There are two types of dietary fibre; insoluble and soluble fibre.
Insoluble fibre (“roughage”) does not dissolve in water and acts as a bulking agent with its ability to take up liquid. This softens the stool and helps to pass it through the body easily and prevents constipation. Insoluble fibre can be found in foods such as fruits and vegetables with their skins on, nuts and seeds, wholegrain cereals such as bread, pasta and brown rice.
Soluble fibre will form a gel when combined with water, this makes it useful for preventing and/or treating both diarrhoea and constipation. This fibre also has the added ability to lower cholesterol levels, as well as slow digestion which helps us to feel satisfied for longer after meals. Commonly consumed foods that contain soluble fibre include oats, bran, legumes; dried beans, lentils and peas, apples, potato and kumara.
Fibre Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI’s)
Generally speaking, people can meet their nutrition requirements for fibre with a well-balanced puree diet. For example one 400g Pure Foods meal will provide about a ⅓ of his daily dietary fibre requirement.
The dietary fibre RDI for adult women is 25g/day, and for adult men it’s 30g/day.
Not Getting Enough Fibre?
There are a number of signs that could help you identify if you’re not getting enough fibre.
If you’re feeling “backed up” and your bowel motions are hard and small, this could be a sign that you’re not getting enough fibre.
Fibre also helps keep us feeling fuller for longer, therefore, if you’re feeling hungry quite quickly after a meal this could be a sign you are not getting enough fibre.
How do I get more Fibre?
In relation to your own diet, there are number of ways you can increase your fibre:
- Ensuring you’re having at least 5 serves of fruit and vegetables per day (you could leave the skins on to increase the fibre content).
- Add legumes such as lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans to stews and casseroles
- Enjoy winter soups based on beans or red, brown or yellow lentils
- Include nuts, seeds and fruit with your breakfast (e.g. add sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to oats)
- Choose breads made with with added whole grains and oat bran
- Snack on bran biscuits or whole grain crackers
Some of these suggestions are not suitable for a puree diet. If you’re concerned someone on a pureed diet is not getting enough fibre, there are other ways to achieve this on a pureed diet. We would recommend speaking to a New Zealand Registered Dietitian if you have any concerns.