A healthy balanced diet consists of various different food groups. Increasing our intake of fibre offers many benefits and plays a key role in optimising our health, however many of us struggle to meet recommended intakes. Dietary fibre boasts properties which help to reduce cholesterol, providing a fermentable fuel source for intestinal microbiota, which in turn improves our gut health. Different types of fibre are found in plant-based foods, which is why it’s important to incorporate a wide variety of different fibre sources in order to avoid complications such as diarrhoea or constipation. In this article, we focus 5 Easy Ways To Increase Your Fibre!
We know from vast amounts of scientific research that high fibre intakes are proportionally correlated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and colonic cancers, whilst also helping you to regulate weight gain and obesity by helping you feel fuller for longer. Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is another advantage thrown into the fibre bargain -here’s how to increase your intake in 5 easy ways:
1. Switch to wholegrain products
Most wholegrain products offer a much greater ratio of fibre than their refined ‘white’ equivalents. Wholegrain products are also packed full of essential nutrients that refined equivalents are stripped of during processing and manufacturing.
2. Snacking on nuts, fruit and vegetables between meals
Many people think that snacking is a bad thing and something we should avoid. As long as we choose the right foods, snacking can play an important role in achieving a healthy and balanced diet that keeps us satisfied throughout the day. Here are some of my favourite ‘between-meal’ snacks: carrot sticks with hummus, almonds and dried cranberries, roasted chickpeas (great healthy replacement for crisps!).
3. Have at least one vegetable with each lunch and dinner
This is one of the easiest ways in my opinion, whether it’s having an extra portion of greens with your dinner, or throwing an extra vegetable into your home cooked stew. Including a portion with each meal helps to increase fibre as well as putting you well on track to hitting your 5-a day.
4. Choose a high-fibre breakfast
Cereals can be rich sources of fibre, such as porridge or muesli and this is a great way to get us started for the day and feel fuller for longer. Adding fruit (banana, raisins, figs, dried apricots, prunes, dates etc) to our breakfasts is also a great way to add even more fibre and often makes it so much more enjoyable.
5. Eat more beans, lentils and other pulses
These are all high in fibre and easy to incorporate. Curries, soups and stews are fantastic for adding these kinds of ingredients to whilst a side serving of summer salads also perfectly compliment the dish.
Many people struggle to consume the recommended levels of dietary fibre, however once in the habit of ‘going with the grain’ and eating more of them, the health benefit changes and likely your mood will become evident. Keep an eye out for some of my high-fibre dishes coming soon and have a go at cooking tasty, fibre-rich recipes for yourself!