Fibre in simple terms is food that cannot be digested and is classified by its solubility in water. There are two types, insoluble fibre and soluble fibre, each having different effects on our body and health and all of them providing numerous health benefits.
Including plenty of fibre in your diet has been proven to actively work towards lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and even some cancers. Most people get on average 18g a day when you should be aiming for 30g a day. A food high in fibre is considered to have 6g of fibre per 100g, so do check the information on food labels when buying food.
But what are these health benefits?
- KEEPS YOU FULLER FOR LONGER
As spoken about earlier, fibre is difficult to break down and be digested in the body. However, this isn’t bad as this actually means that you will stay fuller for longer, as opposed to when you have simple carbohydrates, which are easily digested and leave you still hungry and wanting more. This links to the association of weight management, as eating a high fibre meal can often lead to eating less due to being full, which is where the link between fibre and weight loss stems from.
Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water and passes through us without being broken down. This can help push other food items through, preventing digestive problems. However, if you have diarrhoea then avoid insoluble fibre in the short term! Soluble fibre dissolves in water in our digestive system and gradually increasing the amount of soluble fibre in the diet can help with constipation as it can help soften the stools, making them easier to pass through.
- HEART HEALTH
Fibre has been associated with decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease due to the fact that it lowers Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol). This is due to fibre binding with bile and absorbing the LDL particles and holding onto them until they are excreted from the body.
- BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Having meals high in sugars can elevate your blood sugar levels, making you reach for snacks or stimulants such as coffee for a pick me up. By including more fibre in your meals this may slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream causing a steady flow of energy instead of a rush. Try introducing more whole grains and veggies into your meals and feel the difference!
- ASSOCIATION WITH LOWERED RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES AND OBESITY
Evidence over the years has suggested a relationship between the consumption of dietary fibre and the reduction in the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and stroke. Type 2 diabetes is linked to the reason that fibre aids in glycaemic control, and with regards to fibre keeping you fuller for longer this associates with the reduced risk of obesity.
Here are my top fibre food sources that you should include in your diet.
- Wholegrain bread
- Some cereals (All Bran)
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruit (bananas and apples)
- Root Vegetables
Make it a goal this week, to increase your fibre intake as like I said many of us are not reaching the recommended daily intake of fibre (30g)- but once you start it will become easier, and by gradually consuming more fibre, your body will reap the benefits and it will soon become a natural habit to consume high fibre foods.