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I hope you’ve had a great week and relaxing weekend.
This week I want to talk about:-
If you’re of a certain age like me, then you might remember the food fad of the 80’s and 90’s was fibre, principally marketed by cereals such as All Bran, which tasted rather like shredded cardboard boxes.
But, the food fad for fibre was an extremely important one which is currently being undermined by the anti-carbs trends of the moment.
Fibre is a necessary component to ensure your digestive system is working correctly.
There are two types of fibre:-
1. Soluble fibre
This fibre is soluble in your gut and makes a gel-like material (think wallpaper paste) that effectively mops up waste in the digestive tract. It’s particularly good at lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels in the blood. Soluble fibre is found mainly in beans (legumes), oats, citrus fruits, apples and barley.
2. Insoluble fibre
This fibre isn’t actually digested or absorbed by the body so passes through the small intestine mainly intact. When it reaches your large intestine it soaks up water, making a “bulky” mass that helps push through waste food products to be eliminated. It acts rather like a snow ball – growing as it collects debris, pushing through the intestines and clearing out the gut.
Insoluble fibre is found mainly in whole grains, bran, beans, nuts, fruit and vegetables – especially in the skins (think potato wedges with skins on, apple slices with skin on!). Eating whole fruits and vegetables are the best way to obtain the benefits of fibre. This is why I’m not a big fan of smoothies as often the fibre content of the fruit and vegetables has been removed. Sweet-corn is particularly effective at passing through the body almost intact.
As fibre takes time to move through the gut, it can help to make you feel full for longer. Plus the body has to use more energy to digest and move the fibre through the gut, which means more calories burned, therefore fibre can help with weight loss as you will eat less and burn more calories.
Animal foods such as meat, diary and fish don’t contain fibre.
How much fibre do you need each day?
Current Government guidelines in the UK recommend 30g per day. Most of us don’t reach this at all, with the average being about 18g per day.
6 important benefits of fibre:-
- It helps maintain regular bowel movements;
- It reduces the risk of haemorrhoids and diverticular disease;
- It controls blood glucose levels;
- It helps lower bad cholesterol levels;
- It helps you feel full for longer so you eat less;
- It helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
One word of caution
If you haven’t been eating much fibre, you need to introduce it slowly so that your gut can adjust to processing it again. If you eat too much, too soon, it can make you feel gassy and uncomfortable. I believe this is why many people think they are intolerant to whole grains when really their gut just needs time to adjust.
You also need to ensure you drink plenty of water – remember how I said insoluble fibre ‘soaks’ up water? If you are already dehydrated you can make matters worse, so drink, drink, drink!
Here’s a super tasty way to get your fibre, without eating All Bran:-
A super fibre fruit loaf
I’ve been making this super fibre fruit loaf for years now. It’s packed full of dates, figs, apricots and raisins and contains no fat. It even gets a thumbs up from the Hubby.
If you want to make it too, you can find the recipe right here at Taste Magazine
This week’s meal plan:-
- Caramelised onion and camembert quiche and salad
- Chicken and mushroom pies with potato wedges (skin on!)
- Chicken, portobella mushroom, prosciutto stacks with balsamic glaze and salad
- Creamy salmon pasta
- Spicy chilli chicken and salads
- Cajun chicken, sweet potatoes and tomato chilli jam and vegetables.
Have a wonderful week. Don’t forget to sign up for my Newsletter to get regular updates from the blog, recipes and special offers.