Tracking your carbs, fat, protein intake?
Have you thought about the fibre content of your meals?
Fibre, not only helps keep you regular, but can also help improve heart health, prevent diabetes, reduces risk of colorectal cancer and can aid weight loss.
I even wrote a piece for Women’s Health about 8 foods with more fibre than prunes.
We should be consuming 30g fibre per day according to government guidelines, however most of the population currently eats about half of that.
There are two types of fibre; soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre, also known as fermentable fibre, can be digested by your body. It’s found in grains, (including oats, and barley), fruits, beans, pulses and root vegetables. It dissolves in water, forming a gel in your gut. As well as keeping your stools soft, helping them pass more quickly and avoid constipation, it also helps reduce the blood cholesterol due to the beta-glucan and pectins in many of its sources.
Insoluble fibre cannot be digested by the body and is found in cereals, wholemeal breads, pasta, brown rice, vegetables, potatoes (skin on), nuts and seeds. It passes through your gut without being broken down, helping other foods and waste pass through your digestive system more easily and quickly,reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.
How can you increase your fibre intake?
There are plenty of ways to increase your fibre intake immediately and without even going out of your way too much:
- Be sure to eat your five fruit and vegetables each day – why not try to eat vegan or veggie for at least one meal a day, focusing on the vegetable component rather than centering around meat.
- Swap to wholegrain and wholemeal options, like brown rice, wholegrain cous cous & pasta, granary bread.
- Rather than bulking out meals rice or potatoes, try something different like adding kidney beans, lentils or chickpeas, which are far higher in both fiber and flavour
- Start the day right with a high-fibre breakfast. Porridge is great topped with fruit and nuts, as are overnight oats or for those on the go, something like MOMA bircher muesli pots are a hit of fibre first thing.
- Keep the skins on your potatoes, sweet potatoes, and root veg.
- Snack on high fibre goodies like nuts, seeds and dried fruits throughout the day.
- Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help the soluble fibre digest.
- You’ll probably want to increase your fibre levels gradually to avoid any possible unpleasant (smelly) side effects!