Fibre is an important aspect to our daily diet and ensuring we consume enough fibre is essential to our well being. Fibre could help to reduce constipation and improve the functioning of the digestive system, whilst keeping you fuller for longer.
Whole foods include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, dried fruits, lentils, beans and pulses and whole grain products. They are all high in natural fibre and a good source of energy to keep your fuller for longer. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate mostly found in plant based foods. While most carbs tend to break down into sugar, fibre doesn’t. This is because it passes straight through your digestive system ultimately helping to keep your digestive system healthy.
There are two main types of fibre – soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Both types of fibre are equally as important to consume in your daily diet.
Soluble fibre – draws water into the gut, creating a gel in the intestine. This slows down digestion giving you a satisfying ‘full feeling.’ Food examples include barley, oats, beans, legumes, avocado, root vegetables such as sweet potato, broccoli, figs, nuts and seeds such as flaxseed.
Insoluble fibre – this type of fibre adds bulk to the diet and can help with constipation. Food examples include wholewheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, potatoes, cauliflower and green beans.
But how do we ensure we eat enough fibre each and every day?
Here are a few ways you can start to increase the fibre in your daily diet and routine
Section your plate to include lots of vegetables
It may seem simple, but if you mentally section your plate to have different sections for each part of the meal you will naturally consume more fibre. The recommended dinner plate according to the NHS should be:
- One third whole grains
- One third vegetables
- One third protein sources
This means that a huge 2/3rds of your plate contains fibre. Be sure to opt for high fibre vegetables and leafy greens for an easy way to increase your intake.
Tip: Leave the skin on vegetables such as potatoes, cucumbers, courgettes and aubergines for extra fibre!
Discover your love for fruits
Who doesn’t love fruits? Fresh, frozen or dried they are all packed with a high fibre content. Fruit makes a great snack and the perfect way to start your day. Try adding fruit to your breakfast to ensure you have a boost in fibre first thing in the morning such as berries. Berries are particularly high in fibre and lower in sugar than many other fruits.
Dried fruit is high in fibre but contains more calories than fresh fruit but is a fantastic source of fibre. Snack on, add to baking recipes or make your own trail mix for a healthy snack throughout the day.
The fibre from fruit can help increase your feeling of fullness too due to the fibre and water content.
Opt for whole grain varieties
Whole grain options are far less refined and have their fibre-rich hull still in place. This not only leaves you feeling satisfied after a meal but will also keep you fuller for longer. There are a number of whole grains you can introduce into your diet such as opting for brown rice instead of white. Here are a few more whole grains you could try:
All of the above have a significant amount of fibre in their make up and are very versatile
The magic of seeds
Seeds such as chia, hemp and flax seeds are a great source of fibre (and protein) but chia seeds are one of the best options as they are an insoluble fibre. This type of fibre is good for a healthy digestive system.
Chia seeds are versatile and can be added to smoothies, oats, baking, chia pudding and can even be used as an egg replacement for vegan baking.
Similarly to seeds, nuts are a great source of protein and fibre.They are great for a snacking on for healthy nutrients throughout the day.
Nuts are available in a variety of ways including whole, pieces, raw, ground, flour and even butter! It is easy to add nuts to your day such as adding a heap of nut butter to your morning oats or smoothie or baking with nut flours instead of regular flour.
Legumes and beans
Legumes are packed full of fibre and are a healthy source of carbohydrates. A portion of beans (depending on variety) can provide you with the majority of the recommended daily amount of fibre. If you don’t like beans why not try making your own hummus or sneak mixed beans into your chilli con carne!
Beans are highly nutritious and will help you to feel more satisfied at meal times due to their fibre content.
If you are a keen baker why not experiment with the flour that you use. Choosing high-fibre flours such as coconut, chickpea, nut flours or even barley flour can help to increase your fibre intake without you even noticing.
Each flour will provide you with a slightly different finished treat so try playing around with a variety of flours to see what suits you. Always check the fibre content on the nutrition label to help you decide.
Try natural fibre supplements
Trying a natural fibre supplement in your diet should not be a replacement for healthy fibre sources as we have listed above. However, if you struggle to consume enough fibre (approx. 30g per day according to the NHS) then these supplements can help you on your way to having a sufficient amount in your diet:
As with any high fibre supplement you will need to increase the amount of water your drink and research the product well.
High fibre treats
Snack on popcorn! Yes we said popcorn! Popcorn is high in dietary fibre and one of the best low calorie, low fat, high fibre snacks around. You may not have been aware but popcorn is a whole grain and a great source of fibre to include in your diet.
And of course fruit, nuts, seeds and dried fruits are also great treat options. To make them even more exciting bake with them and enjoy a delicious sweet treat that is high in fibre and nutrition such as energy balls and granola bars. Take a look at our recipe page for healthy, nutritious treats.
Fibre is an important aspect to the human diet for a healthy digestive system. Including fibre in your diet is easier than you may have thought and by simply adopting a few of these tips you can easily start to reach the recommended daily intake. Be sure to increase the amount of water you drink when you increase your fibre intake. Increasing the amount of water you drink can help to keep a healthy digestive system and avoid constipation.