Many of us are not getting enough fibre in our diets and it can lead to serious health issues. Here’s how you can introduce more and the reasons why you need to.
Ways to increase your Fibre intake:
Eat breakfast such as homemade Granola that contain barley, wheat or oats.
Always eat wholemeal or multigrain breads and brown rice.
Add an extra portion of salad or vegetables to every meal.
Snack on fruit such berries and apples and dried fruit such as figs, prunes and dates.
Add legumes and beans to lunch and evening meals.
What are the Benefits of increasing your daily fibre intake?
It’s mainly needed to keep the digestive system happy and healthy. It also stabilizes glucose and cholesterol levels.
Many countries with high fibre diets have very low rates of bowel cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Not having enough fibre in your diet can lead to an unhappy body such as constipation, haemorrhoids, diverticulitis, irritable bowel, obesity/weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
There are two types of fibres and we need both…
1. Soluble fibre
Includes pectins, gums and mucilage, which are found mainly in plant cells. One of its major roles is to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Soluble fibre can also help with constipation.
2. Insoluble fibre
Includes cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, which make up the structural parts of plant cell walls. A major role of insoluble fibre is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as haemorrhoids. Good sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods.
A high-fibre diet may not prevent or cure constipation, unless you drink enough water every day and it may possibly cause abdominal discomfort or constipation.
Fibre is even more important for older people. The digestive system slows down with age, so a high-fibre diet becomes even more important.