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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Fibres >>  Dietary Fibre

Dietary Fibre

Dietary fibre, or roughage, is a complex carbohydrate found in plants. While the human body does not actually digest roughage itself, it is needed to digest other food. This is because as it goes through the system, it cleans the inside of the colon. Sources of dietary fibre are vegetables, grain, fruit, and legumes. It is important to include dietary fibre sources in every meal.
Fibre is classified as soluble dietary fibre and insoluble dietary fibre. The soluble fibres, like pectin which is found in fruit, dissolve in water. Insoluble fibres, which come from grain, vegetables, barley, rye and oatmeal and many fruits and berries, do not dissolve in water. We need both of these types of fibre, unfortunately, not enough people get the right amount of fibre in their diets.

Functions of dietary fibre

Dietary fibre foods have many functions. They give your food bulk and make you feel full quicker. They trap carbohydrates during digestion, and thus keep blood sugar levels in check. They reduce the risk of heart disease, by lowering cholesterol. They regulate blood sugar and help against diabetes. Dietary fibre is an important part of the digestive process, and it also helps prevent constipation. It has also been shown to lower the risk of colorectal cancer. So the importance of dietary fibre cannot be understated.

Dietary fibre supplements

Since our lifestyles often force us to eat wrong, it may help to take some dietary fibre supplements. These are available as both pills and powder, and can be bought over the counter. Their aim is not to replace roughage completely, but to help us to reach the daily fibre consumption of 25 to 30 grams. In fact, many ready to eat processed foods have dietary fibre supplements mixed in them to increase their nutritional value. There are different types of dietary fibre supplements available in the market. The effects of these supplements depend on which kind of fibre they are made of. Mostly, supplements contain soluble fibre. This help with digestion and the gastrointestinal system. They help with problems like irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or diarrhea. Inulin is a fibre that helps with Crohn’s disease. Colitis, which comes from vegetable gum, has also been shown to relieve irritable bowel syndrome.

Dietary supplements have been shown to boost cardiovascular health and lower levels of bad cholesterol in the body. They have also been shown to help with weight loss. Supplements also help you lower your appetite. Before you decide to eat dietary fibre supplements, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor to find out exactly which kind of fibre you need.
Submitted on January 16, 2014