What is the link between fibre and disease?
Many people’s diets
in the Western world contain inadequate dietary fibre, and this can
increase the likelihood of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome,
diverticular disease, abdominal discomfort, anal fissures and haemorrhoids.
This webpage explains the benefits of fibre and gives practical advice for
improving your diet.
Where does fibre in our diet come from?
natural fibre in our diet comes from plants; fibre is not found in any meat
or dairy products.
Why is fibre important and what does it do?
is not digestible by the body; when you eat fibre, it passes down through
the small intestine into the colon. In the colon, it is broken down by the
normal bacteria in the gut and then it acts like a sponge to retain water
in the bowel motion (stool). It helps to produce a soft, bulky bowel
motion, which is easy to evacuate. It also eases the passage of the stool
along the bowel, helping to regulate the bowels. It helps prevent
constipation by softening the stool, but can also help prevent diarrhoea by
absorbing some of the liquid to produce a more 'formed' motion.
Does fibre make you fat?
fibre is not absorbed, it does not lead to weight gain. In fact, it can
help in weight reduction because it tends to produce a feeling of fullness,
which can reduce the desire to carry on eating.
Which foods are high in fibre?
- Some breakfast cereals: including high-bran
cereals such as All Bran™, Bran Flakes™, Weetabix™, Shredded Wheat™,
muesli and porridge;
- Some bread: wholemeal, stoneground, granary
or bran enriched;
- Other cereals: brown rice, wholemeal flour
and its products: wholemeal spaghetti, digestive biscuits;
- Vegetables: especially pulses (including
baked beans and kidney beans), lentils, jacket potatoes, carrots,
sweetcorn, broad beans, runner beans, peas, sprouts;
- Fruits: especially oranges, pears, apples,
avocados, grapefruits, prunes, berries, figs;
- Nuts: especially peanuts, almonds, coconuts.
Which foods are low in fibre?
- Breakfast cereals such as corn flakes, Rice
Krispies™, Special K™;
- White bread;
- Meat and meat products unless they have fibre
- Dairy products such as milk, plain yoghurt,
- Many fast foods such as hamburgers.