High fiber diet for digestive issues and colon health

High fiber diet is good for colon health. Fiber improves health in many diseases such as constipation, diarrhea, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases.

People lose weight on fiber diets for so many reasons. It makes them feel full easily. High fiber foods are also low in sodium, added sugars and saturated fat.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men.

Types of fiber 

There are 2 main types of fiber. Soluble and insoluble fiber. It can also be grouped as fermentable and nonfermentable. It can be natural or supplemental.

Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. Therefore, it slows digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables.

Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.

Soluble fermentable fiber can be found in wheat, legumes, garlic, onions are prebiotics. They feed gut bacteria but produce gas.

Insoluble, nonfermentable fiber can be found in nuts, seeds, and the skins of fruits and vegetables has a laxative effect and can help patients with constipation.

Natural fiber in foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and are preferred over supplemental fiber.

Examples of supplemental fiber are methylcellulose (citrucel), inulin (fiber choice), psyllium (metamucil), and wheat dextrin (benefiber).

Examples of high fiber diet

High fiber diet include potatoes, almonds, oats, popcorn, quinoa, split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lentils, artichoke, carrots, banana, apples, avocado, raspberries, pears, strawberries, corn, and leafy green vegetables. A comprehensive list of high fiber foods can be found HERE.

Who should be on a high fiber diet

  • Those with diverticulosis.
  • Patients with colon polyps or prone to colon cancer.
  • Those with diarrhea.
  • Patients with constipation.
  • Those with irregular bowel movements.
  • Patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Who should not be on a high fiber diet 

  • Patients with gastroparesis.
  • Those with recent severe inflammation like diverticulitis and colitis.
  • Patients with recent abdominal surgery.
  • Those preparing for colonoscopy.
  • Patients with bowel obstruction.

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