12 easy ways to eat more fibre - starting today!
The average woman needs around 25g of fibre a day - for men this rises to 35-40g. Yet most of us are only getting around 15g of fibre a day, and this can negatively impact our health! Fibre is so important - it fuels the good bacteria in your lower bowel, which goes on to produce compounds that can help prevent colon cancer, boost immunity and lower cholesterol. If you're trying to lose weight, fibre increases satiety, so you'll feel fuller for longer and less likely to reach for tempting, unhealthy snacks. It also helps to remove toxins from the body and keeps you regular, so if you're suffering from constipation or diarrhoea, a lack of fibre could be to blame.
It doesn't have to be hard to add more fibre to your diet - these 12 tips will help you boost your daily intake.
#1. Make breakfast count
There's a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day - it's the perfect time to choose a high fibre option, to get your day off to the best possible start! Porridge oats are naturally high in fibre - opt for pure, natural oats and add your own fruit, nuts and flavourings at home, rather than buying pre-packed varieties with added sugar. Cereal with more than 6g of fibre per serving is always a healthy choice!
#2. Swap white for whole-wheat
Wherever you eat white, make it whole-wheat! This applies to everything from bread and muffins to rice, pasta and even crackers. Whole-wheat always has more fibre, as it's the unprocessed version, and by eating whole-wheat bread and pasta, you'll find you consume smaller portions and stay fuller for longer.
#3. Go nuts!
Seeds and nuts are loaded with fibre, so add them to your diet whenever you can. Sprinkle seeds on salads, snack on nuts or make your own home-made trail mix.
#4. Snack on fruit
#5. Don't peel your produce
Did you know that most of the good fibre is in the skins of fruit and vegetables? Many of us peel this off and throw it away! As long as you wash fruit and veg thoroughly to remove pesticides, it's perfectly safe to eat the skins. Buy organic fruit and vegetables wherever possible, or grow your own, and you never need to worry about pesticides!
#6. Avoid falling for the 'added fibre' trick
White bread, pasta and other goods with 'added fibre' probably have other things added too, and buying 'added fibre' products isn't the best choice. Choose whole-wheat varieties instead; they're naturally high in fibre and you'll probably find this saves you money on your weekly shop compared to varieties with fibre added too!
#7. Beanz meanz fibre
Beans are one of the foods naturally highest in fibre and we should all add be eating more beans and pulses. Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, with kidney beans one of the highest in total fibre content. A 1/2 cup serving of kidney beans contains a whopping 7.9g of fibre - that's almost 21% of the recommended fibre intake for men and 32% of a woman's recommended daily intake! Eating black beans could help to prevent diabetes and high blood cholesterol (1), so why not try making a healthy black bean soup or adding the beans to chilli?
#8. Peas please!
Frozen peas are really high in fibre too, with 9g of fibre per cup! Who would have thought that these little green vegetables could be such a nutritional powerhouse! Add them to stir-fries or pasta dishes for a quick way to boost your fibre intake and get one of your five-a-day.
#9. Make mine Middle-Eastern
Swap rice for bulghur wheat and enjoy Middle-Eastern style salads with plenty of tomatoes, cucumber and mint. Cooked bulghur wheat has the most fibre of all whole grains! One cup contains 8g of fibre, and it has a delicious, nutty taste and texture.
#10. Have a movie night
Looking forward to a weekend Netflix marathon? Why not pop your own popcorn at home, and you'll be making sure you get some extra fibre - a 3 cup serving contains 4g of fibre. Plus, air-popped popcorn has only 90 calories per serving, and it's naturally low in fat!
#11. Boost your smoothies
Whipping up a healthy fruit smoothie or green smoothie after your morning gym session means you're getting plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, but now you can ensure you get your fibre with your smoothie too! Try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of wheat or oat bran to your smoothie and blend for added fibre.
#12. Sprinkle on some flax seeds
Flax seeds can be found in the nuts and seeds aisle at most supermarkets or health food stores - they're about the same size as sesame seeds, with a mild flavour and crunchy texture. Try sprinkling them over cereal, yoghurt or salad, or why not add them to shakes and smoothies?
These 12 tips should help you to get more fibre in your diet - but you don't need to stop there! Try and ensure you're including some extra fibre with every meal and snack you eat; your body will thank you for it. Don't be alarmed if you notice some changes in your digestive system and bowel movement when you start eating more fibre - it could take some time for your body to adjust to the change in diet!
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