Fiber in Foods
Are you getting enough?



It is only in recent times that the importance of Fiber in the diet has been recognised. Its association with the easing of constipation and an increase in flatulence has kept this subject under the table.

ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH IN YOUR DIET?

Most of us are not getting enough fiber (or is it Fibre? depends on where you live) in our Diets, because we are consuming High Fat, High Sugar, Processed Fast Foods. Maybe the Myth that “Carbohydrates are Fattening” and should be limited or even avoided could be a cause.

Therefore we are not having enough Grains and Cereals or Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, which are all fantastic sources of Fiber.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FIBER IN THE DIET?

  • Helps prevent Constipation.
  • As Fiber passes through the large intestine, bacteria break down the fiber and multiply. This bacterium makes up the majority of faecal bulk, which is excreted. The more fiber that is digested the greater the amount of bacteria that is produced and some types of fiber will absorb water and make softer faeces, which are easier to pass. This is also beneficial if you suffer from or would like to prevent Haemorrhoids as there is less strain involved in passing softer faeces.

  • May assist in the prevention of Bowel Cancer.
  • Studies have shown that in countries where their diet is high in Fiber there is a lower incidence of Bowel Cancer. That is not to say that fiber will be the cure all to Bowel Cancer because there would probably be other contributing factors with their diet (less fat) and lifestyle. One thought is that because Fiber can keep you regular (passing softer faeces) any harmful substances do not stay in the Bowel for any extended period of time.

  • May help control Blood Cholesterol Levels.
  • It is thought that certain types of fiber may assist in binding bile acids, which take part in the digestion of fats. So if the fiber can make the bile acids unavailable to the body, the body would have to convert cholesterol into bile acids. Therefore less cholesterol would be in the body to block arteries.

  • May help control Blood Sugar Levels.
  • The body requires a certain level of glucose in the blood to function properly (energy for the brain and other vital organs). It could be argued that it is the Complex Carbohydrates and not the Fiber that assists in controlling the levels.

    It is difficult to differentiate between the two, as a diet high in Complex Carbohydrates will also be high in Fiber. An excellent choice would be to choose foods high in fiber that have a low glycaemic index.

    Click here for information on both Complex Carbohydrates and Glycaemic Index.

  • Assists in Appetite and Weight Control.
  • Foods high in fiber and low in fats are more filling than sugary and fatty foods. If you eat a wholegrain sandwich, it is more filling than a sugary chocolate bar and it will keep your hunger at bay for a longer period of time. Good Eating Habits high in Dietary Fiber can assist in controlling your Weight.



    DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH FIBER YOU ARE EATING?


    SOME EXAMPLES OF FIBER CONTENT IN FOODS.

    Breads (Per Slice)
    Dark Rye3.6 gms
    Lebanese3.0 gms
    White (Thick Slice)1.1 gms
    Fruit Loaf1.0 gms
    Wholemeal2.0 gms
    Breakfast Cereals (Average Serve)
    All Bran9.5 gms
    Cornflakes, Special K1.0 gms
    Muesli8.0 gms
    Nutrigran, Rice Bubbles0.5 gms
    Porridge5.0 gms
    Weetbix (2)3.0 gms
    Vegetables (Average Serve)
    Kidney Beans12.0 gms
    Broccoli4.0 gms
    Carrots3.0 gms
    Corn (on Cob,1)6.5 gms
    Lentils7.0 gms
    Peas7.0 gms
    Potato (with skin)3.5 gms
    Potato (peeled)1.5 gms
    FRUIT
    Apple3.5 gms
    Banana3.0 gms
    Orange3.0 gms
    Rhubarb (Cooked)4.0 gms
    Avocado4.0 gms
    Dairy Products
    Milk, Cheese0 gms
    Meat Products
    Meat all types, Poultry, Seafood0 gms
    Fats
    All Types0 gms
    Sugars
    All Types0 gms





    HERE ARE SOME EASY TIPS TO EATING MORE FIBER.

  • Steam, Microwave or Bake Potatoes in their jackets (skins).
  • Eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking juice.
  • Don’t forget on generous serve of Vegetables with your meals.
  • Experiment and try meals with more Legumes (Lentils, Beans).
  • Snack on dried fruits and nuts.
  • Try Porridge for breakfast instead of a sugary variety.
  • Cook a Vegetarian meal once a week.
  • Try Wholegrain Breads and Cereals, choose brown rice and wholemeal breads.
  • Give different products a try. For example, Buckwheat, Rolled Rye, Millet or Cornmeal (known as Polenta).
  • Most recommendations are to have between 30 – 40 grams or Fiber per day. If you are an active person with a balanced diet containing Healthy Carbohydrates for energy. You are most probably getting the required amounts of Fiber in your diet. But if you are consuming processed ,fast foods you may find that you are lacking the necessary Fiber for proper Body functions.

    As you can see a few simple adjustments to your eating habits (your choices) and Fiber can be your friend. Your choices are wide and varied, so please don’t think of it as flavourless or bland. Your body will “Thank You” and that can only be a good thing.


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