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Dietary fiber

Dietary fiber
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Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. A diet high in fibre has many health benefits. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health.

However, many people don't get enough fibre. On average, most people in the UK get about 14g of fibre a day. You should aim for at least 18g a day.

Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants. Foods such as meat, fish and dairy products don't contain fibre.

There are two different types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Each type of fibre helps your body in different ways, so a normal, healthy diet should include both types.

However, if you have a digestive disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may need to modify the type and amount of fibre in your diet in accordance with your symptoms. Your GP or a dietitian will be able to advise you further about this.

Soluble fibre
Soluble fibre can be digested by your body. It may help reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. If you have constipation, gradually increasing sources of soluble fibre – such as fruit and vegetables, oats and golden linseeds – can help soften your stools and make them easier to pass.

Foods that contain soluble fibre include:
oats, barley and rye
fruit, such as bananas and apples
root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes
golden linseeds

Insoluble fibre
Insoluble fibre can't be digested. It passes through your gut without being broken down and helps other foods move through your digestive system more easily. Insoluble fibre keeps your bowels healthy and helps prevent digestive problems. If you have diarrhoea, you should limit the amount of insoluble fibre in your diet.

Good sources of insoluble fibre include:
wholemeal bread
nuts and seeds (except golden linseeds)
Eating foods that are high in fibre will help you feel fuller for longer. This may help if you are trying to lose weight (also see the weight loss guide).
If you need to increase your fibre intake, it's important that you do so gradually. A sudden increase may make you produce more wind (flatulence), leave you feeling bloated and cause stomach cramps.

It's also important to make sure you drink plenty of fluid. You should drink approximately 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) of fluid a day, or more while exercising or when it's hot.Plant sources of fiber:

Legumes contain healthy dietary fibers.

Some plants contain significant amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber. For example plums and prunes have a thick skin covering a juicy pulp. The skin is a source of insoluble fiber, whereas soluble fiber is in the pulp. Grapes also contain a fair amount of fiber.

The root of the konjac plant, or glucomannan, produces results similar to fiber and may also be used to relieve constipation. Glucomannan is sold in various forms, and while safe in some forms, it can be unsafe in others, possibly leading to throat or intestinal blockage.

Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:legumes (peas, soybeans, lupins and other beans)oats, rye, chia, and barleysome fruits (including prunes, plums, avocados, berries, ripe bananas, and the skin of apples, quinces and pears)certain vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokesroot tubers and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and onions (skins of these are sources of insoluble fiber also)psyllium seed husks (a mucilage soluble fiber) and flax seedsnuts, with almonds being the highest in dietary fiber.

Sources of insoluble fiber include:whole grain foods wheat and corn bran. Legumes such as beans and peas nuts and seeds potato skins lignans vegetables such as green beans, cauliflower, zucchini (courgette), celery, and nopal some fruits including avocado, and unripe bananas the skins of some fruits, including kiwifruit, grapes and tomatoes.

Read More at Wikipedia

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