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FIBRE: The thing about it

You may have heard about the importance of dietary fibre but I always feel it is worth repeating. In fact my mantra for healthy eating is very simply this: {HIGH FIBRE, low fat, low sugar, low salt}. While fibre is a form of carbohydrate the body does not digest, it is an essential daily nutrient with many beneficial actions in the body.

Fibre

In addition to the well known benefits of digestive health and comfort, a sufficient intake of dietary fibre can assist in effective energy use, optimal blood glucose clearance, cholesterol reduction, satiety and weight management. Studies have revealed sufficient data to conclude that fibre eaters are slimmer than those who skimp on this important meal component. With these benefits in mind, making high fibre food choices or adding fibre to a meal should be a top priority in daily menu planning and food preparation. There are different types of fibre, each with their own benefits, making fibre inclusion from a variety of food sources the key to success.

Soluble fibre which has been found to lower cholesterol levels is found in oats, barley, legumes, nuts and some fruits and vegetables.

Insoluble fibre found in wholegrain foods, wheat bran, nuts, seeds and some vegetables and fruits passes through the digestive system mostly unchanged to provide a food source for the healthy bacteria living in the gut and promoting good bowel motility for the prevention of constipation.  Be sure to drink water as fibre does not work alone in regulating the bowel.

A sufficient fibre intake can be achieved by choosing high fibre foods rather than highly refined food products made with white flour { think: pastry, batter and dough}. These foods are often prepared with added fat and may have a high sugar or salt content. When doing your grocery shopping or stopping for a quick snack, check food labels for the words “high fibre”, “wholegrain”, “whole wheat” and “low Gi”.

 

Low Gi FoodsHeart FoundationDiabetes Vital Foods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foods naturally high in fibre include:

  • Whole grain cereals, rice, cous cous, pastas, breads, crackers
  • Barley
  • Bran cereals
  • Oats
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Dried beans, lentils and split peas
  • Fruit & dried fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Popcorn

Adding fibre to a dish is another way to increase your daily fibre intake:

  • Add lentils to rice with mustard seeds
  • Leave the skin on potatoes and carrots
  • Add seeds to cereals or salads
  • Add boiled split red lentils to white sauces, gravies and pasta sauces
  • Add lentils or beans to soups and casseroles
  • Use hummus as a sandwich spread instead of margarine
  • Add lentils or oat or oat bran to mince
  • Include vegetables daily
  • Add dried fruit to breakfast cereals or oats porridge instead of sugar

 

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