Most people will tell you that fibre is important. But just how important it is? How much do you need? And what foods choices provide us with the best options to increase our overall intake of it? Hopefully by the end of this blog we will have cleared these questions up for you, as well as provided you with some easy ways to increase your daily intake of fibre.
Firstly, why is fibre important?
A low-fibre diet is associated with many health problems, including:
* Cardiovascular diseases and high blood fats - fibre helps bind and eliminate blood cholesterol/fat
* GI disorders, cancers and poor bowel function - fibre helps keep the GI tract clean and can ease constipation and diverticular disease
* Diabetes - fibre controls blood sugar, insulin and body fat
* Excess body fat - fibre contributes to satiety and dilutes energy density
* High blood pressure - see all the above
On top of that, a study with over 500,000 people in 10 European countries showed that people who ate more than 30 grams of fibre per day had approximately half the risk of colon cancer as those who ate 12-15 grams of fibre daily (Thanks to Precision Nutrition for providing me with that study).
As can be seen, fibre is equally important for both health and fat loss reasons
How much do need?
While getting enough fibre is definitely important, we don't really need to count how much we get in a day, as long as we follow a diet that consists largely of fruit, vegetables, legumes (kidney beans, chick peas etc.), nuts and seeds (Flax, Chia). However, good figures to aim for are -
* Women should aim for at least 30 to 35 grams of fibre per day.
* Men should aim for at least 40 to 45 grams of fibre per day.
With that knowledge behind us, let's get into the tips you've been waiting for -
5 Easy Ways To Get More Fibre
1) Add Flaxseed Meal to your cereal
Flaxseeds are a rich source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and they also contain high amounts of protein per serve. It's no wonder that they are a favourite of those trying to lose body fat. Flaxseed meal (also called Linseed meal) is a versatile option of getting more of these seeds into your diet. One easy way of taking advantage of this great seed is to simply sprinkle a tablespoon over your morning cereal - and don't worry, it will blend right in!
2) Increase your fruit & vegetable intake
Fruit and vegetables are great sources of fibre. Not only that, but they are also nutrient-dense, meaning they contain higher amounts of nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals & phytochemicals) necessary for disease-prevention, than they contain in overall calories. This makes them a great food choice for those who want to lose fat. By ensuring we add one serving of fruits and/or vegetables to each and every meal, we can not only increase our fibre intake, but keep ourselves away from the doctor's office as well!
3) Replace pasta or rice with quinoa
white rice and pasta are actually a poor choice when it comes to adding fibre into the diet. This is because, despite the fact that they do contain fibre, they also contain a high amount of calories. By replacing all rice/pasta with quinoa, you can benefit from its 10grams of fibre/cup properties, as well as taking advantage of its minimal effect of blood sugar levels.
4) Have beans with your meals a few times per week
Legumes such as kidney beans, chick peas and lentils contain up to 16 grams of fibre/cup - that's almost half your daily requirement! By simply eating beans with one meal, a few times per week, you can easily double your total fibre intake.
5) Replace white bread with more whole-grain based breads such as Soy & Linseed
White, processed bread is actually a really crappy source of fibre, and nutrients in general. When we process foods, we strip it of all the good stuff we need to function and replace it with empty calories. The abundance of empty calories in our diets is what is causing Australia to become the obesity capital of the world. By substituting white bread with a whole-grain alternative, we can increase our fibre intake, as well bump up the overall nutritional value of our food.
Better still; replace all bread with a sprouted-grain alternative.
There you have it, 5 easy and simple ways to increase your fibre intake. Now, how many of you out there can tell me that it's too hard to get an adequate amount of fibre?