Friendly Tips and Advice on the Benefits of a Fiber Rich Diet
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Fiber is a nutrient that is essential for everyone, especially diabetics. A high-fibre diet can help you feel fuller for longer and control your blood sugar levels.
If you have a history of bowel problems, read the italic note below. If not, find out what’s so special about this nutrient.
A note for IBS sufferers
Please note that this page is not dedicated for anyone with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or any other bowel problems. High-fiber diets can cause further discomfort especially if the change is sudden.
Please consider this advice with a pinch of salt and consult your doctor/dietician before increasing your intake. If you do follow these tips, ensure that the change is gradual.
What’s so special about fiber?
It’s a bit like a scourer. It passes through our digestive system and takes any gunk in our bowels with it. That is how it reduces constipation. It also improves its ability to absorb water.
Put simply, Fiber-rich diets can help you pass through more easily and help to prevent constipation, diarrhea and straining, 3 key elements to preventing Hemorrhoid.
Genereally, fiber that prevents and cures diseases is the INSOLUBLE type as it can’t be broken down. It is found in many nuts and seeds, grains like rice and bran and many vegetables. But that’s not all it does.
Why is fiber essential for diabetics?
It slows down the absorption of carbohydrates. What’s so special about that?
When digested, carbohydrates are broken down into Glucose. This is then transported through the blood. So when you eat a meal your blood sugar level increases. Eating fibre-rich foods slows this down making it easier to maintain your blood sugar levels.
As a bonus it also reduces your cholesterol count by helping the body excrete it. So if you are overweight or obese, there is even more reason to change to a fibre-rich diet.
This type is SOLUBLE. It is found in many of the beans and pulses in the meat and beans group, grains like oats and most fruit and vegetables.
How much should I take?
Generally the RDA is 18-35g. Keeping a food diary will certainly help you become more aware of your fiber intake so I’d recommend keeping a food diary for the first week or two of your diet change, so that eating fibrous foods becomes second nature.
Just remember one of the important things about keeping a food diary is to be able to easily read the food labels of your meals. So for some key advice on reading the food label, click here for the Food Label page.
The best thing to do is to experiment. SLOWLY increase your intake every day and see how you feel. If you reach near or at the upper limit and still feel good (or better than when you started) stick to that level.
If you reach a point where you have digestive discomfort or are farting a lot, reduce your intake slightly. If you still feel uncomfortable ask your doctor/dietician for advice.
People react differently to fiber but it is definitely worth eating over time. There are many long-term health benefits, especially for diabetics.
Most of the fibre on fruit and veg is on the outer layers (skin, peel etc). You can grate the outer layer to sprinkle on foods. This is commonly used with citric fruits like lemons (i.e lemon zest).
Fruit and veg juices tend to have less fiber than the whole fruit. Most of it stays in the pulp of the fruit, which is thrown.
Cooking fruit and veg will break down the fibre content, reducing its quality. Steaming fruit and veg is a good option. But you can also turn it into soup. Find out some more cooking tips for fruit and veg here.
If you know you over eat, try making a high-fiber meal. These meals tend to fill you up and keep you that way fora while. Try to eat SLOWLY. Rushing your food will force your body to digest loads of food at one time. Our bodies can find this difficult, mcausing our metabolism to slow down.
Eating slowly will improve your metabolism.
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