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Makanan Tinggi Serat: The 16 Best (And Most Surprising) Foods

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According to the British Nutrition Foundation, there are certain high-fiber foods (makanan tinggi serat) that you should take. Let’s get to know what they are and what’s in it for us. But, first, let us understand what is fiber.

What is fiber?

Dietary fiber is a term that is used for plant-based carbohydrates that, unlike other carbohydrates (such as sugars and starch), are not digested in the small intestine; and so reaches the large intestine or colon.

Soluble and insoluble fiber

You may have heard of the terms ‘soluble fiber’ or ‘insoluble fiber’– these are words that are sometimes used to describe the types of fiber in our diet. Although scientific organizations argue that these terms are no longer really appropriate, you may see these terms being used, with soluble fiber including pectins and beta glucans (found for example in foods like fruit and oats) and insoluble fiber including cellulose (found for example in whole grains and nuts). What is important to remember is that fiber-rich foods typically contain both types of fiber.

Fiber-rich foods include:

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye
  • Fruit such as berries, pears,  melon and oranges
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and sweetcorn
  • Peas, beans, and pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Potatoes with skin

How does fiber benefit health?

fiber helps to keep our digestive system healthy and helps to prevent constipation. For example, fiber bulks up stools, makes stools softer and easier to pass and makes a waste move through the digestive tract more quickly.

The European Food Safety Authority suggests that including fiber-rich foods in a healthy balanced diet can improve weight maintenance. Dietary fiber can reduce your risk of:

Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) and type 2 diabetes

Foods such as oats and barley contain a type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which may help to reduce cholesterol levels if you consume 3g or more of it daily, as part of a healthy diet.

Colorectal cancer (bowel cancer)

Did you know that the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) estimate that 45% of bowel cancer could be prevented through diet, physical activity, estimates?

Fiber and bowel cancer

We know that dietary fiber may help to protect against bowel cancer. Although the reasons for this are not fully understood, this may be because fiber increases stool size, dilutes content and moves it faster through the gut so the amount of time waste products stay in contact with the bowel is reduced. Some types of fiber may also help gut bacteria produce helpful chemicals that can have beneficial effects on the bowel (see below).

Fiber and good bacteria

Research has increasingly shown how important the bacteria in our gut may be to our health, and it has been suggested that a fiber-rich diet can help increase the good bacteria in the gut.  Some fiber types provide a food source for ‘friendly’ gut bacteria helping them to increase and produce substances which are thought to be protective such as short-chain fatty acids.

How much fiber do we need?

In 2015 the British government published new guidelines with a recommendation that the population’s high fiber foods (makanan tinggi serat) intake should increase to 30g a day for adults (aged 17 years and over). On average, we consume much less than this – about 18g per day. Children also need to increase their intake of fiber. Recommended intakes of fiber are shown below.

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