High Fiber Diet

What is a high fiber diet?

 

A high fiber diet means consuming more foods that are rich in dietary fiber or roughage which also basically means more unrefined, untreated plant foods.

 

What is dietary fiber?

 

Fiber actually makes up the cell walls of plant foods such as beans, cereals, vegetables and fruit.  Food is consumed for its nutrients which are found within these fibrous wrappings.

 

This fiber cannot be digested or absorbed by our body and is eventually pass out as human waste.  Due to this reason, fiber has not always been recognized as playing a very important role in our diet.  In fact, during food processing and refining, majority of these outer and fibrous layers will be removed and then discarded such as when wheat grains are milled to process into white flour, the whole wheat grain will be broken open with all the external layer of bran being discarded in order for the flour to become white and smooth.

 

Wholemeal flour still contains the grounded whole wheat grains as well as majority of the bran layer hence containing a good amount of fiber.

 

Benefits of fiber

 

So why is fiber important when it is not absorbed and utilized by the body and is just simply passed out as waste in the stools?

 

Fiber is very absorbent and bulky as well as being able to hold a lot of water.  This helps to ensure the the bowel contents, which is the faeces, will remain soft and can be easily passed out from the body hence preventing constipation and other related disorders.  Fiber may also help to absorb poisonous substances which may be harmful if they are left in the bowel.

 

Diets that are high in fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat have been associated with reduced risks of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancers and digestive disorders.

 

Foods rich in fiber

 

The list of fiber rich foods below are roughly sorted in the order according to the amount of fiber provided by the foods and with the best sources listed first:

  1. Bran - Bran can be found in breakfast cereals or purchased inexpensively as miller's bran either from supermarkets or chemists.

  2. Wholemeal bread and flour - Ordinary brown flour has less fiber compared to wholemeal however it is still a lot better than white flour.

  3. Wholegrain cereals -This includes brown pasta, whole wheat breakfast cereals, barley and brown rice.

  4. All kinds of peas and beans and lentils

  5. Root vegetables which includes potatoes (provided eaten with their skins), turnips and carrots.

  6. Dried fruit which includes dates, figs, raisins and nuts

  7. Other fruits and vegetables

Diet high in fiber

 

Follow this guide to include more high-fiber foods in your diet:

  • Whenever possible, try to eat either wholemeal bread or at the very least brown bread.

  • When cooking, use wholemeal flour as it is very suitable for scones, bread, chocolate, fruit and ginger cakes, biscuits, pizzas and some pastries.

  • Search for either bran or wholewheat on the packet and select that kind when buying breakfast cereal.

  • Use spaghetti , brown rice and other pasta.

  • Use plenty of lentils, beans and peas in casseroles and soups.

  • Eat lots of root vegetables making sure to include potatoes baked in their skins.

  • Try sprinkling miller's bran onto any breakfast cereal or stewed fruit or add a little to bread, cakes or biscuits when baking.

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