Fibre Facts- What is it, and why should we care?

Published by Sydney O'Connor on

In Friday’s Zoom cafe, nutritionist Ann-Marie highlighted the importance of fibre, and how to make simple swaps to our diet to get more of it.

Session 2: Fibre Facts

Ann-Marie explained that fibre is the part of plant food that isn’t easily digested. There are many benefits to a fibre rich diet, including:

  • Regular bowl movements by increasing the bulk of stool.
  • Keeping you fuller for longer.
  • Helping to control blood sugar levels.
  • Associated with reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

It’s recommended to get 30g of fibre a day- this may sound like a lot but over the course of the day your efforts add up! Check out the table below to gauge how much fibre is in different food types:

(Bupa UK)

You may have heard that there are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble fibre. To keep things simple, Ann-Marie recommended eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates in order to get both types into your diet.

We explored how the way you prepare food, or the food options you make, can affect how much fibre you get in your diet. If you would like to include more fibre, it is recommended to consume fruits whole, like eating the skin of apples, and choosing an orange over orange juice. Also, swapping things like pasta, rice, and bread for the whole grain variety will increase the amount of fibre in your meals.

Typical swaps you could make in a day:

  • Cornflakes for breakfast- adding fruit, or switching to bran flakes or porridge.
  • Sandwich for lunch- adding salad to the sandwich, and opting for wholemeal bread.
  • Dinner- rice and salmon- using wholegrain rice and adding vegetables

You can do a similar thing when baking too- there are lots of flour alternatives popping up in supermarkets these days which contain more fibre, like oat flour, bular flour and quinoa.

If you suspect you are eating a low fibre diet now, its advised to increase fibre slowly as bowel discomfort can occur if you’re not used to it. If this is the case, it can be handy to remember that fluids help fibre to do its job.

Fibre rich recipes from today’s session:

Ann-Marie’s Breakfast Bars

Sydney’s Creamy Carrot and Lentil Soup

From Pam:

Courgette and Fennel Soup

Banana Granola Bars

Carrot Cake Loaf

From Penny:

Bran Fruit Loaf

More high fibre recipe ideas are available from:

Whole Grains Council

Heart UK

If you make any fibre rich meals, or try any of the recipes above, we’d love to see them! Send any pictures to sydney@yourbackyard.org.uk and we’ll include them in this blog post. Also, if you have any fibre rich recipes of your own, please send them too! It would be great to use this blog as a shared recipe bank.

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