Saturday, June 23, 2012

What is fibre

Dietary fiber is the name of certain carbohydrates from vegetables, plants and grains that the body can't fully digest.  Fiber binds with cholestrol in the intestines.  Its believed that fiber is converted into a gluey paste in the digestive tract preventing it from being absorbed into the body where it could have gone to clog arteries.

Controlling or maintaining weight is easier with a diet rich in fiber. Fiber alone can't peel the pounds off. We need a healthy, calorie controlled diet and get regular physical activity.  Foods rich in fibre includes oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, black beans , legumes, nuts, lentils, almonds etc.  Simple substitutions would enrich your diet. e.g eating one orange instead of drinking a glass of orange juice or one cup of beans instead of one cup of mashed potatoes.

Dietary fiber has benefits of weight control, lowering cholestrol, reducing constipation and diabetes. Food high in fiber which comes from plants have no cholestrol and is low in calories and have less fat.  Foods like oatmeal, apples, strawberries, beans have soluble fibre meaning they turn to a gel in the intestines and slows down digestion.  Insoluble fiber found in whole grains, carrots, tomatoes, wheat cereals does not really break down.

Fiber helps to control blood sugar.  It slows the absorption of sugar which for people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar levels.

To increase fiber in your diet, switch to whole grains, whole wheat, whole wheat flour or another whole grain.  Instead of white bread eat whole grain bread.  Substitute whole grain flour for half or all of the white flour when baking.  In yeast breads, use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer.  When using baking powder, increase it by one teaspoon for every 3 cups of whole grain flour.

Some tips to increase fibre in your diet may  include snacking on vegetables, make vegetables the main course, eat more beans, have high fibre cereal with fruit and low fat dairy for breakfast, vegetable based soup, nuts and seeds in small portions as they are high in fibre and calories.

Be sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily when adding fiber to your diet.  Fiber without adequate fluids causes causes constipation instead of helping to eliminate it.

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