A recent BBC news article highlighted just how important fibre is to our daily diets, and how a worrying 90% of us eat diets that are deficient in the stuff – crazy when you realise how readily available fibre is, particularly in the UK.
Fibre is actually a type of complex carbohydrate, so perhaps it’s our carb-fearing nation that has resulted in us overlooking this essential nutrient. Whatever the reason, our attitude towards fibre-rich foods needs to change – fast!
What does fibre do?
Unlike most foods, fibre is not digested and absorbed by the small intestine and instead it finds its way to the large intestine in an undigested state. Here, it works hard to ensure your digestive health, bowel movements and processes, which I’m sure you don’t want to read about, operate effectively. Once fibre reaches the large intestine, the billions of bacteria that live in your gut wake up and begin to feast on and digest the food. This process produces chemicals such as fatty acids which are then absorbed to service numerous other bodily functions.
Everyone knows that fibre is essential to digestion, but according to Bupa, there’s also growing evidence to suggest that fibre can help to reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Similarly, the NHS state that, “Eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and bowel cancer… Choosing foods with fibre also makes us feel fuller, while a diet rich in fibre can help digestion and prevent constipation”.
Thankfully, these concerns can easily be prevented by increasing the amount of fibre present in your diet – the more the better – and, interestingly, a recent report published by the Lancet Medical Journal states that up to thirteen unnecessary deaths can also be prevented if just 1,000 people switch from a low to a high fibre diet.
So where can you find fibre?
The recommended daily allowance of fibre in the UK is at least 30g, but many people struggle to consume even half this amount. Much of the blame falls to convenience food and how many people favour white pasta, rice and bread over brown alternatives, but adding fibre to your diet doesn’t have to mean ditching your favourite meals. Fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, oats, nuts, seeds, pulses, lentils, chickpeas, some cereals and wholegrain bread or pasta. Adding chickpeas, lentils or beans to your weekly curry or sprinkling some nuts and seeds over your salad can be an easy solution to upping your fibre intake, while choosing to have a bowl of warming porridge with chopped banana is a more fibrous option than the sugar-filled cereal you’ve been gobbling down. It’s also important to ensure your fibre intake derives from a variety of sources and that you’re getting your daily minimum of five portions of fruits and vegetables – these foods are packed with all sorts of essential nutrients, including fibre.
If you are still struggling to see how you can feed enough fibre into your diet via food, you may wish to consider including a fibre supplement to your daily menu. Forever Fibre is a unique water-soluble supplement that can be added to water or your beverage of choice to make a mild-tasting drink. Your daily portion is packaged in a convenient sachet that you can take in your bag to work and each sachet equates to 5g of fibre – that’s the equivalent of two slices of wholemeal toast! If you aim to drink a sachet of Forever Fibre each day, alongside a healthy balanced meal plan that’s full of fibrous treats, you’ll reach your 30g of fibre in no time.
Try this fibre-rich menu
Breakfast: 45g rolled oats with one chopped banana = 12g of fibre
Snack: ½ carrot (chopped into sticks) served with 1 heaped tablespoon of hummus = 2.5g of fibre
Lunch: Peanut butter (1tbsp) on brown toast (1 slice) = 3g of fibre
Drink: Glass of Forever Fiber = 5g fibre
Dinner: Vegetable curry served with wholegrain rice = 6g of fibre
Snack: Apple = 4g of fibre
TOTAL = 32.5g of fibre
Please note: these quantities are estimated and may vary
#BeResolute and live well
If your 2019 goal is to eat more healthily than you ever have before, then you need to pay special attention to your nutrient intake, and whatever you do, don’t scrimp on the carbs! Cutting carbs out completely could have a detrimental effect on your fibre intake, so instead you need to learn to choose the right carbohydrates by selecting wholemeal and brown alternatives. A truly healthy diet should be full of variety to ensure it contains the right mix of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and fibre that you need to live well.
Similarly, if your goal revolves around adopting a sustainable fitness routine, you may be interested in programmes that go beyond exercise by looking at the bigger picture and incorporating nutrition and supplements into their daily plans. Forever’s C9 and F15 programmes do exactly this and both programmes promote you take a daily dose of Forever Fibre to support those digestive processes throughout your weight management journey.
Whether you’ve set a conscious goal or not, now is the time to decide to be resolute by choosing to do something about your health, and fibre is an easy way to start. Why don’t you start today by upping your fibre intake throughout February and March? #BeResolute