Natural Dietary Fibres: The Secret to Avoiding Constipation and Related Bloating
We all suffer from constipation and constipation-related bloating occasionally. Some of us less lucky ones experience these symptoms regularly. Constipation, and the subsequent bloating, and are extremely common and can be caused by a variety of reasons.
One of the most effective, and often overlooked, ways to avoid -and indeed cure- constipation and the bloating side effects is to consume Natural Dietary Fibres regularly. You certainly heard a lot about the benefits of adding fibre to your diet, but what is natural fibre and in which foods is it found?
Fibre is the material that gives plants texture and support. Although it is primarily made up of carbohydrates, it generally contains few calories and is not usually broken down by the body for energy. Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains*
Fibre comes in two types, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre is the type used to treat bloating and constipation, and to prevent colon cancer. It is mainly found in the bran of grains, the pulp of fruits and the skin of vegetables. Soluble fibre on the other hand can lower cholesterol levels. It is found in oatmeal and oat bran, dried beans, and in vegetables and fruits, notably apples.
High fibre foods encourage bowel movements by speeding up the transit of food, offering an effective relief from constipation and related bloating. They also reduce the risk of diverticular disease and colon cancer. Fibre is also recommended for people suffering from diabetes and cholesterol. People suffering from obesity can greatly benefit from a fibre rich diet, which tends to make a person feel replete faster.
Fibre foods are also helpful in controlling haemorrhoids or piles, as they add more bulk and soften the stool, thus reducing painful symptoms.
For optimal health, the average daily intake of fibre should be around 25 grams a day for women, and 30 grams for men. Most of us usually consume no more than 10 grams of fibre per day
One easy way to start a diet rich in fibre is to first identify and avoid foods with low fibre value, like:
- Food of animal origin
- Juices of fruits and vegetables and all drinks generally
- Fat, fast food, sugar and sweets
- Prepared & refined foods including cereal products
Easy tips for increasing your natural fibre intake include:
- Choosing wholesome cereals, bread and biscuits rich in fibers, brown rice and oat flakes
- Opting for wholewheat when you eat bread.
- Using dried vegetables or pulses: dried peas, lentils, corn and beans in your salads or combined them with brown rice
- Eating lots of fruits, ideally with their skin (apples, pears, plums, nectarines...)
- Increasing your intake of fresh and preferably organic vegetables
- Consuming dried fruits such as figs, apricots and date, as well as nuts such almonds, walnuts and peanuts
Amongst the foods that are richest in fibre are bran cereals with almost 20 grams for a serving of 1 cup, barley 16 grams, oats bran 15 grams, cooked black beans has 19 grams of fibre, lentils 16 grams, apples (with skin) yields 5 grams, raspberries 8 gr, pears 5gr, grapefruit 6gr and avocadoes yield 12 gr of fibre for 1 medium sized avocado. As for vegetables, higher quantities of fibre are found in Artichoke (10 grams) Kale (7grams) Peas (9grams), corn (4.5 grams) Sweet potatoes (with skin 6 grams).
It's important to remember that our bodies react differently. A high fibre diet can cause bloating in some people, but in others, may relieve it. That's because fibre absorbs water in the gut and gently distends it, helping to prevent the uncoordinated contractions, partly responsible for bloating.
Please note: The amount of fibre in foods varies from one source to another, and the list is too extensive for the purpose of this article
High Fibre Recipe
Barley Salad with Feta Cheese & tomatoes (serves 4)
100 g of barley
150 g of feta
3 tomatoes cut in cubes
6 stalks of coriander or parsley
Cook the barley in water for 90 minutes on low heat. Verify the level of the water at the end of one hour and add some as needed.
Drain and let cool
Pour the barley in a salad bowl and add diced tomatoes and cubed feta. Finish with the coriander or parsley. Drizzle with olive oil
* High Fibre Foods
|Insoluble Fibre||Soluble Fibre|
|Whole wheat bread||Beans|
|Whole grain breakfast cereals
||Nuts and seeds|
* Source: online medical dictionary
More tips on natural bloating and gas relief:
Bloating Causes and Remedies
Zen Secrets to a healthy and flat tummy
Natural Dietary Fibres
Foods That Cause Bloating
Food Combining for Better Digestive Health
Food Intolerance: A Major Trigger of Bloating
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