A high-fibre diet keeps you fit and healthy, and also helps us ward-off free radical damage, even before it bares its tentacles.
The term fibre represents a variety of carbohydrates that are not digested, absorbed, or used by the body either for fuel, or for building body tissue. Recent research suggests that a generous daily intake of fibre promotes good health. Dietary fibre is the term used to describe the total fibre content of food. It represents the content of substances that cannot be broken down by human digestive enzymes, or absorbed by the gastro-intestinal tract. While individual types of fibre differ in solubility and other physical and chemical properties, their effects on health may also differ.
Dietary fibre is composed largely of structural components of the cell walls of plants. Major sources of fibre are whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Animal products are not a source of dietary fibre. The distribution of specific types of fibre varies, even within food groups/ grains. Good dietary fibre is found in apples, cranberries and cherries. While oatmeal and legumes have significant gum content, whole grain is noted for its cellulose content — in other words, good dietary fibre.
The amount and characteristics of dietary fibre may be affected by food processing. Refining of grains, for example, removes nearly all of the fibre. Preparing fruit juice or vegetable does likewise. Peeling apples, peaches, potatoes, and the like, removes most of the fibre-rich part in them.
- Increased fibre intake promotes normal elimination of waste products of digestion. It promotes satiety, and controls serum cholesterol
- It aids in expanding the inside walls of the colon, thereby paving way for flushing out the waste products, or toxins, from the body. Eating food rich in fibre content goes a long way in keeping your digestive system smooth and prevents constipation
- The most undisputed advantage of insoluble fibre is its ability to soften and expand stool volume, speed up faecal transit and elimination
- Soluble fibre from legumes, barley, oats, fruits and vegetables can help regulate blood sugar swings
- Excess fats are possibly reduced by soluble fibres such as pectin, bean and oat gums, and legumes [lentils, chick peas, navy, pinto or kidney beans]
- Your heart health is suggested to improve by diets rich in fibre, thanks to its cholesterol-lowering effects
- Dietary fibre protects from colon cancer.
Fibre-rich food should be incorporated into your daily diet, as it is extremely beneficial for the body.
Vegetable Noodle Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 500 gm pumpkin, peeled and diced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 3 cups salt reduced vegetable stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
- 250 gm can corn kernels, drained
- 60 gm thin spaghetti, broken into pieces
- 1 cup spinach
- Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, pumpkin and capsicum, and cook over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in stock and water and add remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes
- Stir through spinach, and serve with a slice of crusty wholegrain bread.
Indian Pea Pattice with Mint Chutney
Pea cake is a delicious appetiser and full of the goodness of legumes.
- For Mint Chutney
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain yoghurt
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup desiccated coconut.
- For Indian Pea Pattice
- 2 1/2 tsp soy oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 6 spring onions, finely chopped
- 12 curry leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped
- 2/3 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cups peas.
- Combine the chutney ingredients. Heat 2 teaspoon oil in a frying pan. Cook garlic, ginger, and spring onion over medium heat until softened. Stir in the spices until fragrant.
- Step 2. Drain the split peas and place in a mixer. Add the spice mixture and blend to form a light paste.
- Step 3. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls, flatten slightly. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan.
Cook in batches for two minutes each side, or until golden. Serve with chutney.
High Fibre Food
- Grain Products
- Whole grain breads
- Bran Flakes
- All Bran
- Red River cereal
- Corn bran cereal
- Whole wheat
- Whole-wheat pastas
- Whole grains such as barley, popcorn, corn and brown rice
- Dried fruits such as apricots, dates, prunes and raisins
- Berries such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
- Oranges, apple with skin, and pear
- Broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard and green peas
- Dried peas and beans such as kidney beans, lima beans, black-eyed beans, chick peas and lentils
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, whole flaxseed and soynuts.