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Fibre Print

Dietary fibre encompasses plant-based carbohydrates that are not digested in the small intestine. It reaches the large intestine or colon. Fibre helps to keep our digestive system healthy and helps to prevent constipation. For example, fibre bulks up stools, makes stools softer and easier to pass and makes waste move through the digestive tract more quickly. It has been suggested that fibre deficiency aggravate conditions such as diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease and digestive problems.

Fibre is said to assist in cancer prevention in that it speeds up the passage of carcinogens through the colon, lessening the chance of carcinogen build up. Soluble fibre binds itself to cholesterol from bile. The cholesterol is then removed as waste instead of being reabsorbed. Thus it reduces blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre slows the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream. This prevents a sudden rise in blood sugar levels and is particularly beneficial for diabetics.

Zinc, calcium, iron and other minerals lessen in the body when combined with fibre. Excess can also lead to flatulence, bloating, gas, dehydration and other problems. Adults should consume a minimum of 25g of fibre and not exceed 70g.

  • Choose a high fibre breakfast cereal e.g. wholegrain cereal like whole-wheat biscuit cereal, muesli, bran flakes or porridge. Add fresh fruit, dried fruit, seeds and/or nuts.
  • Choose wholegrains like wholemeal or seeded wholegrain breads, whole-wheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice.
  • Have your potatoes with skins.
  • For snacks try fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes, unsalted nuts or seeds.
  • Include plenty of vegetables with meals – either as a side dish/salad or added to sauces, stews or curries – this is a good way of getting children to eat more veg.
  • Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads.
  • Have some fresh or fruit canned in natural juice for dessert or a snack.
Historical and religious references
In ancient Greece Hippocrates advised avoiding white flour bread of the rich and eating wholemeal bread of the servant class. The Bible records the Prophet Daniy?l (peace be upon him) and his companions consuming only water and vegetables for ten days (Daniel 1:12). They appeared healthier than those who ate rich foods and drank wine. Some have drawn historical evidence of high-fibre benefits from this incident. Sahl bin Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Allah’s salutations and blessings be upon him) ate bread of unsifted barley flour (Tirmizi).
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