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High Fiber Diet

Digestive Health

A high fiber diet is essential for digestive tract health at all ages. Highly refined foods and low fiber diets can increase the time it takes for your body to eliminate waste or have a bowel movement. Daily bowel movements indicate a health digestive tract with a “short transit time”. Many people are unable to achieve this and this can lead to feeling unwell, abdominal pain, hemorrhoids, fissures and bleeding.

Fiber: What is it? Fiber is the indigestible portion of all the plant derived food we eat including fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes.

How does it promote regularity? Fiber creates softer more bulky stools that are easier to pass by absorbing water. Fiber also promotes digestive tract contractions that help food move more quickly through your colon. To maximize the benefit of fiber it is essential to drink plenty of water. It is recommended to drink 64 fluid oz of water per day.

Types of Fiber: Soluble fiber – absorbs liquid and softens the stool. Examples include legumes, oats ( non instant) and oatbran, rye and barley, fruits like plums and berries and vegetables such as broccoli, onions, carrots.

Insoluble Fiber: Adds bulk to the stool. Examples wheat bran, cereals, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, the skin of many fruits.

How much fiber do we need?

age 2-3 19 grams of fiber per day
age 4-8 25 grams of fiber per day
age 9-11 25 to 30 grams per day
adult 35 to 40 grams per day

Probiotics: Friendly microorganisms in the digestive tract that help maintain the natural flora. This is especially important if you are on or finishing antibiotics. Good sources of probiotics are live culture yogurts. Avoid yogurt sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. You can buy probiotics at your local pharmacy.