Dietary fibre is important for our digestive system, and our gut health, this helps us with regular bowel movements.
Fibre also helps you feel fuller for longer, can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and can assist in preventing some diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.
Fibre is only found in plant products, but it comes in two forms, insoluble and soluble fibre.
Soluble fibre acts like a sponge, absorbing fluid and making the bowel contents softer and able to move more easily. It also helps lower blood cholesterol and improve blood glucose control. Insoluble fibre acts as a ‘bulking agent’ which, with soluble fibre, helps to keep us regular.
Here are my 4 reasons to eat more fibre:
1. Eating more fibre can help aid in weight loss In many studies, higher fibre intake and wholegrain consumption have been associated with lower body weight and prevention of weight gain (Davis, Hodges, Killham, 2006; Du et al., 2010; Tucker &Thomas 2009). 2. Eating more fibre is great for your gut health
The good bugs that make up your microbiome feed off fibre and flourish. Your gut bacteria eat up fibre that has fermented in your G.I. tract and they produce short-chain fatty acids that have a host of benefits-including lowering systemic inflammation, which has been linked to obesity and nearly every major chronic health problem. 3. Fibre will help you to feel fuller for longer
There is a lot more research and evidence that increased fibre in the diet will help you to feel more satisfied after consumption, therefore making you feel fuller for longer.
4. Fibre keeps you regular
Fibre helps make your stools (poo) softer and bulkier. A lot of women have issues with constipation and not being able to go on the regular, consuming more fibre can and will over time help improve this.
Soluble Fibre Foods:
- Legumes - dried peas, beans, lentils
- Vegetables - especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, potato, kumara
- Fruit – especially apples, pears, citrus, stone and berry fruit
Insoluble Fibre Foods:
- Breads – mixed grain, wholemeal
- Wholegrain cereals
- Wholewheat pasta
- Rice, especially brown rice
- Corn, cornmeal, polenta
- Fruit & Vegetables
Tips for eating more fibre
- Aim for at least 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Leave the skin on when you can, as it contains much of the fibre. Fruit and vegetable juices contain little or no fibre.
- Choose wholegrain varieties of bread, rice and pasta. When baking, try substituting the white flour with wholemeal flour, buckwheat flour or chickpea flour.
- High-fibre breakfast options include porridge or homemade low sugar muesli. Increase the fibre further by adding oatbran or wheatgerm, nuts, seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin) and fruit.
- Try adding chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils to soups, casseroles.
- If you are eating more fibre-rich foods, drink more water than usual as fibre absorbs water in the body.