Fibre is present in so many types of vegetables, fruits and grains, and yet many of us fail to get enough roughage into our diet. These nine tips will help you to improve your digestion and stop you from snacking between meals.
Also known as roughage, fibre is actually classed as a carbohydrates and is the name given to substances in plant foods that cannot be completely broken down by digestion. Choosing foods which are high in fibre helps to keep us satiated and aids our digestive system by increasing the weight and size of our stool and softening it, which prevents constipation. Fibre is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
*Oats contain soluble fibre, which can reduce the absorption of LDL 'bad' cholesterol in your bloodstream. Soluble fibre is only present in a limited number of other food types, such as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.
The government recommends that adults should consume 30g of fibre per day. Currently, we only consume about 18g of fibre per day so we need to find ways to increase our intake. These top tips will help:
Ditch sugary breakfast cereals for high fibre varieties, such as Weetabix, Grape Nuts or porridge oats. Eating just two Weetabix provides 3.8g of fibre.
Swap white starchy carbs, like white bread, rice and pasta, for wholegrain varieties such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice and wholemeal/granary bread.
Not only are bags of frozen fruit and vegetables convenient, they also have a long shelf life and often contain just as many nutrients as fresh. They can also work out cheaper as well.
While potatoes don't count towards your 5-a-day, potato skins do – plus they help to increase your fibre intake.
Add beans and extra vegetables to curries, stews or your Sunday roast, and bulk out your breakfast cereal or porridge with fruit, seeds or nuts.
Cheap and easy to make, popcorn is actually a wholegrain and delivers 4g of fibre per 28g. Just go easy on the salt.
If you're trying to reduce your red meat intake, lentils are a brilliant alternative. They contain just as much protein and pack in around 8g of fibre per 100g. Minced beef, on the other hand, doesn't even contain 1g!
Eating fruits and vegetables in whole form, rather than juices, ensures that you get more fibre and less sugar in your diet.
They don't look much, but chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse and brilliant for thickening smoothies, sauces and for making jam. As well as being high in omega-3 and proteins, they also pack in around 9g of fibre per 25g.
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Bloating and flatulence can be associated with a sudden increase in the amount of fibre in your diet. To avoid this, increase the amount of fibre you are eating gradually and drink plenty of fluids.
Feel fuller for longer with these original recipes, containing hidden vegetables, super cheap pulses and other fibre-rich foods. You can also browse my collection of healthy breakfasts, such as apple and blackberry porridge, bounty overnight oats and gingerbread pancakes with a ridiculously delicious date caramel!