Dietary Fibre is something we do not normally think much about in our busy lives and lets face it, who wants to think about it!! However, fibre plays a very important role to help maintain a healthy body. Eating high fibre foods can assist with lowering cholesterol, helps digestion and can reduce risk of some chronic diseases. High fibre foods also helps with weight loss as the foods stay in the stomach longer, giving a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.
Having celiac disease makes it that much harder to get an adequate level of fibre. This is because traditional
sources of fibre such as cereals and wholegrain breads contain gluten. Therefore if celiacs' leave these items out of their diet they may not be consuming adequate amounts of fibre.
It is not difficult to increase your fibre once you know what foods are high in fibre. Some foods have fibre added but there are many foods that are naturally high in fibre that are also gluten free. There is no universal recommended daily fibre amount however most authorities recommend from 25 – 35 gms per day as a bench mark.
In the United States of America (USA), as a guide, adults need to consume 20-35 grams of fibre per day. To work out a child's requirement, add the figure five (5) to their age and this will give the daily grams required.
In Australia, the Australian Institute of Sport recommends 30 gms per day.
It is important to slowly increase your fibre to allow the digestive system time to adjust, otherwise it may cause stomach cramps if too much fibre is consumed too quickly. It is also important to drink 8 glasses of fluid daily, unless restricted by any other medical condition. Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. Also eat gluten free cereal that contains gluten free rice bran, psyllium or add as a topping on fruit and yoghurt.
Wholegrains and Cereals
Wholegrains can be found in gluten free multigrain bread, gluten free muesli, gluten free muesli bars and corn thins.
Flours – sorghum flour, brown rice flour, amaranth.
Cereals - rice, corn, cornmeal, millet, quinoa, rice flakes, buckwheat (although it is not actually a cereal – it is the fruit of an herbaceous plant - but can be used the same way as cereal grains)
Most commercial gluten free cereals have added psyllium to increase the fibre per serve. Rice bran and linseed, sesame, and almond (LSA) are good sources of fibre that can be added to cereal prior to eating.
Rice Bran - is an excellent source of fibre and also provides good nutritional value. Rice bran is high in protein, mono and polyunsaturated fats. It also contains the minerals - magnesium, iron and zinc - and the vitamins – thiamine and niacin- which help metabolize carbohydrates.
Rice – Brown and wild rice contain more fibre than white rice
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables contain fibre and should be freely consumed each day. If fruit and vegetables are peeled this will reduce the fibre content, so try and eat the fruit i.e. an apple or pear for example, with the skin on.
Examples of high fibre vegetables are: - artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, potato (with skin on) and spinach.
Examples of high fibre fruit are:- apples (not peeled), bananas, blueberries, oranges, pears, prunes raspberries and strawberries, dried apricots, figs and prunes.
Legumes have been traditionally a favorite for vegetarians as they are easy to use, cheap and a great source of fibre. Many dishes can be made using legumes i.e. nachos, lasagne, chick pea salad, curries.
Examples are: chick peas, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, pinto beans, refried beans.
Nuts and Seed
Nuts and seed are a good source of natural fibre and protein; they make a great snack on the go or an addition to breakfast cereals or main meals.
Examples are: almonds, flax seeds, peanuts, soyabeans, soy nuts, sunflower seeds.