The importance of fibre
Fibre is key to the processes we use to eliminate waste and toxin and low-fibre diets are associated with;
- diverticular disease
- heart problems
- weight gain
There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre slows digestion and helps you feel full for longer. It may also help to prevent or control diabetes because of its effect on blood sugar, and is related to heart health because it can help lower LDL cholesterol.
Insoluble fibre adds bulk to your waste, helping to prevent constipation and keep your bowels working well.
We need both types of fibre in our diets.
Here are 13 high-fibre foods you can add to your diet.
- Apples: this fruit is an inexpensive and easily available source of fibre, with one medium apple providing (with peel) about 4.4 grams of fibre.
- Pears: There’s a reason that parents give babies stewed pears when they’re constipated, with one medium pear providing about 5.5 grams of fibre.
- Parsnip: A nine-inch-long cooked parsnip has about 5.8 grams of fibre.
- Broccoli: A cup of chopped raw broccoli has approximately 2.4 grams of fibre, along with being a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Just remember not to overcook it.
- Brussels Sprouts: Chances are that you’ve only tried Brussels sprouts when they’ve over-boiled, whereas they can be delicious when caramelized through roasting, or even shredded and added raw to salads. Each cooked sprout has about 0.5 grams of fibre, so that adds up quickly.
- Carrots: Along with being a great source of beta-carotene, a 100-gram serving of carrots has about 2.9 grams of fibre.
- Spinach: A bunch of raw spinach has about 7.5 grams of fibre, along with being a great source of Iron.
- Whole Grains: In order to be a good source of fibre, grains must be in their whole, unprocessed form. In the refining process, the bran is removed, leaving a product that doesn’t have the fibre content. For example, cooked long-grain brown rice, which has approximately 1.8 grams of fibre per half cup.
- Quinoa: You will get about 5.2 grams of fibre in a one-cup serving (cooked) and it’s also a rich source protein.
- Beans & Legumes: As well as being a good source of protein, red lentils have about 4 grams of fibre per half-cup serving, black beans have approximately 15 grams per one-cup serving and white beans have a whopping 18.6 grams in the same amount. Up your bean intake slowly if you’re not used to eating them, to give your digestive system time to adjust.
- Flax Seeds: Flax seeds are great because they contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, and our body needs both kinds for different reasons. One tablespoon serving of ground flax seeds can provide about 1.9 grams of fibre.
- Chia Seeds: These tiny seeds have about 10.6 grams of fibre per 30 grams and are now widely available.
When upping your fibre intake, it’s better to increase slowly, to give your body time to adjust and avoid stomach problems. Also make sure you increase your water intake. If you’ve been advised by your doctor to eat a low-fibre diet for medical reasons, speak to him or her before adding fibre-rich foods.