Fibre: Are you getting enough?

Photo of fibrous fruit and vegatables

 

Fibre plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system, as well as reducing cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, Cancer of the colon, constipation, Diverticulitis, and Irritable bowel syndrome.

There are two main types of Fibre:

Soluble Fibre: Mainly found in plant cells. Good sources are fruits, vegetables, Oats, Barley, Seed husks, Lentils, dried beans and peas. Soluble fibre helps lower LDLs (bad cholesterols) and helps avoid consitpation. In the digestive system it absorbs water to create bulk to digested food but slows down the digestive process in doing so.

Insoluble fibre: Mainly found in plant cell walls. Good sources are Wheat bran, Corn bran, rice bran, the skins of Fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and Wholegrain foods. Where Soluble fibre slows down the digestive process, Insoluble fibre speeds it back up! This is why it’s important to eat both types of fibre in equal amounts.

It is recommended you consume around 18g of fibre per day for healthy digestion and to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Currently the average fibre intake for women in the UK is 12.8g and for men is 14.8g, so we are somewhat falling short.

Many problems can arise from unhealthy digestion caused by lack of fibre: Constipation, Haemorrhoids, Colon cancer, Irritable bowel syndrome and Diverticulitis to name but a few.

Hydration (in the form of water) is crucial with a high fibre diet as water is absorbed from the body and without sufficient fluid, stomach pain and excessive wind may be encountered.

In summary include a good variety of Soluble and insoluble fibre in your daily diet to keep digestion functioning properly and healthily

References:

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Fibre_in_food?open

https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/dietary-fibre.html

 

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