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Ask the Dietitian is not a substitute for a consultation with a professional who can inform you of all the facts of your particular situation. We answer questions in general terms only, to give you information that may used as a starting point.
TOPIC - Fibre
Question
I have always relied on prune juice for my daily bowel movements. How can I reduce this reliance? I don't want to take any medicine or laxative.
Answer
You can gradually cut back on prune juice while introducing other high fibre foods into your diet. High fibre foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals (see answer below for high fibre fruits, vegetables & breads). You may require up to 20 grams of fibre a day, so that would mean 2 servings each of high fibre fruits and vegetables and 6 servings of high fibre breads & cereals per day. If you are not eating this amount currently, you should increase the number of servings gradually as eating too much fibre without giving your body a chance to adjust could cause bloating. Note that 1 cup of prune juice has about 1.3 grams of fibre.

To prevent constipation, you also need to drink lots of water for the fibre to work properly. Exercise such as walking also helps to keep the system regular.
Question
I have problems with constipation. What fruits, vegetables or breads are high in insoluble fibre?
Answer
Fruits that are eaten with the peel (such as apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, etc.) or containing edible seeds (berries) have about 2 grams of fibre per whole fruit or half cup of berries. You should have at least 2 fruits per day.
Vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, squash, potato with skin on and canned tomatoes also have about 2 grams of fibre per 1/2-cup serving. Aim for 3 servings of these fibre-rich vegetables per day.
Whole-grain or multigrain breads, wheat bran or oat bran muffins or those with added wheat germ contain 2 grams of fibre per slice. Have at least 6 servings per day.
Question
How much fiber does a 25 yrs old female need?
Answer
According to the Recommended Daily Dietary Allowances for Adults, women between the ages of 18 to 59 years should have 20 grams of fibre daily.
Question
What benefits does fibre have? Does it prevent constipation ?
Answer
Dietary fibre is a collective term for plant substances that we are not able to digested such as cellulose, hemi-cellulose, gums, and pectins. There is mainly two types of fibre - insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fibre in the diet promotes more frequent bowel movements and softer stools due to the increased bulk, thereby relieving constipation. A meal high in insoluble fibre may also help to control hunger and aid in weight loss. The added bulk from undigested fibre tend to make you feel full for longer periods. Soluble fibre, such as those from oat products, psyllium, vegetables, and dried beans, has been shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol.

Most people do not eat enough dietary fibre. It is recommended that we consume 20-25 grams of fibre daily.
Question
How much dietary fibre there is in a leave of lettuce?
Answer
Lettuce contains very little fibre inspite of the misconception that salads are high in fibre. There is only 0.5 grams of fibre per 100 grams. If you would like to have vegetables that are higher in fibre (about 3-7 grams per 100 grams), try the following: peas, broccoli, baked potato skin, corn, cabbage/coleslaw, carrots and green beans, particularly if they are eaten raw.
Question
Which type of snack is high in fibre and low in calories?
Answer
There are a number of snacks which are high in fibre yet are not very high in calories. The best examples are fresh fruits with peel on such as apples, pears, grapes, etc. and raw vegetables such as carrot sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets. You can serve the vegetables with a low calorie dressing such as fat free ranch or light italian vinagrette if you do not like them plain.

Also you can try rye crackers such as Wasa, Ryvita and Kavli or low-fat bran muffin, preferably homemade since you can cut back on the sugar and fat used. Bran cereal with low fat milk is also a good option

Unfortunately many of the local snacks are made from white flour and thus does not contain much fibre. Any item containing a bean filling or made from beans such as ang koo kuih with green bean filling, red/green bean dessert soup and tau suan are relatively high in fibre. Skip the coconut milk and you tiao for lower fat options.


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