Increasing your fibre intake has various benefits. But what are they exactly? Fibre not only benefits digestion but can reduce the risk of chronic disease.
That said, not all fibre is the same. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble dissolves in water and is metabolised by the good bacteria in the gut while insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and may not be digested by the gut.
Recommended daily allowance is that men and women eat between 38-25 grams per day and the best way to consume it is from whole fruits, vegetables and grains or protein powders containing prebiotic fibre.
When we consume the right amount of fibre in our diet, studies show we can also reduce our appetites and lose weight as a consequence.
Fibre soaks up the water in the intestine and helps the absorption of nutrients while increasing the feeling of fullness.
Scientists also believe that soluble fibre also helps reduce sugar spikes after high carb meals meaning you have greater levels of energy and satiety throughout the day.
And that’s not all. Studies also show that fibre can reduce cholesterol showing that people who eat more fibre have a lower risk of heart disease.
Fibre is also typically associated with reducing constipation and keeping us regular. Studies show that soluble fibre that forms a gel in the digestive tract are often effective.
One example is psyllium which can be added to cereals and bread. Other types of fibre including sorbitol also have a laxative affect. Sorbitol can be found in prunes.
Studies show that fibre is also linked to a reduce risk of colon cancer and deduce that an intake of high fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables and wholegrains affect cancer risk.
So how can you consume more fibre? Eating your vegetables before a meal is one effective strategy.
One study showed that those given a salad before their meal ate 23 per cent more veggies than those served the salad as a meal accompaniment.
Furthermore, eating a salad or vegetable soup before a meal has been linked to eating fewer calories overall.
Another tip is to snack on fruit or add to your smoothies. All fruit delivers fibre although berries, apples and pears have the highest amounts.
Make sure you chose whole grains over refined grains. Good examples are grains such as barley, farro, quinoa, millet and amaranth.
Seeds and nuts are also high in fibre. Try making a chia seed pudding or adding flax, sesame and hemp to your cereal and salads.
An ounce of almonds alone has three grams of fibre. You can also bake with high fibre flours such as almond, hazelnut, chickpea and buckwheat.
Check out our hundreds of high fibre recipes here.