Why is there such a hype about consuming fibre? What benefits do people get from eating this daily?
WHY DO I NEED FIBRE
The answer is simple, really. Fibre helps people to shed weight because it makes a person feel fuller while eating less food. How is that possible? Fibre is digested slower, absorbed slower, and hence you do not become hungry as fast as you would have before eating foods high in fibre. Fibre also helps lower cholesterol.
The foods containing the most fibre:• whole grains like pasta and whole-wheat bread,• popcorn• nuts such as walnuts, pecans and almonds• oatmeal• beans• potato baked with the skin• berries• brown rice• any cereal that has more than 5g of fibre per serving• vegetables, preferably raw
WHAT IS DIETARY FIBRE
Dietary fibre is the part of our food that is not affected by the digestive process in our bodies. Only a slight fraction of our fibre intake is metabolized in the intestine and stomach. The rest passes through the gastrointestinal tract which then makes up a part of our stool. The two types of dietary fibre are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre turns to gel after retaining water during digestion. This then slows down nutrient absorption and digestion from the intestine and stomach. Soluble fibre can be found in foods such as seeds, lentils, peas, oat bran, barley, beans, nuts and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fibre speeds the flow of foods through the intestines and stomach and adds bulk to the stool. It is found in foods such as vegetables, wheat bran and whole grains.
Fibre is deemed a magic ingredient. Which other type of food can reduce the risk for getting cancer, heart disease or diabetes, keep cholesterol under control, clear up complexions, and boost a metabolism while you feel full? There are none. Today we will discuss some fruit, vegetables and other wholesome items to eat for a larger intake of fibre.
FOODS THAT ARE HIGH IN FIBRE
The good part of exploring foods that are rich in fibre is that one can have fun while doing it. Replace foods with less fibre with ones that are rich in it. Vegetables are a great place to start. Instead of having mashed potatoes, why not have mashed cauliflower? And if you can eat it al dente, so much better!
Gem squashes are also a win, but instead of eating it boiled with all sorts of flavourings, try grilling it in the oven. A dab of sea salt and olive oil on top is all you will need. And it is simply delicious.
Chickpeas and split peas are great to add to stews or soups. And they taste fabulous. Or try lima beans with bacon, or as a pureé in soup.
Another magical fibred item is barley. If prepared correctly, it is deliciously filling, and it helps keeping blood sugar levels normal.
I know a lot of you aren’t fans of broccoli, but they are extremely high in fibre, and you only need small servings to eat the necessary requirement for weight loss. The less cooked, the better, and raw broccoli makes the perfect snack.
Fruit loving people can also play around with boring recipes. When you next make a smoothie, add a cup of diced guava. Or try it on flapjacks. I often enjoy a cupful of pomegranate seeds in a litre of iced water. Water is a must if you increase your intake of fibre.
Do away with boring breakfast cereals. Spice them up a bit. Add dried fruit, or make a parfait with your bran flakes, fruit and yoghurt. Or mix diced kiwi fruit into your cereal. This fruit is not only high in fibre, it dissolves unhealthy fats in your blood, leaving you feeling full, and healthier within 14 days if you consume 2 a day.
Bananas are always readily available and can be made into dozens of interesting meals or eaten as is. Combined with a pear or an apple, you consume more than enough fibre for slimming down.
Beetroot is as healthy a vegetable as you can get. Not only does it fight heart disease, it is also high in fibre. It can become a delicious salad if you add walnuts.
Eating artichokes is the reason why some people do not suffer from constipation or being bloated. This natural detoxifying vegetable is a must in your food chart and are delicious with herbs and sundried tomatoes.
Popcorn can either be eaten as is or add some cocoa powder to the batch. Shake well in a paper packet and enjoy.
Kumquats, or miniature oranges, can be eaten whole or in a salad. Grapefruit is also high in fibre. Although some people struggle with the taste of this fruit, it helps to squeeze a bit of honey over it to soothe away the bitter taste if required.
While all berries are healthy, blackberries are the nuts of the berry world. It is especially delicious in oatmeal or can be enjoyed as a snack. Raspberries and blackberries contain vitamin C and just under 9 grams of fibre per cup. Strawberries contain 3 grams of fibre per cup, and blueberries 4 grams.
Try some sweet potato with a dash of cayenne pepper. And eat it with the skin still intact. You can also make chips from grilled sweet potato; a healthier choice to the fried potato chips.Avocados are not only high in fibre but contain healthy fats. Mashed avocado on whole wheat bread is ideal. And you will feel full for a long time.
BENEFITS OF EATING FIBRE
What are the actual benefits of eating plenty of fibre? It assists in weight loss. That is a proven fact. It is what is known as a filler because you will not become hungry as fast as usual, and reduces the calories that the body absorbs. Eating fibre daily will help you maintain the reduced weight. Consuming fibre reduces the risk of getting diabetes as it keeps blood sugar levels steady and decreases chances of getting heart diseases. However, the most important reasons to ingest fibre is that it makes for a healthier stomach by ‘transporting’ passage of faeces from your body and decreases the risk of colorectal and breast cancer.
People who eat fibre rich foods live on average 17% longer than those that do not consume enough of it.
Need an all-natural juice detoxification? Fibre is the answer. It promotes elimination of toxins from your G.I. tract as they soak up unhealthy fats before the body absorbs them.Leeks, asparagus, wheat and oats contain prebiotics that will help increase the bioavailability of certain minerals like calcium taken in from the foods you eat, which in turn helps maintain bone density.
HOW MUCH FIBRE SHOULD I EAT
High-fibre foods are no longer just something older adults need to eat to treat constipation. It is advisable the women should consume at least 25 grams of fibre daily, and men at least 38 grams.
HIGH FIBRE RECIPES
Below are some of my favourite high fibre smoothie recipes:
BERRY BEET SMOOTHIE
Berry Beet Smoothie (perfect for a snack or a meal and this recipe makes 2 glasses full)Ingredients:1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries1 cup almond milk2 medium bananas, frozen1 cup cooked beets, chopped*1/2 cup raspberries or other berries of choice, frozen1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey to tasteMethod:Place all ingredients into a blender.Blend until completely smooth and add sweetener as needed.Pour into glasses and enjoy!
BANANA BERRY DETOX SMOOTHIE
Banana Berry Detox Smoothie (rich in fibre, vitamin C, antioxidants and potassium)Ingredients:1 1/4 cups of filtered water1 cup of frozen strawberries1 cup of frozen raspberries1/2 cup of frozen blueberries2 soft pitted dates1 tablespoon natural almond butter or sunflower butter1 ripe and speckled banana, peeled and diced1/2 tablespoon chia seeds1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly choppedInstructions:Add all ingredients into a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Serve immediately.Below is a list of food with the total fibre in grams per serving as indicated.
HIGH FIBRE SMOOTHIE
High Fibre SmoothieIngredients:1 cup of frozen blueberries1 whole fresh overripe banana1 cup of fresh spinach2/3 cup of low-fat milk1/3 cup of plain yogurt1–2 tbsp. of honey1 tbsp. ground flax seedInstructions:Place all ingredients in a blender, puree until smooth.
HIGH FIBRE FOODS
(Food Item - Amount - grams of fibre)
- Raspberries - 1 cup - 8.0Pear - 1 medium - 5.5
- Apple, with skin - 1 medium - 4.5
- Banana - 1 medium - 3.0
- Orange - 1 medium - 3.0
- Strawberries - 1 cup - 3.0
- Green peas, boiled - 1 cup - 9.0
- Broccoli, boiled - 1 cup chopped - 5.0
- Turnip greens, boiled - 1 cup - 5.0
- Brussels sprouts, boiled - 1 cup - 4.0
- Potato, with skin, medium - 4.0
- Sweet corn, boiled - 1 cup - 3.5
- Carrot, raw - 1 medium - 1.5
- Barley, pearled, cooked - 1 cup - 6.0
- Bran flakes - 3/4 cup - 5.5
- Quinoa, cooked - 1 cup - 5.0
- Oat bran muffin - 1 medium - 5.0
- Oatmeal, cooked - 1 cup - 5.0
- Popcorn, air-popped - 3 cups - 3.5
- Brown rice, cooked - 1 cup - 3.5
- Bread, whole-wheat - 1 slice - 2.0
- Bread, rye - 1 slice - 2.0
- Split peas, boiled - 1 cup - 16.0
- Lentils, boiled - 1 cup 15.5
- Black beans, boiled - 1 cup - 15.0
- Baked beans, canned - 1 cup - 10.0