Fibre is found in plant foods including legumes – beans, lentils, peas; green vegetables and salads and fruits such as apples and berries; wholegrains including brown rice, pearl barley and buckwheat, jumbo oats and many seeds – flax (linseed), chia, hemp etc.
Fibre is great for digestive wellness (helps to avoid constipation) and is filling – so you’ll feel less hungry between meals and avoid the need to snack – as well as helping to control the release of glucose and insulin.
Individuals eating a higher fibre diet have a reduced the incidence of type ll diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diverticular disease, colon cancer and heart disease compared to those consuming a Western style diet dominant in processed foods.
There are 2 kinds of fibre: soluble and insoluble:
- Soluble fibre is digested by the body and helps to increase water in the intestines making stools easier to pass. It is also useful in helping the body excrete unwanted cholesterol.
- Insoluble fibre can’t be digested and helps to keep our bowel movements regular by passing through our digestive system without being absorbed.
Fibre also feeds our beneficial bacteria by encouraging the growth of lots of different species so it’s great for gut health and supporting the microbiome.
To help increase fibre make sure you eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit; opt for wholegrains rather than processed; add legumes to the diet in the form of lentils and beans and adding seeds as well.
However, you if you know you are currently eating a diet low in fibre, add it in gradually to avoid digestive discomfort and increase the amount of fluid to maintain efficient digestion.
You can add fibre to breakfasts by sprinkling seeds and berries onto plain yogurt and ensuring you eat plenty of plant foods, preferably at every meal and in their natural form rather than processed.
NB: if you are suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease, always speak to your GP/dietician before making changes to your diet.
Photo by Ella Olsson: pexels.com