Dietary Fibre: Essential For A Healthy Diet
Eat more fibre. You've probably heard it before. But do you know why fibre is so good for your health?
Dietary fibre — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fibre can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Selecting delicious foods that provide fibre isn't difficult. Find out how much dietary fibre you need, the foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks.
What is dietary fibre?
Dietary fibre, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins, or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fibre isn't digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.
Fibre is commonly classified as:
- Soluble, which dissolves in water, Soluble fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. AND
- Insoluble, which doesn't dissolve. this type of fibre promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables such as cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes are good sources of insoluble fibre.
Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. However, the amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fibre foods.
Benefits of a high-fibre diet
A high-fibre diet has many benefits, which include these benefits reflected in the chart alongside: High Fibre Diet Benefits. Another benefit attributed to dietary fibre is prevention of colorectal cancer. However, the evidence that fibre reduces colorectal cancer is mixed.
How much fibre do you need?
The Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily fibre recommendations for adults. To see how much fibre you need take a look at our chart alongside: Fibre: Daily recommendations for adults.
Your best fibre choices
If you aren't getting enough fibre each day, you may need to boost your intake. Good choices include:
- Whole-grain products
- Beans, peas and other legumes
- Nuts and seeds
Refined or processed foods — such as canned fruits and vegetables, pulp-free juices, white breads and pastas, and non-whole-grain cereals — are lower in fibre. The grain-refining process removes the outer coat (bran) from the grain, which lowers its fibre content. Enriched foods have some of the B vitamins and iron back after processing, but not the fibre.
Whole foods rather than fibre supplements are generally better. Fibre supplements — such as Metamucil, Citrucel and FiberCon — don't provide the variety of fibres, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients that foods do.
Some people may still need a fibre supplement if dietary changes aren't sufficient or if they have certain medical conditions, such as constipation, diarrhoea or irritable bowel syndrome. Check with your doctor before taking fibre supplements.
Tips for Optimising Fibre Intake
Need ideas for adding more fibre to your meals and snacks? Try these suggestions on the chart alongside: Optimising Fibre Tips
- High-fibre foods are good for your health. But adding too much fibre too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating, and cramping. Increase fibre in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.
- Also, drink plenty of water. Fibre works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.
Article Adapted: MayoClinic
The purpose of these pages is not to suggest that you select ONLY these foods to supplement your deficiency, but to show you that if you are eating a healthy balanced diet, eating from the rainbow, and excluding toxic foods, restore your gut-health, then your body will automatically receive the nutrients it needs. The list of foods that we recommend you exclude from your diet is currently on our Daily Nutrition page – it is vital that in order to gain good health, you begin this exclusion process as soon as possible.
The Whole Food Plant based plate gives a good indication of the The Four Food Groups. For a balanced diet follow the recommended daily servings as indicated. Use this as a guide to get you started whilst eating the foods you enjoy, until you are familiar and comfortable with the quantities and volumes you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
The DBM Food Pyramid gives a good indication of types and volumes foods that we recommend to all DBM Patients / Clients. Please remember, you may only eat the goat cheese and other goat products as indicated on that pyramid, on the advice of your DBM Physician/Practitioner.
Ensure that when selecting fruits and vegetables you Eat from The Rainbow. Whole grains and legumes form an important part of this natural, balanced lifestyle.
By eating whole foods, a wide variety of fruit and veggies (eating from the rainbow) you will get all the nutrients your body needs. To show you how wonderful fruits and veggies are – look at the graphics on the Eat From The Rainbow page and you will clearly see that a wide range of fruit and veggies will more than provide for your needs.
Please be aware that external lists or websites we link to might include fish, meat, soya, or other foods that are restricted on all DBM programs. The links are retained as a requirement of copyright. The publishing of this list is intended as educational and certain foods that this article might be listed or linked to do not support DBMs philosophies or practices.
At all times, ensure that the foods you select are permitted by your DBM Physician for your health imbalance. Select only NON-GMO sources that are organic and/or sun-dried.
We are obliged to notify you that the information on this website is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Doctors Across Borders NPO t/as Doctors Beyond Medicine, the author(s) nor publisher(s) take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.