This week I thought I’d talk about a less well-known but really important part of a healthy, balanced diet – fibre. Government guidelines published in July 2015 said that adults should have a fibre intake of 30g a day as part of a healthy balanced diet, but the average intake is only about 18g a day! So I’m going to encourage you all to add some fibre into your diet, and explain how and why you should do this.
Why do we need fibre?
There is strong evidence that eating plenty of fibre can be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, strokes, type-2 diabetes and bowel cancer. Plus foods with fibre can make us feel fuller, which can help fight sugar cravings and wanting to snack in between meals.
There are different types of fibre, insoluble and soluble. Soluble fibre can be digested by your body, and may help reduce cholesterol and help with constipation. It can be found in oats, barley, rye, fruit such as bananas and apples and root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Insoluble fibre passes through your gut without being broken down and helps other foods move through your digestive system more easily; helping to prevent digestive problems. Good sources include nuts and seeds, cereals, bran and wholemeal bread.
So how can you get more fibre in your diet?
Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants, which means that meat, fish and dairy products don’t contain any. When trying to increase your fibre intake, make sure that it’s from a variety of sources as part of a healthy balanced diet. Here are some tips if you want to increase your fibre intake:
- At breakfast, choose a higher-fibre cereal such as porridge (oats are a good source of fibre), or bran flakes. The Jane Plan porridge is one of our bestsellers and our mueslis and granolas are also made with oats. We also have our own Bran Flakes – Branberry flakes with strawberries!
- Wholemeal or granary breads are a higher in fibre than white bread, but if counting calories it’s best to avoid bread.
- Green leafy vegetables are a great source of fibre – plus they’re lower in calories and rich in vitamins.
- Pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas are a good source of fibre as well. Several of the Jane Plan dinners are lentils or chickpea based, including our chickpea tagine and luxury lentil cottage pie. If eating off-Plan, try adding pulses into stews, curries or salads.
- Fresh or dried fruit are a good source of fibre also, but watch the calories in dried fruit!
- When snacking; raw vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes and nuts or seeds are good source of fibre. A small handful of nuts can have up to 3g of fibre.
A final tip…
If you need to increase your fibre intake, make sure that you do it gradually. A sudden increase might leave you feeling bloated, ‘windy’ and could cause stomach cramps. Also make sure that you drink plenty of fluids too – around 1.2 litres a day.
So I hope you all go out and try to increase your fibre intake this weekend!
Have a lovely weekend,