What is fibre?
Fibre or ‘roughage’ is the stuff in plant based foods that keeps us regular, clears toxins and cholesterol, helps stabilise blood sugar and keeps certain cancers at bay. We should consume around 30g of fibre per day. How? Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day and choose wholegrain/brown varieties of bread, rice and pasta and other carbohydrate.
Insoluble vs Soluble – what’s the difference?
Both insoluble and soluble fibre are essential for healthy digestion and overall wellbeing. Insoluble fibre keeps us regular and helps waste move through the digestive tract more quickly. This in turn clears away toxins and cholesterol from the body and prevents constipation. Good sources of insoluble fibre include wheat bran, vegetables and wholegrains.
Soluble fibre is found in oat bran, peas, lentils, chia seeds, flaxseeds, lentils, fruits and vegetables. Unlike insoluble fibre, soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel in the gut. This helps us feel fuller for longer and consequently aids weight loss.
One of my favourite sources of energy food is oats. Oats contain a certain type of soluble fibre called beta glucan which is scientifically proven to reduce total and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. This in turn can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. To gain the benefits, research suggests we eat at least 3g of beta glucan per day – which is the equivalent to around 1.5 cups of cooked oats or 1 cup of pearl barley.
My Make It Healthy Energy Truffles contain organic oats, organic dates and raw cacao powder. They are the perfect energy snack and can really hit the spot when a healthy treat is needed. They are quick to sell out at our monthly Make It Healthy stall at Rode Hall. I particulary love the Mint Choc Chip ones. They contain the perfect amount of essential peppermint oil and raw cacao nibs.
Fibre for feeling fab
Certain types of fibre are known as prebiotic and are found in many fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, onions, garlic, artichoke, chicory root and beans. Prebiotic foods are carboydrates which cannot be digested by the human body. Instead they are eaten/broken down by billions and billions of bacteria in our gut, collectively known as micro flora. This process releases loads of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are a good thing. SCFA’s have a multitude of benefits to our colon and the rest of our body;
- Energy production – which the body prefers to use instead of glucose. This is a possible reason fibre helps to stabilise blood sugar levels. As SCFA’s are easily absorbed into the blood stream, they also deliver energy to other organs.
- Aiding the growth and metabolic health of cells, helping to protect against certain colonic disorders.
- Helping to lower cholesterol production in the liver
- Reducing the pH of the gut to a level which is inhospitable for pathogenic (bad) bacteria. This in turn reduces the amount of toxins produced from pathogens.
What should I eat to get 30g of fibre per day?
For examples of good sources of fibre and an example of how to get more into your diet, check out this excellent article by The Nutrition Organisation. If you’re looking to improve your diet, try the Change4Life challenge and see the positive difference making small changes to your eating habits will have.
Have a go at making this…