What are the Benefits of a high fibre diet?
The most common reason to bump up the fibre is to maintain bowel regularity and decrease constipation. A high fibre diet is a good idea in general, as it also helps prevent heart disease by decreasing cholesterol, and helps maintain a healthy blood sugar. Last but definitely not least, maintaining a diet high in fibre will help you lose weight.
Who is at Risk of Constipation?
Constipation is actually a life-threatening condition. Left untreated, an individual can experience severe obstruction or impaction that can cause serious illness and even death. Elderly people are at high risk of constipation. So are children, people with disabilities, and pregnant women. If a person is unable to identify the problem, or report pain associated with constipation, (such as young children or people with dementia), the risk of death and serious illness increases drastically. Some people are severely constipated and do not even know it. A hard abdomen, difficulty passing, and infrequent bowel movements are all signs of constipation. There are also lots of medications out there that will cause irregularity. If the side effects of medication you are currently taking include constipation, you will need to boost your fibre intake to counteract this side effect.
What Kinds of Foods should I eat?
High fibre foods include beans, legumes, whole grains, and of course, fruits and vegetables.
These foods are digested easily and pass relatively quickly. One may also choose to take a fibre supplement, which of course isn’t as good as the real thing: healthy fibrous foods.
Whole grain, hearty cereals are a great way to start the day. Try topping your cereal with fruit. A bran muffin or hot cereals are also excellent choices. For lunch, you could have a veggie sandwich, soup, salad, or how about a black bean burger?
Remember that fruits and vegetables should make up about half of your meal. Lean protein and whole grains should make up the other half. Raw fruits and veggies are best, but, if raw vegetables aren’t your thing, you can try steaming them or sautéing them in a stir fry.
Low fat popcorn is a great snack, and nuts are also a high fibre option. Pour on the fruits and veggies! You can also make a fruit smoothie which can be healthy and filling.
How much fibre do you need?
The Institute of dietary medicine indicates that most women should consume 25 grams of fibre, while men should consume 38 grams. Most Americans get only half of the recommended amount. Often they get even less when dieting, ironically, due to eating less food in general and avoiding carbohydrates.
The Final Word
You should increase your fibre intake slowly as it can cause bloating and gas if the body is not used the amount. Also be sure to drink plenty of water.
Dietary fibre is the best fibre, since it occurs naturally.
Last, make all your grains whole.
If you are dieting, it will be easier with a high fibre diet.