Fibre – not just waste

Fibre – not just waste

Fibre is essential for healthy digestion. There are two types of fibre, soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre includes oats, fruit, beans, peas. Insoluble fibre includes vegetable greens, peels, nuts, seeds and beans. Of course many of us peel our fruit or vegetables and throw away the peel because of the possible dangers of toxins, pesticides etc. A problem for anyone looking for healthy food. In many instances the peel or just under it are the healthiest part for vitamins and minerals.

Fibre is an important part of the diet and in most cases we don’t get enough.The main purpose of fibre is elimination. Not just of undigestible foods but toxins, and waste including our internal waste such as dead cells and of ingested waste from dust, fumes and the environment in general. The fibre acts like a sponge absorbing waste and passing through the digestive system to elimination. If we don’t get enough fibre in our diet the toxins and waste accumulate in the body leading to disease and illness.

Getting enough fibre can benefit health in a variety of ways including the heart and reduction of cholesterol. It also helps reduce the risks of cancer, diabetes and digestive and stomach problems.

Getting enough fibre can be a problem in any diet. Foods vary in the amount of quality fibre and the absorption of water they take. You can get more fibre by eating more raw foods. Add extras to a salad. I have lettuce and add rocket and chives and perhaps cucumber and grated carrot plus some red cabbage or sliced leek. Variety is the key and plenty of fruit and vegetables as recommended in my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book, which available free from as a free download under the section Health and Self Improvement.

How much fibre to eat - the recommendation is at least 35 gms and up to 50 gms a day if possible. But if you find your diet has little fibre don’t increase to the limit straight away but build up slowly. Many people average 10 gms or less. Protein lacks fibre so you can’t count that in your search for more fibre. Eating wholegrains, oats, fruit, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans and fruit and vegetables daily will help achieve your goals. With the added bonus that after eating all that you will be full and won’t want to eat junk food anyway.

An example of how it is not always easy to eat enough nutrient rich foods to gain the benefits required is reflected in fibre. To get say 30 gms of fibre (a minimum) you would have to eat 5 slices of wholemeal bread, 3 carrots, and a large head of broccoli. Alternatively you could have porridge for breakfast and have just 15 grams of oats. Flaxseed is also a good source of extra fibre. Two tablespoons of flaxseed gives approx 6 gm of fibre. The flaxseed needs grinding in a coffee or seed grinder first.

Don’t be put off by the need to find enough fibre. The benefits are there plus the added benefits gained from the healthy nutritious foods that contain fibre.