Eat Your Fibre – but how much is enough?

Not to be indelicate but if you’ve ever had a painful poo chances are you’re not getting enough fibre in your diet. For me, that’s reason enough to eat lots of fibre but there are other reasons.

Fibre is primarily needed to keep your digestive tract healthy and happy, cleaning out your system and getting rid of foodie waste. But it also plays an integral role in stabilising your glucose and cholesterol levels helping to prevent heart disease, diabetes and bowel cancer. Three more excellent reasons to eat lots of fibre don’t you think?

I’m not delving in to the nitty gritty of what fibre actually is and exactly how it works as there are more qualified people who can talk about that in far better detail that I ever could (if you’re really interested I’ve included some links below). But as someone interested in nutrition, health and mucho eating, I think it’s useful to talk about good sources of fibre and to give you some guidelines on how much you should be eating to stay healthy and regular.

Fibre

 

Where do I get it?

Great sources of fibre include:

  • Wholegrain bread
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, beans (kidney, cannellini, baked)
  • Quinoa
  • Chia Seeds
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Fruit with the skin on.

Easy tips for increasing your fibre intake:

  • Leave the skin on all vegetables, don’t peel them. Apart from the added fibre, you also get the added bonus of vitamins and minerals which often live in the skin.
  • Leave the skin on apples, pears and other fruit where you can. The skin on kiwifruit, for example, is packed with fibre.
  • Snack on raw vegetables.
  • Swap out all or some of your white rice for brown rice.
  • Multigrain bread is best but if you’re a white bread eater, try one slice white and one slice multigrain or wholemeal. Start out slowly and you’ll really notice a difference.
  • Swap your morning ricies for a bowl of porridge with fruit and a little honey.
  • Stir through some beans, peas or chickpeas in the Sunday casserole. Every little bit counts.
  • Make a soup loaded with vegetables and pearl barley.
  • Throw in a handful of red lentils to your favourite soup; they dissolve into a lovely thick consistency with no lumps.

 

How much should I be eating?

The Heart Foundation daily fibre intake recommendation:

Adults 25-30 grams
Children aged 4 to 8 years 18 grams
Girls aged 9 to 13 years 20 grams
Girls aged 14 to 18 years 22  grams
Boys aged 9 to 13 years 24 grams
Boys aged 14 to 18 years 28 grams

 

Here’s The Heart Foundation’s example of what that might look like:

3/4 cup bran flake cereal 4.5g
2 slices wholemeal bread 4.5g
1 apple and 1 orange 5.5g
2 cups mixed raw vegetables 10g
1/4 cup baked beans 3g
Total 27.5g

 

Healthy cooking methods

How do I find the fibre content in foods?
I’ve given you a head start below for some common foods, but you can also search the internet for good sites. I found a good one hereCalorie King also has handy search engine where you can put in just about anything and it will give you not only the fibre content, but calories, fat and other good nutritional information.

 

Fibre content in common foods

Apple (1 medium) 4g
Banana (1 medium) 3g
Dried Apricots (2 halves) 1.7g
Broccoli, cooked (3/4 cup) 7g
Carrot (1 medium) 2g
Baked beans (1/2 cup) 8g
Kidney beans (1/2 cup) 9.7g
Multigrain bread (2 slices) 4.5g
Cereal – Bran Flakes (1 cup) 5g
Cereal – Weet-Bix (2 biscuits) 3.6g
Cereal – Rolled oats (1/2 cup) 4g
Rice – brown (1/2 cup) 5.5g
Rice – white (1/2 cup) 2g

 

Start out slowly
If you think you’re not eating enough fibre in your diet, start increasing your levels slowly. Too much too soon can lead to tummy cramping, embarrassing noises from your jeans and a lot of time spent in the loo! Not fun .

 

Do you think you eat enough fibre in your diet?

 

Healthy eating!

jay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about fibre

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