Fibre is the part of food, namely plant food, which the body does not digest easily. You have soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre is gel-like and assists the movement of stool via the intestinal tract.
Insoluble fibre assists the formation of soft, bulky stools and increases the time they take to pass through the digestive tract. The consumption of a healthy amount of soluble and insoluble fibre every day is what ensures that we are “regular”.
Benefits of a high-fibre diet
There are multiple benefits to adhering to a high fibre diet.
- As it is not easy to digest fibre, it can take quite a while for it to move through the digestive tract, including the stomach, in order for it to have that filling effect. This is of course incredibly helpful for dieters who wish to lose weight or manage weight loss.
- Fibre assists the movement of the stool through the colon, keeping constipation at bay and helping in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
- As a result of its ability to prolong the absorption of cholesterol, fibre has been linked to prevention of heart disease.
- For diabetics, fibre can assist in the slowing down of absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, thus lowering fasting blood sugar levels.
- Its most significant benefit is its ability to assist in the prevention of cancer, namely colon cancer. Fibre can unite cancer-causing carcinogens in the digestive tract and get rid of them in the waste.
Which foods to choose
One of the best sources of insoluble fibre is bran. Whole grains are great sources of fibre too; choose whole grain breads, flours and cereals as opposed to simple white bread as simple wheat bread is not whole grain. Look for the “whole” in the ingredient list when reading labels.
Fruit is also a great source of soluble and insoluble fibre. The interior of the fruit, or pectin, is soluble, and the skin is insoluble. Choosing fresh fruits with edible skins, like pears, apples, apricots, peaches, blueberries and raspberries, is best. Raw vegetables are great sources too. When you are cooking vegetables, ensure that they do get too soft. Great fibrous cooked vegetables are cabbage, broccoli, corn, celery, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms and onions. Additional foods which are good sources of fibre include seeds, popcorn, nuts, crunchy peanut butter and coconut.
How much fibre do I need?
The adult recommendation is between 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day. This can sound like a great deal, however, by making healthy food choices, it can be accomplished.
Should your diet presently be low in fibre, you could build it up to 25 grams per day. You don’t want to consume too much fibre too quickly or you could end up regretting it!
A good beginning is to opt for whole grains over white refined breads and cereals. Should you usually peel the skin off apples, make sure you keep it on. Add a bit of corn to your dinner or have some unbuttered air-popped popcorn as a snack. These are all great ways to add healthy fibre to your diet.
This plan is a great way to fill yourself up without leaving you bloated and out-of-shape. The high-fibre diet will help stabilise blood sugar levels and control your appetite
Other positives include the possibility of reduced levels of bad cholesterol and the risk of cancer, as well as an improved bowel function and digestion.
The High-Fibre plan will allow you to lose weight, be satisfied with what you eat and boost your health!
Daily Meal Plan
Wholegrain toast with banana and yoghurt
Baked potato with tuna salad
Grilled chicken with cheesy butternut-bake