Inadequate fibre in the diet have been shown to have a role in common disorders of the bowel, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, piles and cancer. Patients with low fibre in the diet also have increased risks of obesity, or ischemic heart disease and gallstones.
What is dietary fibre?
Dietary fibre comprises any substance of the plant origin, which is not digestible by your body. It includes plant cell walls and supporting structures.
In what way is dietary fibre beneficial to health?
Fibre absorbs water in the intestines, which softens stools and expands its bulk. This stimulates the colon to discharge waste faster and reduces the concentration of harmful substances staying within the colon.
How much fibre do you need?
An average Singaporean consumes 13 grams of dietary fibre per day. The recommended amount is 30 grams per day.
Can too much fibre be harmful?
No. However, it is important to have a balance diet. A sudden increase of fibre may also cause bloatedness because of excessive gas. This can be minimised by slowly increasing fibre intake over a period of 2-3 weeks.
Sources of Dietary Fibre
The general answer is in a balance diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. There are also numerous commercial packages of fibre available.
The following food are high in fibre:
- High-fibre cereals are good fibre sources if they contain 3 grams or more of dietary fibre per serving. Check the nutrition labeling on the package nutrition labeling for dietary fibre content.
- Whole grains, bran, and brown rice
- Vegetables (Cooking does not greatly reduce the fibre content.)
- Fresh fruits (especially apples, pears, and dried fruits like raisins and apricots)
- Nuts and legumes (beans)
There are also numerous commercial fibre supplements available. Your doctor may recommend such supplements to you if necessary.