulgur, popcorn, quinoa are high-fiber foods. Breakfast cereals and most grain products list the bran or fiber content, so it’s easy to know which products are high in fibre.
All fruits and vegetables also contain fibre. Dried beans, peas, nuts, leafy vegetables, raisins, prunes, apples, berries and citrus fruits are all especially good sources of fibre.
How much fibre do I need in my diet?
You should have at least 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories that you eat every day.
Generally, women should have 25 grams (g) of fiber and men should have 38 grams. Read the label on food packages to find out how much fiber a serving of a food will provide. Foods containing more than 20% of the daily value of fiber per serving are considered high in fiber.
What can I do to increase fibre?
When increasing the fiber in your diet, it is best to do so slowly, because large, sudden increases can cause discomfort, gas, and bloating. Start with small changes, like switching to whole-grain bread, and add a new source of fiber each week or two. You may have some gas or bloating at first, but your body will adjust in time. If you keep having uncomfortable gas, you can try a natural enzyme supplement that can help you digest the gas-forming part of plant foods. The enzyme is sold in liquid and pill form and you don’t need a prescription for it. (Beano is a widely available brand.)
Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast cereal.
Buy more fruits and vegetables. If you buy them, you are more likely to eat them.
Carrot sticks or apple slices for snacks. Include fruits or vegetables with every meal.
Cooked fiber is just as effective as raw fiber.
Eat whole-grain breads.
Add whole grains, dried beans, and vegetables to casseroles.
Serve fruit-based desserts.
If you have constipation even though you have added high-fiber foods to your diet, make sure you are drinking enough fluids and talk to your primary care provider about fiber laxatives. Psyllium is a soluble fiber that is often used for this purpose. It can be taken as a pill or as a powder that is mixed in a glass of water. Always read and follow the directions on the label carefully.
Adding fiber to your diet is easy and a high-fiber diet can provide long-term health benefits.