Dietary Fibre

Dietary Fibre

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I''m sure most of us know that we should be eating more unrefined cereals like wholemeal bread, wholemeal flour in baked goods, wheatgerm, brown rice and oats because they can help in reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol and may also help to prevent colon cancer. It is also thought that these kinds of foods can help to control blood sugar in diabetics as well as be instrumental in preventing other diseases.The name given to these types of food is dietary fibre (you might have heard it called roughage in the past). Research studies turned up a correlation between a lower incidence of heart disease and some forms of cancer in countries where people had a large proportion of dietary fibre as part of their regular meals.So what is fibre?

It is made from different constituents:cellulose

lignin - the woody part of plants

There are two types of fibre: water insoluble and water soluble.Insoluble FibreWater insoluble fibre cannot be digested by body.

It absorbs water and adds bulk to faeces, without this, people can be prone to constipation and can lead to conditions like haemorrhoids (piles) and diverticulitis.

Soluble FibreThis can be partially digested.

Soluble fibre is thought to bind to cholestorol fatty acids in the blood and then be instrumental in taking them to the bowels where they are excreted.

It slows the movement of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream so helping diabetics control blood sugar levels.

In spite of the success of some people with low carb diets like Atkins, studies have shown that high fibre foods can help in a weight loss diet because they give a feeling of fullness and take longer to digest than other foods so delaying hunger pangs.Good Sources of Fibre

Oats - porridge, muesli, baked goods made with oatsWholemeal baked goods (watch for trans fats in store bought ones, though).Brown riceNuts and seedsUnpeeled fruit, eg jacket potatoes (eat the skin), apples, apricots, etcVegetablesCertain high fibre breakfast cereals but watch for high sugar, salt or fat.Copyright © Carol Fisher 2006

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