Firstly, what is fibre?
Fibre is found in the skins of fruit and vegetables and in the outer "husk" of grains. It is the part of the carbohydrate or plant that cannot be digested. There are two forms of fibre, soluble and insoluble. A combination of both should be included in your diet and luckily, most foods contain a combination of both!
Good sources of soluble fibre: oats, peas, legumes, vegetables, salads, fruit and psyllium.
Good sources of insoluble fibre: digestive bran, wheat bran, legumes, vegetables and fruit.
Why should we be consuming enough fibre?
Fibre can help lower blood cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and inflammation and control blood glucose levels.
Fibre helps to keep our tummies regular
Insoluble fibre is beneficial for those who suffer with constipation since it promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk.
Soluble fibre helps to solidify the stool if you have loose stools as it absorbs water.
When we don't consume enough fibre each day or at each meal, food is not digested as easily, which may cause gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gassiness, constipation, diarrhoea.
Fibre also plays a role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight because high fibre foods create a feeling of being fuller and more satisfied for longer. High fibre foods also take longer to eat and chew through which helps to reduce the quantity of food that we need to feel satisfied.
Increased fibre in the diet is also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer (especially bowel cancers).
How much should we be aiming for in a day?
For a healthy gut, we should be consuming around 30g fibre per day.
How do we go about this?
Ensure that each meal contains roughly 6-8g fibre, and snacks 2-3g.
1 cup of salad OR 1/2 cup cooked veg contains 2-3g of fibre
1/2 cup of cooked wholegrains has 2-4g fibre
1/2 cup of cooked/ tinned legumes contains about 6g fibre
a slice of wholewheat bread contains about 2g fibre
Fruit has 2-3g fibre per serving (generally a tennis ball size = 1 serve)
Therefore, every meal should be made up of:
half a plate of vegetables
a serving of wholegrains or starchy vegetables
in order to make up the 6-8g fibre per meal.
Practical ways to include more fibre in your diet:
Read labels and choose high fibre breads, cereals, crackers and grains that have a dietary fibre of more than 6g per 100g serving.
Start your day off with a high fibre breakfast such as oats/ overnight oats/ chia pudding/ high fibre bran/ swiss style muesli.
Eat more fruit and vegetables – include these at most meals and snacks
Make your snacks count towards your daily fibre intake and go for fruit or vegetables first or wholegrain crackers.
Include more legumes in your diet by adding them into soups, stews, salads and baked goods.
For personalized guidance in making healthy food choices at home or when out socializing, book a consultation here: https://www.gabilaskerdietician.com/book-online.
For some high fibre meal ideas: check out my Instagram account @gabilaskerdietician