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Fibres

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Submitted By doc1987
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Fibre Prevents Constipation

Dietary fibre refers to the parts of plant which are eaten as food majority of which passes undigested into the colon. Fibres are of 2 types: soluble and insoluble fibres. It is a known fact that daily intake of fibre helps in relieving one from constipation.
Fibre contains resistant starch meaning the starch which is resistant to human enzymes, non-starch polysaccharides like cellulose, gums and lignin.

How fibre helps to prevent constipation
Dietary fibre especially insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation by increasing stool weight and decreasing gut transit time. Since insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water so it adds bulk to the stool. The resultant stool passes through the bowel more easily and quickly. More faecal bulk results in less pressure in the colon while defecating which leads to less straining. Insoluble fibres are made up of cellulose, lignins and some hemicelluloses. Insoluble fibres are found in Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans & dark green leafy vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, celery and carrots.
Insoluble Fibre is mainly responsible in maintaining the wave like contractions known as peristalsis which move food through the intestine thus promoting regular passage of stools. Fibres expand the inside walls of the colon which eases the passage of waste.
Soluble fibre as the name indicates is easily soluble in water and mixes with fatty acids to form gel-like consistency which keeps stools soft. Hence soluble fibres are also known as viscous fibres.it also increases the digestion time which results in lesser food cravings. A softer, larger stool helps prevent constipation and straining which can help avoid or relieve haemorrhoids. Soluble fibres comprise of pectins, gums, mucilages and some hemicelluloses. In the colon, soluble fibres promote growth of gut-friendly bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria which helps in maintaining the gut health. Soluble fibres are found in oats; legumes like peas, beans & lentils; barley; fruits and vegetables like oranges, apples and carrots.
Fibre consists of carbohydrates which the body can't digest like cellulose, oligosaccharides and pectins. This is because the human body doesn’t have the enzymes required for digesting them. Insoluble fibre passes through the intestines unchanged and speeds digestion but soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel that slows the passage of food through the intestine. This process of breaking down soluble fibre produces gas.
Besides preventing constipation dietary fibres have other health benefits too. It is to be noted that dietary fibres should be slowly increased in the diet to get the most of its health benefits.

Effects of excessive intake of fibre in short time
Intestinal gas is produced because bacteria in the colon ferment carbohydrates which are not digested in the small intestine. Soluble fibre and sugars like raffinose, fructose, sorbitol and lactose produce gas. Hence having excess amounts of fibre in a short period of time would cause flatulence due to more fermentation by bacteria residing in colon.it is therefore advised to slowly increase the intake of dietary fibres.

Good gut flora is needed to best utilize fibre. Soluble fibre from fruits and vegetables is digested by microbes, and the bodies of the microbes actually hold moisture better than fibre. Insoluble fibre in grains is also fed on by the good microbes in the gut, producing the B complex of vitamins. One can consider taking a probiotic, or fermented or cultured foods, Kombucha or kefir for gut-friendly bacteria.

Magnesium
Magnesium can supplement the effects of fibres in relieving constipation. Magnesium is safe to use as a supplement for long term use due to low concentrations of magnesium as compared to osmotic laxatives. Magnesium helps in intestinal muscles movements and aids normal peristalsis to keep the bowel healthy.
Warning: As with any over-the-counter remedy, discuss it with your doctor before starting on a magnesium supplement. Supplemental magnesium may interfere with certain prescription medications. Those with kidney disease should not take a magnesium supplement unless instructed to do so by their doctor.

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