Also known as roughage, fibre is a key component of you healthy diet and to be honest it isn’t talked about enough within the fitness industry.
We source our fibre from plant sources, particularly your green leafy veg but it can also be found in whole grains and pulses. Fibre has many health benefits including keeping your dietary tract healthy (helping to reduce constipation) whilst also helping to reducing the risk of heart disease amongst others. But did you know it can also play an important part in weight management?
One of the major barriers to weight loss is appetite, it is pretty obvious to us all that the less you eat the more hungry you’re going to become. When you get hungry you often find yourself looking towards energy dense food like chocolate because it gives you that kick of energy you need and hides those hunger pangs long enough for you to get to your next meal, but this is a recipe for disaster.
So what we need to do is find foods that keep us fuller for longer. These are known as high satiety foods. I have spoken about these foods in the past and often it is recommended that a high protein diet is great for increasing your satiation but we can’t just rely on this alone. Fibre is also a great appetite suppressant which means your not going to feel as hungry between meals and you’re less likely to snack.
With plant based foods, on the whole, being lower in calories and the high fibre content being great for appetite suppressing, what greater reason do you need for filling your plate full of nutritious and delicious fruit and veg.
Whilst the NHS recommends at least 30g of fibre a day, this number can massively change from person to person. Also exercise care when increasing your fibre content, so don’t go from 0 to 100mph as this can lead to a painful stomach.
But if you’re looking for a nutrient that is packed full of benefits, you’re not going to go far wrong by increasing your fibre in your diet.
To increase your fibre intake you could:
- Choose a high fibre breakfast cereal e.g. bran flakes, or porridge
- Go for wholemeal or granary breads instead of white bread
- Choose wholegrains like wholewheat pasta, bulghur wheat or brown rice
- Go for potatoes with skins e.g. baked potato or boiled new potatoes
- For snacks try fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes, unsalted nuts or seeds
- Include plenty of vegetables with meals – either as a side dish or added to sauces, stews or curries
- Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads
- Have some fresh or dried fruit, or fruit canned in natural juice for dessert.