The F Word Everyone Is Talking About….. Fiber

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We all know fiber is an important part of our diets. But why?

The Lowdown

Everyone needs the right amount of fibre in their diet, so what is it and how do we get it?

Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of plants that passes relatively unchanged through the stomach and intestines. It is mostly made up of carbohydrates, which consist of different types of sugars. There are two types of dietary fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can’t be digested, but it absorbs water to become a gelatinous substance that passes through the body. Good sources of soluble fiber you need in your diet include fruits, oat bran, barley, beans, lentils, and peas. Insoluble fiber is mostly unchanged as it passes through the body and adds bulk. Good sources include rice bran, nuts, seeds and wholegrain foods.

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Fiber is important in aiding digestion. Soluble fiber soaks up water. It slows down the rate of digestion, and this is then counteracted by insoluble fiber, which speeds up the time that food takes to pass through the gut. A lack of fiber, particularly insoluble, can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and worse cases- colon cancer.

It is thought that soluble fiber helps protect against heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol. A high-fibre diet also slows glucose absorption from the small intestine into the blood, reducing the possibility of a surge of insulin. Fiber is therefore recommended for people with diabetes and a high-fibre diet can help to prevent development of the condition.

Must Try high Fiber Snacks

GG Scandinavian crisp breads

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