Fibre is the old people food source – people don’t really give it a second thought until now.
I’m going to tell you why it’s so important and why you should give yourself an extra helping on your breakfast. So scoop up some nuts, oats or berries for your breakfast and you’ll be on your way to a healthier you.
For the most part, the average person in the UK get’s around 18g of fibre a day, that’s 12g less than the recommended daily amount. It’s such an important part of a healthy and balanced diet, after all it helps with the bodies functions including; preventing heart disease, diabetes, weight maintenance and some cancers but most importantly it can improve digestive health.
What is fibre?
There are two types of fibre. Soluble and Insoluble.
Both are very different and a good-healthy-balanced diet should include both types. Eating whole grains and plenty of vegetables and fruits will help you get both types into your diet. As someone who suffers with IBS, I have to pick what types of fibre I eat and how it is prepared so make sure you know if you have an intolerance and how your body may react.
Eating foods high in fibre will help you feel fuller for longer. This may help if you are trying to lose weight, which is why I disregard all diets that require shakes and smoothies. Don’t drink smoothies for weight loss explains more.
If you need to increase your intake, it’s important that you do this slowly. A quick increase in your dietary fibre may make you feel bloated, lethargic and can cause stomach cramps. It’s also important to make sure you drink plenty of fluid. When eating food rich in fibre you’re cleaning your gut, what better way to wash away the bad food then by drinking fluid. You should drink around 8 glasses of water or liquids per day or more while exercising.
Soluble fibre dissolves in your digestive system. It may help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. If you have constipation, gradually increasing sources of soluble fibre – such as fruit and vegetables, oats and golden linseeds – can help soften your stools and improve gut health and reduce risk of bowel problems.
Foods that contain soluble fibre include:
- oats, barley and rye, linseeds
- fruit, such as bananas and apples
- root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes – Even sweet potatoes!
Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in the gut. It passes through without being broken down and attach to other foods to help them move through your digestive system more easily. Insoluble fibre keeps your bowels healthy and helps prevent digestive problems. If you have diarrhoea, you should limit the amount of insoluble fibre in your diet.
Good sources of insoluble fibre include things that ‘bulk’ you up and can make IBS sufferers feel bloated:
- wholemeal bread
- bran & cereals
- nuts and seeds
Where to find it
Fibre is a food category that comes entirely from plant foods. Any animal products you encounter will not have any form of fibre in, unless manufactured. So the only way to get it into your diet is to eat in in plant-based foods. Which is why people who swap to a plant-based diet find their gut health and energy levels have an additional boost. Making them feel great.
You can find it most predominantly in ‘firm’ fruits and vegetables such as;
Nuts & Seeds. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts have more in than other nuts but be careful, nuts have a high fat content so try to keep these as an additional source of fibre and not the main source.
Flax seeds– 3.3g TBS.
Chia seeds– 5g TBS
Quinoa seeds– 5.5g per cup
Berries. Not top of the list but berries are a great way to sneak in additional fibre. Raspberries and Blackberries being the best to top your breakfast bowl with. The seeds, the skin and the flavour give great reasons to and fibre to any berry – not that we need a reason to eat more berries.
Baked potato with skin. White, red or sweet. It’s the skin that’s important so pick a potato you love and indulge in some loaded potato skins.Bran cereal. Actually, any cereal that has 5 grams of fibre or more in a serving counts as high fibre.
Oatmeal. Whether it’s microwaved, stove-cooked, or soaked over night, oatmeal is good fibre. I am in love with oats, you can sneak them into anything, even cookies – from make your own oat milk to getting creative with oats, I have covered it a lot and now you can indulge in them too!
Coconuts. They’re a tough nut to crack but they’re full of fibre. Whether it’s ground into your porridge, topping on your cereal or introduced in your snacks they’re a great boost of fibre. 7 grams per cup in fact.
Vegetables & Beans There are so many new and innovative ways to introduce vegetables into your diet – the best vegetables you can eat for fibre are the crunchier types and the best beans you can eat are the more savoury beans. I tend to eat 5-6 types of vegetable and 2-3 big portions during the day. As for beans I try to eat around 3-4 portions, of different types per week;
Avocados; Contain 10g per cup.
Artichokes; Not really around much in the UK but you can find them in certain stores and it’s well worth it with 10g per cup.
Peas; Please. Even more of a great reason to add these sweet veggies to your meals. Tapas, Rice dishes or your Sunday roast. Pease have a whopping great 8 and a half gram per cup.
Some special mentions; Okra,Squash, Sprouts. Black Beans; Chick Peas & Lentils are all around the 8-10g mark per tablespoon.
I hope this little health lessons has taught you something new or introduced a new food item to your plate. Remember, It’s important to have in your diet, for your gut and for your overall health so try to implement some new eating habits! Have a great week and stay strong,
Have a great week and stay strong,