Fibre is any edible food material that passes through the intestinal tract undigested.
What is fibre?
Roughage, bulk and bran are all terms that are used to mean fibre.
Fibre is the part of plant foods that cannot be digested by humans. It is found on breads, fruits, cereals, vegetables and grains. Surprising but true, animal products such as meat, fish poultry, eggs and dairy products do not contain any fibre.
Fibre comes in 2 basic forms - soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water. foods that are high in soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley and some beans.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water but retains water, and is used to soften and build up stool, thus preventing constipation. It can be found in vegetables, whole grains and wheat bran.
Why do we need fibre?
A regular intake of fibre has many advantages and can help even if you are healthy. Fibre can keep bowels functioning regularly, and keep constipation away. Research shows that fibre can also reduce our chance of getting colon cancer. By increasing food bulk, fibre gives our brain more time to realise that our body is no longer hungry and helps prevent overeating.
Fibre decreases the risk of irritable bowel syndrome. Soluble fibre is also thought to lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
How much fibre we need?
We should take at least 20-35 gm fibre per day. Eating too much fibre can cause diarrhoea and bloating. Because people vary in their sensitivity to fibre, the amount that a person can eat also varies. A good target is to eat the amount that results in normal bowel movement.
Where can we get fibre?
Ideally, you should be able to get all the fibre you need by eating high-fibre food. Fibre can be increased by eating foods in their natural state, before peeling or juicing.
Cereals are a quick way to eat fibre. Fruits can provide up to 5 grams of fibre in a single serving. Fruits and vegetables with edible skins are higher in fibre. Cooking vegetables does not change the fibre content. Breads with whole grain flours and added fibre are also a good source of it. Bran muffins are popular as well, but may contain high levels of fat.
Legumes and beans contain up to 12 grams of fibre per cup. High fibre snacks include seeds, nuts and popcorn.
Fibre is also available in powder form. Consult your physician before using these products if you have problems, or are taking any other medications. Always read and follow the directions on the labels when using these products.
Eating a variety of foods that contain dietary fibre is the best way to get an adequate amount of fibre. Healthy individuals who eat a balanced diet rarely need supplements. The list of foods will help you select those that are main sources of dietary fibre. To retain dietary fibre serve fruits and vegetables with edible skins and seeds. Use whole grain flours.
Dietary Fibre in Various Foods
|Corn on the cob||5.9||1 cup|
|Peas (canned)||4.0||½ cup|
|Peas (dried)||7.9||½ cup|
|Refried Beans||12.0||1 cup|
|Peas (dried)||7.9||½ cup|
|Apple with peel||3.5||1 medium|
|Grape Fruit (fresh)||0.6||½ medium|
|Orange (Fresh)||2.0||1 medium|
|Peach (fresh)||2.0||1 medium|
|Whole wheat bread||1.3||one slice|
|French Bread||0.7||one slice|
|Sunflower Seeds||4.0||1 ounce|
The fibre shown in the list as coming from these groups is grain products or vegetables added to them. Even foods that contain a small amount of dietary fibre can make an important contribution to an individual's diet of these foods are eaten in large amounts. Some studies indicate that soluble fibres may play a role in reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood. Foods containing soluble fibre are fruits, vegetables, dry beans and peas and some cereals such as oats. So eat dietary fibre to remain healthy.
(Guest Post by Vini)
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