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The CalorieKing Fibre Guide

Are you rough enough?

Chances are, you’re not. And we’re not talking about social behaviour, unkempt hair, or unruly clothes. Adults (no matter what their hairstyle) need between 25 and 35 grams of dietary fibre every day, though most of us are lucky if we get ten.

Fibre is an important nutrient for a number of reasons. It helps protect against heart disease and diabetes, can assist in weight loss, and - of course - it keeps you regular.

Read on to learn more about fibre and how to get enough of it.

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What is fibre?

Fibre is basically a carbohydrate that can’t be digested by the human body. It is found in plants that we eat, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Unlike most nutrients, it is not absorbed by our bodies but passes through the digestive tract largely intact. Yet fibre is very important to good digestive health and also protects against several serious diseases.

There are three types of dietary fibre:

Soluble fibre dissolves in water and turns into a type of gel during digestion. This slows the process of digestion and nutrient absorption.

Good sources of soluble fibre include:

  • Oat bran
  • Barley
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes (dried peas, beans, lentils)
  • Apples, pears, and citrus fruits
  • Vegetables, such as potatoes and Brussels sprouts

Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. Instead, it absorbs many times its weight in water. This creates a soft bulk and appears to speed up the passage of foods through the stomach and intestines. It also adds bulk to the stool.

Good sources of insoluble fibre include:

  • Wheat, corn and rice bran
  • Couscous
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-grain cereals and breads
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Nuts and seeds

Resistant starch is the part of starchy foods (approximately ten percent) which is tightly bound by fibre and resists normal digestion. Friendly bacteria in the large bowel ferment and change the resistant starch into short-chain fatty acids, which are important to bowel health and may protect against colon cancer.

Examples of starchy foods include:

  • Bread
  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes

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