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World Continence Week - Healthy Diet And Your Bowels

It is World Continence Week and our Continence Nurse is taking the time to highlight the importance of a well balanced diet and your bowels. 

A healthy diet, containing plenty of different fibre rich foods, lots of fluids, as well as exercise is recommended to keep our bowels healthy and regular.

Fibre can help protect against diverticular disease, haemorrhoids, constipation and chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and can also help with controlling your weight.

What is fibre?

Fibre is found only in foods that come from plants. This includes vegetables, fruits, beans (legumes), nuts, seeds and cereals (breakfast cereals, bread, pasta and rice).

The following foods are fibre rich;

  • Vegetables: ½ medium potato; ½ cup carrot ½ broccoli or 1 cup lettuce.
  • Fruits: Choose fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits such as sultanas, figs, prunes, and dates, or 4 dried apricots.  
  • Cereal foods: High fibre choices such as natural muesli, bran cereals and oat cereals, wholemeal, wholegrain or grainy bread, rolls, flat bread and crackers, 
  • Grains: A large variety of high fibre grains include barley, buckwheat, burghal, chia, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice or brown pasta, rye, semolina, sorghum, spelt and wheat.
  • Beans (legumes): All beans and peas are fibre rich including, black-eyed beans, borlotti beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, haricot beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, mung beans, soy beans and split peas. Foods made from these such as hummus are fibre rich.
  • Nuts and seeds: All seeds such as flax, sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds, and all nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
How much fibre should I have? 

The Heart Foundation recommends that adults should aim to consume approximately 25-30g daily. Children aged between four and eight should consume 18g of fibre each day. To find out how much fibre you should be consuming each day, it is best to consult with your doctor. 

HIGH FIBRE CHOICE FIBRE(gm)                                  LOW FIBRE CHOICE FIBRE(gm)

½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables 2½ gm               1 cup vegetable juice – 0 gm

1 piece of fruit - 2 gm medium banana apple                        1 cup fruit juice - 0 gm

1 slice grainy or wholemeal bread - 2 gm                              1 slice white bread – 1 gm

1 cup cooked brown rice - 1½ gm                                         1 cup cooked white rice – 1 gm

Breakfast cereal:

2 wheat biscuits or ¾ cup rolled oats                                     1 bowl of white or refined cereal

or untoasted muesli - 3½ gm                                                  e.g. flakes of corn - ½–1gm

Beans (½ cup) = 7- 2gm

Mixed nuts (1/4 cup) - 3gm

 

Happy fibre hunting!

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