Importance of water and fibres in the diet
Importance of fibres in the diet
Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate found exclusively in plants. Unlike other types of carbohydrates, it is not absorbed in the small intestine to provide energy. However, it is fermented by the bacteria in the colon (large intestine) and provides a small amount of energy.
Dietary fibre is found in plant foods, such as: • wholegrain cereals and cereal products; • oats; • beans; • lentils; • fruit and vegetables; • nuts and seeds.
Dietary fibre helps to: • prevent constipation; • increase the feeling of fullness and control energy intake; • reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Most people do not eat enough dietary fibre. The recommended average intake for dietary fibre is 18g per day for adults. Children need proportionately less.
A diet rich in dietary fibre is usually lower in fat and contains more starchy foods, fruit and vegetables.
Eat a bowl of wholegrain cereal in the morning with a handful of dried fruit.
Switch from white to wholemeal or granary bread.
Add oats to fruit crumble toppings.
Serve a side salad with a sandwich or pasta dish.
Add beans and pulses to casseroles and soups.
Classification of Dietary Fiber
► Soluble Fiber Soluble fiber tends to slow the movement of food through the Digestive System. Oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, pulses, gram (chana) and barley are good sources of soluble fiber.
► Insoluble Fiber Insoluble fiber tends to accelerate the movement of food through the Digestive System. Whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, carrots and many vegetables including green leafy vegetables, cabbage, and tomato are good source of insoluble fiber. This kind of fibre is best known for keeping bowels regular.
Importance of water in the diet
Our body is nearly two-thirds water, so drinking enough fluid to stay hydrated is very important. Water is essential for life and it is very important to get the right amount of fluid to be healthy
Humans can survive for a few weeks without food, but they cannot go without fluids for more than two to three days.
Water is the major component of body fluid. The body loses water all the time, when we go to the toilet, from sweat and also evaporation from skin. If we do not consume enough water, we become dehydrated.
Functions of water in the body
• It acts as a lubricant for joints and eyes;
• It is the main component of saliva;
• It helps get rid of waste;
• It helps regulate body temperature.
Water is provided by food and drinks. It has been estimated that roughly 20% of water consumed is from food (e.g. soups, yogurt, fruit and vegetables), while 80% is from drinks (water, milk and fruit juice).
The amount of water and other fluids that we need to drink each day varies from person to person. On average, we are recommended to drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day to prevent dehydration, more when the weather is hot or when we are active.
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