It’s no secret that eating foods rich in fibre is good for you and can help you slim down. Yet, despite all of the info that’s out there, most people still don’t get enough. “Women are supposed to get about 30 grams of fibre per day, but most get only 15 grams,” says Keri Gans spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics & author of The Small Change Diet. “The right blend of soluble and insoluble fibre can help decrease bloating and abdominal discomfort, increase good bacteria, and improve feelings of sluggishness and help you lose weight. Let me rephrase, getting the right fibre blend can mean a flatter stomach, a more comfortable gut, more energy and less illness! “
“We need a combo of both soluble and insoluble because they have different jobs in our gut. Soluble fibre slows transit time in the stomach and our small bowel, which helps to absorb nutrients and keeps us fuller for longer. “ Gans said. “Soluble fibre is found in good amounts in oats, fruits with the skin on, vegetables and legumes. Insoluble fibre speeds transit time in the large bowel which supports healthy bowels and the removal of toxins. Insoluble fibre is found in good amounts in wheat-based bread and cereals, wholemeal pasta, quinoa and wholemeal couscous. Many high fibre foods contain a combo of soluble and insoluble fibre.”
Signs you are not getting enough fibre?
- You’re not going to the bathroom (yeah, that kind of bathroom) at least once a day. “Most people assume that being constipated is the surest sign that you’re lacking in the fibre department. But constipation is the extreme scenario—meaning that even not going on the regular can mean you’re coming up short with fibre,” says Gans
- You have high cholesterol. Yep, cholesterol and fibre may be linked—research suggests that fibre may help lower your cholesterol levels. What happens is that fibre goes through your body whole, and as it does, cholesterol basically gloms onto it and leaves with it. “So if you’re not getting enough fibre, the cholesterol doesn’t have as many chances to leave your body, which could explain why you have high levels of it,” says Gans.
- You are hungry 45 minutes to an hour after meals. “The reason this is the case is that fibre digests slower and keeps you fuller for longer,” says Gans. So if you’re hungry too soon after breakfast or lunch, you probably didn’t pack enough fibre in there in the first place. The emphasis on a wide variety of fibre-rich plant foods makes it healthy and filling, keeping hunger pangs at a minimum.
“You don’t eliminate the foods you love. Instead, learn how to eat them in a healthier way. For example, don’t stop eating pasta. Add lots of salads, veggies and lean protein, like chicken or beans to your pasta bowl, and avoid heavy, creamed sauces. “ Says Norris
Tips to help you feel the positive effects of this dietary essential:
- For grains, use Wholemeal or Wholegrain varieties. Quinoa, brown rice, wholemeal and legume pasta are fabulous to get some extra fibre!
- Eat a range of whole fruits and veggies and leave the skin or peel on where possible.
- Get in two serves of fruit and five of non-starchy vegetables daily.
- Add Chia, flaxseed, LSA or all bran to your breakfast cereal. Chia and flax can also be sprinkled over salads.
- Bran and some cereals can be bonus ways to up your fibre. Look for more than 8g of fibre per 100g cereal
- Add a can of legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas) into dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles and salads.
Remember, the real win in weight loss is keeping the weight off, not just losing it quickly. So give yourself every chance and plan your week ahead by organising your groceries today!