Are you getting enough fibre?
Although we living in very difficult times , it is still important to eat healthily.
In this blog we take a look at Fibre.
Fibre is an essential and important part of our diet so it’s surprising to find out that as a nation we’re eating less and less. Here we look at why fibre is so vital to our wellbeing, and how to work more into our diets.
What is fibre?
Fibre is the name for plant-based carbohydrates that are not processed in the small intestine, but instead, reach the colon or large intestine during digestion. Sugars and starches are other types of carbohydrates commonly found in food, but unlike fibre, these are broken down in the small intestine.
Why is fibre important?
For a healthy digestive system, we need to make sure we’re getting enough fibre, which for adults over 17, is 30g per day (although on average we’re getting around 18g). This fibre helps to prevent bloating and constipation by making stools softer and easier to pass, as well as bulking them up so the waste moves through the digestive track faster. A fibre-rich diet can also provide a food source for the ‘good’ gut bacteria that we need to prevent digestion becoming sluggish.
Getting the right amount of fibre in our diets can help to reduce the risk of serious conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, high cholesterol and even bowel cancer.
Types of fibre
There are two types of fibre that can be found in most types of food (although not necessarily both at the same time), these are soluble and insoluble.
Soluble – fibre that can be dissolved in water. It can alter hormone levels in your body and be turned into vitamins during digestion.
- Golden linseed
Insoluble – this bulks out the food that we eat and helps to slow the rate that our bodies absorb nutrients from our food, which means that there is less of a blood sugar spike.
- Wholemeal foods
- Wheat bran
- Brown rice
How can I get more fibre in my diet?
Keeping an eye on your fibre intake and making smart food swaps is a great and easy way to introduce more fibre in your diet and help to work towards achieving the daily recommended amount. Here are five things you can do:
- Eat overnight oats
Overnight oats prepped the night before provide a great opportunity to get a hit of essential fibre early in the day. Adding ingredients like chia seeds, berries, sliced banana or grated apple will all help to work towards your target.
- Swap your white bread for a healthy alternative
White bread is full of refined sugar and doesn’t have many nutritional benefits at all. Choose a wholegrain seeded loaf, or even rye bread for your breakfast or sandwiches – they taste great with egg and avocado on too!
- Be mindful of fibre-rich snacks
There’s no need to miss out on fibre when you’re snacking, and actually it presents a great opportunity to eat well – chocolate biscuits are nice but not nutritional! Swap your snacks for things like fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, wholegrain oatcakes with hummus or chopped veggies like carrots and peppers.
- Add to your favourite recipes
Bulking out your food is another way to make sure you’re getting enough fibre without having to drastically change your diet. If you already eat a lot of things like stews, chilli or cottage pies, try introducing some beans or lentils to your much-loved recipe.
- Eat your vegetables first
If you’re adding more vegetables to your plate in an effort to up your fibre intake, make sure you’re actually eating them. Digging into non-starchy veggies or salad first before moving onto the rest of the meal means that you won’t be full up before you get to the nutritional items. It’s also been linked to lowering calories during meals.
With a few simple swaps you can increase your fibre intake and have a positive effect on your wellbeing, without it feeling like too much of a change. Forming new habits can feel like a novelty and enthusiasm can wear off quickly but making small but meaningful changes like the above will help you stick to a new and healthier lifestyle for the long-term.
If you’re looking for a care home in Dorset for your relative, our two Weymouth care homes are available to help you with any questions you may have about their stay. If you would like to arrange a visit or discuss your residential care needs please call Peter Fry 01305 78 78 11.