To function healthily our bodies require a balance of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates (sugar, starch and fibre), fats, and water. In this article we take a look at the importance of dietary fibre.
Dietary fibre is found in carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. Carbohydrates are a mix of sugars, starches and fibre. The sugars and starches are digested in the small intestine as glucose and serve to provide directly available and stored energy and the fibre (which passes through to the large intestine) helps regulate the sugars, lower blood cholesterol, and aid bowel health. The importance of dietary fibre cannot be understated. A lack of dietary fibre can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, haemorrhoids, heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and bowel cancer.
There is no fibre in meat, dairy or sugar and the best sources of fibre are the most natural and unprocessed. To ensure your body is getting enough dietary fibre it is best to eat a variety of the following: whole-grains (oats, rice, wheat, rye, bran), legumes (peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas), nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Let’s take a look at high-fibre foods we can grow in our gardens and allotments. There are lots of other foods we can grow which contain dietary fibre, but the foods on this list are specifically high in fibre…
- Turnip greens
- Brussels sprouts
Most of the fibre is found in skins and husks. So don’t peel your potatoes, apples, pears, etc.