A high fibre diet is a plan that centres on the consumption of foods that are plentiful in dietary fibre, or roughage as it is commonly called. There are many foodstuffs that fall into this category, and both dieticians and your health professional would be able to tell you which ones are the best to consume, particularly if you have any form of stomach or bowel problems.
Benefits of a High Fibre Diet
Lets us explore some of the benefits of this diet. There are many, and range from easing stomach and bowel problems, to improving cardio-vascular health, lowering cholesterol, controlling diabetes and even aiding in the prevention of certain types of cancer.
When following this diet plan, the following is a brief list of essential high fibre diet foods:
Type Highest Dietary Fibre
Leafy Greens Cabbage, kale, spinach etc (raw is better)
Other Cruciferous Red Cabbage, broccoli
Salad Greens Lettuce, Beet greens, Celery
Bran Wheat bran, Oat bran, Rice bran
Beans Kidney, French, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Pinto
Berries Raspberries, Blackberries (read this article on blackberries nutrition), Elderberries, Gooseberries
Squash Winter, Summer, Acorn, Pumpkin, Butternut
Mushrooms (cooked) White, Shitake, Portobello
Oranges All types
Does a High Fibre Diet Help Lose Weight?
Doctors say that one of the most frequently asked questions before people embark on this diet, is if it helps you to lose weight?’ The answer to this is yes it can, but it should not be entered into specifically for that reason, as it is better as an aid to losing weight on a calorie-controlled diet, rather than on its own.
Fibre takes longer to chew in the mouth and holds on to water as it passes through your system, thereby making you feel fuller for longer. Participants in high fibre diets will generally lose weight as fibre-rich foods contain little or no calories and therefore do not have as much energy in them, making them ideal for weight loss plans.
What are some benefits of a high fibre diet? To gain maximum benefit from this, a low fat should also be considered. Not just for weight loss, but also to reap other health benefits. Such as a healthy heart, control of diabetes and lowering cholesterol levels. You will also feel much more energised, less sluggish and of course, your weight will drop. There will also be alleviation of stomach problems such as constipation, diverticulitis and general bowel health – a high fibre diet will provide the best for your system. Before entering into any diet, consulting your health professional is a must.
Side effects of a high fibre diet can be:
- Diarrhoea – fibre will loosen the stools allowing them to pass through the body much faster
- Increased wind or gas
- Deficiency in other nutrients – fibre tends to bind with other nutrients, making them ineffective
- Bloating and abdominal discomfort
On a high fibre diet plan, a sensible way to start would be to add a little more fibre at a time into your daily intake. This allows your system to acclimatise. Recommended daily intake is between 20-30 grams of fibre, women being at the lower end, with men at the higher end. This can be steadily increased if desired, but bear in mind the side effects of a very high fibre diet.
There are many high fibre diets available via the internet, books and eBooks on this topic, along with information on nutritional values and dietetics involved in a high fibre diet plan.