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Fibre is the name given to a group of materials found in plant foods such as fruit, vegetables and cereal grains.
There are two types of fibre, namely soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre is a type of fibre that dissolves in water or absorbs water whereas insoluble fibre is indigestible and passes through the gastrointestinal tract.
Some of the important functions of fibre are, it:
♦ Dhal, lentils, dried beans, baked beans, etc, are high in fibre;
♦ Include in the diet at least once a week. It can replace meat, chicken or fish as a protein dish.
Eat wholewheat or brown bread instead of white bread.
Use unrefined (rough) mealie instead of refined (fine) mealie meal.
Have oats or cereals with bran or fibre instead of refined or sugary cereals.
Digestive bran can be added to mealie meal (in the cooking process) to increase fibre.
Choose wholewheat scones or bran muffins as a treat instead of plain scones or cakes.
Oily and rich foods increase weight and body fat, worsen constipation and increase blood cholesterol levels;
An increase in fluids is needed as fibre absorbs a lot of water
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Tea, coffee and cooldrinks do not count as water.
Too little water often leads to problems with constipation.
Eat regular meals at regular times;
Limit intake of sugar, sweets, chocolates, cakes and desserts;
Increase the fibre content of your diet gradually;
Make positive changes in your diet that you would continue with e.g. a salad or vegetable or fruit with each meal;
A high fibre diet is a healthy diet that should take place with other lifestyle changes e.g:
All other fresh and dried fruit and vegetables
All other wholegrain breads and cereal products
All other high fibre cereals
All other legumes, lentils, dhals and beans.
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