Because the idea of eating more foods that are high in fibre may not seem hugely exciting
In the pursuit of good health, it’s easy to be distracted by the latest glamorous wellness trend.
However, it’s time to turn your attention to good old-fashioned fibre, as the latest research has found that it can help with everything from cholesterol levels to weight loss and better mental health.
What is fibre?
Fibre can be categorised into two broad types – soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre dissolves in the fluids in your digestive system to create a gel-like substance, which binds to cholesterol, bad bacteria and other unwanted particles. As the soluble fibre moves through the digestive system, it takes these substances along, eliminating them from the body with your stool before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Soluble fibre also slows down digestion and helps minimise raised blood sugar after eating.
Insoluble fibre adds bulk and form to your stool, enabling it to pass through your digestive system and out of your body rapidly. This minimises the time that bad bacteria and waste products spend in your gut and reduces the likelihood of them being absorbed by your body.
So, we know fibre is a must to keep things moving and help your body get rid of toxins.
How much fibre do we need per day?
According to UK government guidelines, adults should be getting 30g fibre a day. Around 9 in 10 people in the UK aren’t meeting this with most adults eating an average of 18g a day.
But if you don’t fancy adding a bowl of bran flakes to your daily routine, then you’re in luck. These 5 foods are easily available in supermarkets, markets and smaller shops and will add a delicious dose of fibre.
You probably know them as antioxidant powerhouses containing high levels of vitamin C. But with 8g per serving, raspberries are surprisingly high in fibre. Raspberries are the perfect snack at any time of day with a handful of almonds (another healthy, fibre-rich food).
Unfortunately, the highly processed packets of flavoured popcorn you will find in the supermarket are not recommended, as any benefit from their fibre content is cancelled out by the high amounts of sugar, fat and additives.
However, plain popped corn is low in calories, fat and high in insoluble fibre with 6g per serving. It might be the perfect snack.
Why not replace crisps with popcorn flavoured with a pinch of salt, or cinnamon for a sweeter taste?
3. Rye bread
If you’ve never tried rye bread, now is the time.
A long-time favourite in Germany and Scandinavian countries, rye bread is gaining in popularity in the UK thanks to its wonderful health benefits.
For a serious fibre boost that will start your day off right, swap your current breakfast for two slices of toasted rye bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter spread on top with a few raspberries. Or try swapping your usual beans on toast to rye bread. Each slice of rye bread contains around 4.4g fibre.
There is plenty to love about this creamy, savoury Middle Eastern dip. Hummus is a source of protein and healthy fats and tastes amazing with vegetable sticks or warm flatbread. Hummus is also one of the best sources of fibre with 15g per serving thanks to its main ingredient, chickpeas.
When choosing hummus, make sure to stick to the traditional type made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Some brands, especially flavoured varieties, add unnecessary sugar and flavourings which offset hummus’ healthy credentials.
If you have time – why not try making your own hummus.
5. Chia seeds
If you’ve written chia seeds off as yet another trendy food fad, then you’re missing out!
Chia are a tiny seed with a huge nutritional profile. One of the best vegetarian sources of omega-3 fats, they are high in protein, calcium and iron, and have 11g fibre per serving.
The fibre in chia seeds is mainly the soluble type, meaning it slows digestion, helps you feel full and binds to bad cholesterol.
Extremely versatile, chia seeds can be added to both sweet and savoury dishes. Try them sprinkled on Greek yoghurt, oats or over salad for a mildly nutty flavour.
Last updated: 23 March 2020