Fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health. However, many people don’t get enough fibre. In this part we will look at the two different types of fibre, where to find them and how to add to your diet for optimal health!

Dietary fibre in EuropeA review of dietary fibre in Europe and its relationship to health has been published online in the Journal Nutrition Research Reviews. It involved researchers from academia and the food industry.Main findings from the report include:

“In Europe the recommendation for total fibre intake is 25-32g/day for adult women and 30-35g/day for adult men.
This recommendation is lower for children and the elderly.
No recommendations for specific types of fibre exist in Europe.
Grains were the main source of fibre. This included bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, biscuits and pastries.Vegetables, potatoes and fruit were also significant contributors to fibre intake.
The review found health benefits from the consumption of fibre. Consumption of dietary fibre was linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
For each 7g of dietary fibre consumed, the risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced by 7-9%.
There is evidence of a beneficial effect of fibre on the risk of certain cancers including cancer of the colon and rectum.”

On average, most people in the UK get about 18g of fibre a day. You should aim for at least 30g a day.

For children it is recommended the average amount of dietary fibre per day should be:
2-5-year-olds: about 15g
5-11-year-olds: about 20g
11-16-year-olds: about 25g
16-18-year-olds: about 30g

Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants. Foods such as meat, fish and dairy products don’t contain any fibre. There are two different types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Each type of fibre helps your body in different ways, so a normal healthy diet should include both types. Eating wholegrain cereals and plenty of fruit and vegetables helps to ensure both adults and children are eating enough fibre.
However, if you have a digestive disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may need to modify the type and amount of fibre in your diet in accordance with your symptoms.

Further information pertaining to IBS and Fibre is included in this article!

Soluble fibre
Soluble fibre can be digested by your body. It may help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
If you have constipation, gradually increasing sources of soluble fibre – such as fruit and vegetables, oats and golden linseeds – can help soften your stools and make them easier to pass. Foods that contain soluble fibre include:
Oats, barley and rye
Fruit, such as bananas and apples
Root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes
Golden linseedsInsoluble fibre

Insoluble fibre can’t be digested. It passes through your gut without being broken down and helps other foods move through your digestive system more easily. Insoluble fibre keeps your bowels healthy and helps prevent digestive problems. If you have diarrhoea, you should limit the amount of insoluble fibre in your diet.
Good sources of insoluble fibre include:
Wholemeal bread
Bran Cereals
Nuts and seeds (except golden linseeds, these contain soluble fibre)

Eating foods high in fibre will help you feel fuller for longer. If you need to increase your fibre intake, it’s important that you do so gradually. A sudden increase may make you produce more wind (flatulence), leave you feeling bloated, and cause stomach cramps. It’s also important to make sure you drink plenty of fluid.

You should drink approximately 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluid a day, or more while exercising or when it’s hot.

Some of the better High-Fibre Foods
Note: The amount of fibre in these foods can vary slightly between the raw and cooked versions.
1. Split Peas
Fibre: 16.3 grams per cup, cooked.
A staple in Indian cooking, split peas form a terrific, protein-rich base for soups, stews, and dhal.

2. Lentils
Fibre: 15.6 grams per cup, cooked.
Lentils are kitchen all-stars—they take less time to cook and are more versatile than many other legumes

3. Black Beans
Fibre: 15 grams per cup, cooked.

4. Lima Beans
Fibre: 13.2 grams per cup, cooked.

5. ArtichokesFibre: 10.3 grams per medium vegetable, cooked.Packing more fibre per serving than any other vegetable, artichokes are curiously underused in most people’s kitchens

6. Peas
Fibre: 8.8 grams per cup, cooked.

7. Broccoli
Fibre: 5.1 grams per cup, boiled.

8. Brussels Sprouts
Fibre: 4.1 grams per cup, boiled.

9. Raspberries
Fibre: 8 grams per cup, raw. Raspberries aren’t a hard sell—they’re basically nature’s candy.
With the help of coconut, oatmeal, and vanilla, they make a relatively healthy dessert that pleases any palate.

10. Blackberries
Fibre: 7.6 grams per cup, raw.

11. Avocados
Fibre: 6.7 grams per half, raw. Few foods deserve the title of “superfood” more than the avocado, which is jam-packed with vitamins, fibre, and healthy fats.

12. Pears
Fibre: 5.5 grams per medium fruit, raw.

13. Bran Flakes
Fibre: 7 grams per cup, raw.

14. Whole-Wheat Pasta
Fibre: 6.3 grams per cup, cooked.

15. Pearl barley
Fibre: 6 grams per cup, cooked. It’s not just for making beer—barley is a chewy, nutritious grain that contains more fibre than oatmeal and brown rice.
It can be used in soup, salad, or tea, try it out in a tasty risotto (which I love, it’s so simple to make!)

16. Oatmeal
Fibre: 4 grams per cup, cooked.

Sneaky Tips to Add More Fibre to Any Meal
Add flaxseed meal to oats, smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods—you can even try breading chicken or fish with it. A two-tablespoon serving contains 3.8 grams of fibre and a dose ofomega-3 fatty acids to boot.
Chia seeds have a whopping 5.5 grams of fibre per tablespoon. When they meet with water, they form a goopy gel that is great for thickening smoothies, making healthy puddings, or replacing eggs in cakes and cookies.

While spinach and carrots aren’t as high in fibre as the veggies mentioned above, they can easily be sliced or grated and added into many dishes without much hassle:
Try adding some to banana bread, shakes, eggs, or even a homemade pizza base. Food processors are fibres’ best friend. Purée some cooked vegetables and add them to sauces and stews, or swap out rice for chopped-up cauliflower.

What counts as high and low in fibre?

High: Foods containing 6g or more of fibre per 100g.
Low: Foods containing less than 3g of fibre per 100g.

Remember: it is normal to feel some bloating and to pass a little more wind when you first start to add in more fibre to your daily diet. This is normal and will settle down in a week or two. It may help to gradually increase fibre in our diet over a period of a few weeks.

Being a sufferer of bloating and symptoms of that likened to IBS since a teen I have always tried to watch what I eat – I know that all starchy carbs – white bread, pasta, rice and sometimes potatoes WILL upset me – so I stay right away from those, don’t need them don’t miss them! I do love Pizza though and that’s something that we either will make or sometimes I share….we tend to go for fresh dough if possible, it seems to make a difference but after a couple of slices I am done as I don’t want to really risk pain! Certain veggies definitely are a trigger and recently I have in addition to taking probiotic supplements I now am trying fermented yoghurts and fermented Milk (KEFIR) this seemed the right way to add to my way of eating as the latest Episode left me feeling rubbish for nearly 2 weeks… and quite honestly I will try anything that is natural!

It is worth keeping an eye on your daily meals, luckily we eat pretty much the same foods weekly so adding in something new and then suffering after makes elimination a lot easier, on the other hand it’s not always that easy!SO, again with research about dietary fibre and IBS I have written, and researched the following for anyone else that suffers!

Soluble vs. Insoluble Fibre: How to Know what’s Right for you if you have IBS…..

Fibre may help relieve some of the problems caused by IBS but the type of fibre you eat needs to be tied to your specific symptoms.

Fibre is an important part of your daily diet. That’s especially true for people living with IBS, a gastrointestinal condition marked by stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation. Because the body reacts differently to soluble and insoluble fibre, each type can help or hurt, depending on the IBS symptoms you’re experiencing at any given time.

The Differences between the Two
Experts liken fibre to an on-off switch as far as IBS is concerned. Soluble fibre slows things down in the digestive tract, helping with diarrhea, while insoluble fibre can speed things up, alleviating constipation.Soluble fibre is hydrophilic so people can think of soluble fibre as being a magnet to water.By attracting water, soluble fiber removes excess fluid, which is how it helps decrease diarrhea. It isa recommended by some experts in the field that IBS patients who are dealing with diarrhea increase their intake of soluble fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, such as:
Oats, beans, bran, and barley are also good sources of soluble fibre.

Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water, so it stays intact as it moves through your digestive system. This is something that can be helpful for constipation because it adds bulk to the stool and can get things moving almost like a laxative effect.

It is advised suffering from constipation to focus on adding more vegetables to their diet, including:

CabbageLeafy greens
Other foods rich in insoluble fibre include
flaxseeds, chia seeds, whole grains, bran, brown rice, cereals, and rolled oats.

“Fibre supplements can also help you increase your intake, but it is recommended, that people should only turn to this if they can’t get enough fibre in their diets.
Supplements are considered “functional fibre,” which may not be as beneficial as a whole food. Foods that have labels touting “added fibre” are also forms of functional fibre and should be met with some scepticism.
Though not harmful, we don’t know that those are beneficial necessarily because they don’t have the same nutrients and biochemical’s that a whole food would have,”

Increasing Your Fibre Intake
While dietary fibre can improve the function of your digestive system, increasing your intake all at once can leave you feeling bloated and gassy when your body’s not used to high amounts.
If you want to increase your fibre intake to better control IBS symptoms, it is recommended adding fibre one meal at a time then waiting a few days to a week to see how the body reacts.
If all is well, you can continue adding more fibre to your diet.Break down each meal and see where there are places to add fruits and vegetables.For example, instead of eating a pastry for breakfast, try Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and flaxseeds instead.
For lunch and dinner, try adding salads, sides of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa.

A good rule of thumb is to fill up half your plate with fruits and vegetables, also, replace refined grains with whole grains. Instead of white bread, refined cereals, and white rice, choose whole grain breads, bran muffins, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, and brown rice.
Remember to make these changes gradually for an easier transition.

And don’t forget to drink plenty of water. “Fibre can’t do its job without water. It can cause more GI (gastrointestinal)distress if it’s not married with fluid.

Finally, fibre isn’t the only factor in IBS symptoms. Try talking to your doctor about your diet and try elimination diets for periods of time to identify which foods are triggering your symptoms. Over the years food elimination has worked so far for me, as personally I am a baby, (I hold my hands up!) I hate being in pain and the thought of being out and running for the loo or spending days trying to relieve constipation and bloating is horrid, so I AVOID the main culprits with a very wide berth! It’s not worth the pain for me! I haven’t cracked it though but I now know there are quite a few veggies that potentially could have an effect on me….I guess I just need to find out which other ones are on my “no, no list!”

PLEASE note that note that as with anything IBS is not a “one size fits all” but we all have triggers….the above is for advise and maybe adding / eliminating foods that haven’t really been thought of before could actually help!If you would like to talk to me further about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

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