Friday, January 15, 2016

High Fibre Diets

Most of us don’t get enough fibre. The effects of an inadequate fibre intake range from constipation to haemorrhoids and from irritable bowel syndrome to colon cancer. Health research the world over backs up recent marketing campaigns telling us that high fibre diets are excellent for our overall health. Diets high in fibre are linked with weight loss, improved digestive function, decreased rates of colon and bowel cancers, and even stabilised blood sugar.

Why is a high fibre diet effective? Because fibre, though an essential component of a well-balanced healthy diet, can’t be digested by your body. It passes through your small intestine, into the colon where it is broken down by the normal bacteria in your gut. Fibre then acts a bit like a sponge, retaining water to help your body produce more regular, soft, bulky bowel motions. This enhances your bowel health, helps you to avoid constipation and works to prevent diarrhoea by ensuring the liquid in the bowel is distributed evenly. What’s more, fibre is an excellent tool in the weight loss battle – as it isn’t absorbed by your body, it doesn’t contribute to weight gain but does an excellent job of keeping you feeling full.
    How can you eat more fibre? The best fibre in our diet is natural fibre that comes from plants – fibre isn’t found in meat or dairy products. A few excellent sources of fibre are listed here

1. Breakfast cereals: AllBran, BranFlakes, Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, museli and porridge.

2. Breads: wholemeal, stone ground, granary and bran-enriched breads.

3. Cereals/grains: brown rice, wholemeal flour.

4. Vegetables: beans, pulses, lentils, carrots, sweet corn, peas, sprouts and baked potatoes.

5. Fruits: oranges, pears, apples, avacados, grapefruits, prunes, berries, and figs.

6. Nuts: peanuts, almonds and coconuts.

Is there anything else to consider? There aren’t really any negative side effects to eating more fibre. Some people notice an increase in the amount of wind they pass following a sudden increase in the amount of fibre they consume. To avoid this, increase your fibre intake gradually or simply persevere in the amount you’re eating as your body will adjust to the change in diet in a short amount of time. The other key consideration for people about to switch to a high fibre diet is the amount of water consumed. It is important to drink between six and 10 glasses of water or fruit juice every day, in addition to any other drinks. This is important because fibre soaks up liquids in your bowel – if there isn’t enough liquid present, you may find yourself constipated.

Finally, it’s important to remember the role that exercise plays in any diet programme. Taking regular exercise is also linked with improved bowel health and function.

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