5 Ways to sneak more fibre into your diet
Hi everyone! Welcome to my June blog. I was struggling to come up with a topic for this month when I thought – what is the number one dietary component that I am super passionate about? Fibre! I have so much to say about the benefits of dietary fibre, but I’ve tried to condense it down so I don’t keep you here all day.
Types of Fibre
There are two main types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and creates a gel-like paste which passes through the stomach very slowly. Due to this, it keeps you feeling full for long periods of time and so is great for people who are trying to eat fewer calories. This type of fibre is more commonly found in fruits and oats. Insoluble fibre, found more in wholegrains and nuts, does not dissolve in water. This type of fibre helps keep our bowels regular.
Fibre is great for making us feel full, but beyond that there are so many benefits to having an adequate fibre intake. Beta glucans (a type of soluble fibre) which have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels when 3g is consumed on a daily basis. A reduction in cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. An adequate fibre intake can also reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer. With so many benefits to eating enough fibre, I think we can all make an effort to include a little more into our diets.
Here in the UK, current recommendations are for adults to consume 30g of fibre a day, although we know that not many of us manage this! With that in mind, take a look at my 5 top tips for sneaking extra fibre in your diet..
Add oats into your diet
Oats are a great source of beta glucans which have been shown to reduce cholesterol (as mentioned above!). Jump on the overnight oats trend and try some of these great recipes:
If overnight oats aren’t doing it for you, use oats to make breakfast bars! Take a look at this recipe:
Choose wholegrain options
Try swapping a few of your usual cereal based items (such as bread, pasta and rice) for wholegrain options. If you aren’t as keen on wholemeal bread, try
a variety that uses 50/50 white and wholemeal flour. Other great wholegrains include buckwheat, bulgur wheat, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), and couscous.
Sneak vegetables into homemade sauces
If you have anyone in your house that is resistant to eating more veggies (or perhaps you know you’re a little fussy but would still like to add more fibre!), sneaking veggies into homemade sauces is such a great way to add fibre to a meal. You can blend them or leave them a bit chunky – it’s totally versatile and up to you! Take a look at this pasta sauce recipe:
You could try adding a few extra veggies and some different herbs and spices - my personal favourite is smoked paprika and rosemary. I also cheat a little and use my slow cooker so the hard work is all done and dinner is half prepared when I get home from work!
Try chia seeds and flax seeds
Adding chia and flax seeds into your diet not only adds extra fibre, it also adds a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that that have been shown to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and also may be protective in maintaining good memory.
Try adding a teaspoon to porridge or a smoothie – but remember to introduce these to your diet slowly to avoid any unwanted side effects!*
Swap crisps for popcorn!
Swapping a typical packet of crisps for some sweet or salty popcorn increases your fibre intake. A typical bag of crisps has just 1.4g of fibre, but for the same amount of popcorn there is 4.2g!
Just be sure to monitor the amount you eat – commercially produced popcorn can be very high in sugar and salt. If in doubt, take a look at the traffic light coding on the packet – or better yet, try making your own at home and adding your own toppings!
Like any changes you make to your diet, introduce extra fibre slowly so as to not *upset your digestive system. Also remember to drink plenty of fluid!
Keep safe, keep well and see you next month for my July blog.
Toni Walsh is a Dietetic Assistant for the NHS and writes a nutrition blog for us every month, posted on the first Sunday of each month. Why not download the Wix app here to get notifications when a blog post goes live for you to read with your Sunday afternoon cuppa?