Dietary fibre (also known as roughage) is the indigestible part of plant foods and is crucial for keeping the gut healthy and reducing the risk of many chronic health conditions.
There are many benefits of eating enough fibre:
- Protection against heart disease.
- Better gut health.
- Reduced risk of diabetes.
- Weight management.
There are 2 types of fibre:
Soluble fibre: does not dissolve in water and forms a gel like substance in the digestive system. This type may help to reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.
Insoluble fibre: Does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to stools preventing constipation.
There are many ways to increase the fiber in your diet:
Eat more fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber. Try to eat a variety of types and colors to get a range of different fibers and other nutrients.
Choose whole grains: Instead of refined grains (such as white bread or pasta), opt for whole grain options (such as whole wheat bread or brown rice). Whole grains are a good source of fiber, as well as other nutrients.
Legumes: Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas, are high in fiber and also a good source of protein.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are a good source of fiber, as well as healthy fats.
Add fiber-rich foods to your meals: You can add fiber to your meals by adding some of the above foods to your meals and snacks. For example, you can add nuts or seeds to your oatmeal, mix legumes into your salads, or have a fruit and vegetable smoothie for a snack.
Avocado – a good source of fiber and healthy fats
Dark chocolate – high in fibre and also contains abntioxidants and other nutrients
Sweet potatoes – a good source of fibre as well as vitamins A and C.
Popcorn – a whole grain high in fibre, especially when it is air popped or made with minimal salt added
It’s important to increase your fiber intake gradually to give your body time to adjust. Too much fiber too quickly can cause digestive discomfort. It’s also important to drink plenty of water when increasing your fiber intake, as fiber absorbs water and can help prevent constipation.
Tips for increasing your fibre intake:
- Eat fruit and vegetables with the skin on.
- Eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
- Add beans or lentils to soups, salads and side dishes.
- Replace white bread and pasta with whole wheat varieties.
Click the picture below for heaps of delicious high fibre recipe ideas.