Fiber is an important component of a healthy balanced diet but many of us do not eat enough of it. Your recommended daily intake is 25g per day and figures from nutrition surveys show that 80% of people do not get the recommended amount of fiber in their diet. The current diet for a UK adult rates only around 10 grams of dietary fiber per day.
How can we alter our fibre intake?
Dietary fiber is found in plant foods such as cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables and occurs mainly in the plant cell wall where it provides structural support for the plant.
Dietary fiber can be divided into two main types: Soluble and insoluble fiber. High soluble-fiber diets may lower cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (the 'bad' lipoproteins) by 8% to 15%. Soluble fiber can also help with constipation,
Insoluble Fiber includes wheat, corn, rice, the skins of fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods, are all valuable sources of insoluble fiber. We need to eat both types of fiber in our daily diet. The following foods are all good sources of dietary fiber:
1) Wholemeal, granary and softgrain varieties of bread
2) Jacket potatoes, new potatoes in their skins and baked potato skins,
3) Wholegrain breakfast cereals, eg. Weetabix, shreddies, all bran
It is generally accepted that a diet high in fiber is protective, or at least reduces the incidence, of colon polyps and colon cancer. High fiber diets help delay the progress of diverticulosis and, at least, reduce the bouts of diverticulitis. It is used effectively in treating constipation resulting from poor dietary habits. Constipation can also be a side effect of a high-fiber diet if fluid intake is not also increased.
A diet rich in fiber has many health benefits. However, there are many reasons why including more fiber in your diet can help boost weight loss and make slimming less painful. To start with, unlike other carbohydrates, most dietary fiber does not provide any calories.
However, some people report that a high fiber diet causes some persistent mild symptoms such as mild pains and bloating. If you are not used to eating a high-fiber diet, try to introduce high-fiber foods gradually as eating too much too quickly can cause bloating and wind and do not forget to drink at least 2-3 liters of preferably water or well diluted fruit squash.