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TOPIC - Fiber
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 fiber foods into your diet. High fiber foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals (see answer below for high fiber fruits, vegetables & breads). You may require up to 25 grams of fiber a day, so that would mean 2-3 servings each of high fiber fruits and vegetables and 6 servings of high fiber breads & cereals per day. If you are not eating this amount currently, you should increase the number of servings gradually as eating too much fiber without giving your body a chance to adjust could cause bloating. Note that 1 cup of prune juice has about 1.3 grams of fiber.

To prevent constipation, you also need to drink lots of water for the fiber 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 fiber?
Answer
Fruits that are eaten with the peel (such as apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, etc.) or containing edible seeds (berries, etc.) have about 2 grams of fiber 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 fiber per 1/2-cup serving. Aim for 3 servings of these fiber-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 fiber per slice. Have at least 6 servings per day.
Question
How much fiber does a 25 yrs old female need?
Answer
According to the new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), the Adequate Intake (AI) for women between the ages of 19 to 30 years is 25 grams of fiber daily.
Question
What benefits does fiber have? Does it prevent constipation ?
Answer
Dietary fiber 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 fiber - insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber in the diet promotes more frequent bowel movements and softer stools due to the increased bulk, thereby relieving constipation. A meal high in insoluble fiber may also help to control hunger and aid in weight loss. The added bulk from undigested fiber tend to make you feel full for longer periods. Soluble fiber, 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 fiber. It is recommended that we consume 20-25 grams of fiber daily.
Question
How much dietary fiber there is in a leave of lettuce?
Answer
Lettuce contains very little fiber inspite of the misconception that salads are high in fiber. There is only 0.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams. If you would like to have vegetables that are higher in fiber (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 fiber and low in calories?
Answer
There are a number of snacks which are high in fiber 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.

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