It significantly reduces weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol and improves blood glucose levels. It also reduces chances of both heart attacks and strokes. If ever there was a superfood, it would appear fibre is it. Yet most of us fall radically short of the recommended 30g a day with the average daily intake sitting around less than 20g.
A recent review commissioned by the WHO revealed surprising results. Increasing our intake of daily dietary fibre by only 8% reduced total deaths and increased protection against coronary heart disease and other illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer by 5-27%. The other good news is that it’s really easy to do and cheap.
So often I hear that striving for good health or a healthy diet can seem really confusing and overwhelming. There’s just so much information out there, a lot of it conflicting, but this is the news that we all intrinsically know. It doesnt require you to sign up to a new diet program, buy a new cookbook, or learn how to pronounce something like ‘aquafaba’. It’s just heeding the advice that your Mum gave to you, that we seem to have forgotten, to eat your veg.
A diet consisting mainly of white rice, white pasta and white bread can make it really hard to get enough fibre in on a daily basis. By making some simple swaps and adding in more fruit and veg, it’s easy to increase the amount of fibre you’re having.
Dietary fibre includes oats, beans and lentils, along with fruit such as apples and citrus fruits and nuts and seeds, and is typically referred to as soluble fibre. This type moves slowly through your GI tract. Insoluble fibre moves faster, great for anyone suffering with constipation. This would include vegetables and fruit along with wholewheat and bran. By increasing the variety of fibre you’re eating you’ll easily achieve a mixture of the two.
Here are some easy swaps and add ons to your diet to increase the amount of fibre you’re getting.
Swap sugary cereals for porridge made with steel cut oats or rolled oats as opposed to instant oats which don’t contain as much fibre.
Replace white bread with wholemeal bread.
Replace 1 of your snacks with a handful of nuts and an apple. Almonds top the list of nuts giving us the most fibre.
Focus on adding more vegetables to your plate at every meal. See if you can increase the amount you’re having to half the plate at each meal.
Add ground flaxseeds or chia seeds to your smoothies, this is a great one if you’re struggling to get your little ones (or maybe your big ones) to get enough fibre.
Add split red lentils to soups. They cook in 20 minutes, are tasteless and are a super addition to your food cupboard.
These simple swaps will have a significant impact on the amount of fibre you’re getting each day.
One final note, remember to drink more water as you add in more fibre and, if this is new to you, add in more fibre to your diet slowly to avoid discomfort.
Adding more fibre to your diet can affect the absorption of certain medications so it is important to speak to your GP before making any changes.