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Do the fibre challenge!

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Everyone talks a lot about eating too many carbohydrates and fat and not enough protein as these are the 3 macro nutrients that your body needs. But what do you know about fibre?

There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel like material and helps bulk up stools and they help by binding to cholesterol in the blood and carrying it out of the digestive tract, stopping it from being absorbed. It can also lower glucose levels. Insoluble fibre helps keep the intestinal tract healthy, binding to toxins and aiding their removal rather than absorption.

Foods rich in soluble fibre include oatmeal, nuts, beans, apples, and blueberries. Insoluble fibre is found in the seeds and skins of fruit (so always eat your peels) as well as whole-wheat bread and brown rice.

Fibre is found in plant foods, it includes the cell walls, these can’t be broken down by the body. BUT they help useful parts of the food get digested slowly, they encapsulate the sugars (carbohydrates) and allow the sugars to be gradually absorbed right to the end of the colon. Slow release is better for you. Some natural sugars (i.e. Pectin) bind to the toxin and escort it out of the body. Fibre also feeds your gut bacteria and keeps them strong; your gut bacteria produce Butyrate which is essential for gut health.

How do you get more fibre in your diet? You should consider eating more fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, pulses and grains. In addition, choose brown, whole-wheat or multigrain versions of rice, bread or grains.

If you increase your fibre content, you also need to consider increasing your fluid intake as soluble fibre needs water to help it bulk up, if you don’t you may get constipated!

How much do you need in a day? These are UK Government guidelines, but there is no problem with eating more. Women under 50 need 25 grams a day Women over 50 need 21 grams a day Men under 50 need 38 grams a day Men over 50 need 31 grams a day

Fibre also protects the antioxidants you get from your food all the way through the digestive system and allows slow release, this is very beneficial as this means that all your cells benefit from the nutrients, rather than the first half of your digestive system.

Here’s a helpful list of foods with their fibre level. Google is another excellent source of fibre content by food Food stuff Serving size Fibre Food stuff Serving size Fibre Brown rice 50g 1.8g Banana Small 2.6g Chickpeas 100g 16g Banana Med 3.1g Avocado Half 6.75g Banana Large 4g Peanuts 1/2 cup 6.2g Apple Small 3.6g Pear Medium 5.5g Apple Med 4.4g Haricot Beans 1 cup 19g Carrots 100g 2.8g Fennel 100g 3.1g Potatoes 184g 6g Satsuma Whole 1.8g Cannellini Beans 100g 11g Oats 100g 11g Peas 100g 5g Flax (Lin) seed tsp 0.9g Blueberries 100g 2.4g Onions 100g 1.7g Shiitake Mushrooms 100g 2.5g Eggs Whole 0g Couscous 100g 1.4g Edamame Beans 100g 5g Broccoli 100g 2.6g Strawberries 100g 2g Raspberries 100g 2.5g

So, here’s your challenge. Firstly, work out how much fibre you had yesterday, compare it you your age allowance. How did you do? If you are good, then keep going, you are brilliant! If you were under, then how can you increase your fibre content. Swapping white rice to brown rice, instead of crisps have an apple or a banana. Have a side salad or more veg with dinner.

Fibre makes you feel fuller for longer and could reduce the amount of food you eat.

Make sure you record your fibre content for 2 weeks including the food that you eat, and this will help to improve your fibre intake over the long term. Good luck! Would love to know how you get on!

Disclaimer, if you have any intestinal tract issues, such as IBS, Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis, etc, then please consult your physician/dietician before changing your diet.

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