Let’s talk about your guts! Fibre is very important for a healthy digestive system and your health in general! It comes mostly from plant foods (think fruits, vegetables, beans and grains) and is a component that our digestive system can not break down. Fibre is the part of your food that is not digested in your small intestine, it moves into your bowel relatively untouched to become fermented by friendly bacteria. Trust us you want to feed your friendly bacteria for a happy gut!
There are three types of fibre and eating a nice combination of the below will address different health needs such as slowing digestion, improving bowel heath, blood glucose uptake and the health of your gut bacteria.
Insoluble fibre: can also be known as roughage and is found in wheat bran, high-fibre cereals, brown rice and wholemeal breads.
Soluble fibre: this is found in oats, barley, fruits and vegetables.
Resistant starch: this is found in unripe/almost green bananas, lentils, uncooked oats, al dente pasta, cooked from frozen peas and cooked then cooled potatoes or rice (think potato or rice salad).
The benefits of increasing your fibre intake
Individuals that have high intakes of dietary fibre appear to be at a significantly lower risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain gastro diseases. They also tend to enjoy healthier bowel movements and have a reduced risk of diverticulitis and bowel cancer. Which is not surprising when you look at the foods that are high in fibre such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain breads & cereals, lentils and legumes. The more of these on your plate the better your health will be overall!
How much fibre do you need?
It is recommended that women consume at least 25g and men 30g of fibre on a daily basis.
To up your fibre intake you need to be munching on:
- 2+ pieces of fruit a day
- 5-6 serves of vegetables. A serve is 1 cup of salad veggies or 1/2 cup of other green of starchy vegetables or 1/2 a cup of legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils)
- 3-6 serves of wholegrains. A serve is 1 slice of wholemeal or grainy bread (the more grains you can see the better) or 1/2 a cup of cooked brown rice, wholemeal pasta, noodles, barley, quinoa or 1/2-2/3 cup of wholegrain breakfast cereal such as muesli or porridge.
A high fibre day could look something like this
Breakfast: 1/2 a cup of natural muesli with a not quite ripe banana
Snack: A handful of nuts
Lunch: A grainy bread sandwich with chicken and salad and chopped veggies on the side
Snack: An orange
Dinner: Brown rice with a lentil dish and 1/2 a plate of cooked vegetables