Let's talk about Fibre!
What is it?
Chances are you've heard the word Fibre before, after-all - it seems to be saturating the health industry with society's latest obsession of all things 'gut health', and honestly - we couldn't be happier about it! Here at KOJA, we are huge advocates for fibre and want to teach you more about this wonderful nutrient and all it has to offer.
So, let's get into it......
Scientifically speaking, Fibre is the indigestible component of all plant foods.
For your reference, plant foods include fruits, vegetables, lentils, legumes, whole-grains, nuts and seeds.
To take it back it a step, most of the foods that we eat are digested and the nutrients from that food are absorbed in our small intestine. With fibre, it passes all the way through our digestive tract (past the small intestine) and into our large intestine where it is fermented by beneficial bacteria and then excreted out into the toilet.
There are 3 types of fibre in the foods we eat every single day, these are:
1 - Soluble Fibre
2 - Insoluble Fibre
3 - Resistant Starch
Soluble types of fibre dissolve in water to form a thick gel in our intestines. As a result of this, soluble fibre slows down the rate of digestion and can help you feel fuller for longer. It has also proven to help balance your blood sugar levels and assists in stabilising your appetite and energy levels too. Additionally, consuming soluble fibre regularly as part of a healthy balanced diet can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
Lastly, If you suffer from loose bowels (e.g diarrhoea), soluble fibre can help to thicken your output and slow the rate of emptying, bonus!
Find soluble fibre in the flesh of all fruits and vegetables, lentils, legumes, oats and barley.
Insoluble fibre on the other hand helps to keep your digestive system regular. It also absorbs water in your intestines to help soften your output and help you to pass a stool more easily.
If you suffer from constipation, consider increasing your intake of insoluble fibre. Don't forget to increase your water intake simultaneously to help move everything through.
Find insoluble fibre in nuts and seeds, the skins of all fruits and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals and bran.
Resistant starch does exactly that, resists digestion. Resistant starch in particular feeds off the beneficial bacteria found in the large intestine to keep our gut microbiome thriving.
Find resistant starch in cooked and then cooled pasta, rice and potatoes, under ripe bananas and undercooked pasta.
Why do we need Fibre?
As mentioned above, Fibre is essential to health and wellbeing for so many reasons. It:
- Keeps up going to the toilet regularly
- Increases the amount of beneficial bacteria found in our gut
- Helps to manage our blood sugar levels
- Increases our satiety
- Assists in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood
- Helps to reduce our risk of certain bowel diseases
How much do we need?
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, males should aim to consume at least 30g of fibre per day and women should aim to consume at least 25g per day
Practical ways to increase your Fibre intake.
1. Fill half of your plate with vegetables at each meal.
2. Aim to consume two serves of fruit every single day.
3. Enjoy a KOJA Bar as a between meal snack. KOJA bars are full of nuts, nut butters, chia seeds and buckwheat kernels which make them a fibrous option to keep YOU satisfied and YOUR GUT BUGS thriving.
4. Substitute half of the meat or fish in pasta dishes, curries and stir-fries for lentils and legumes. Click here for our delicious lentil and cauliflower bolognese recipe, it's a goodie!
5. Swap white bread for wholegrain bread, white rice for brown rice and corn flakes for porridge.
6. Add 1 tbsp of flaxseeds or chia seeds to your morning smoothie
7. Make home-made cakes and muffins with wholemeal flour and stir through your favourite nuts, nut butters and seeds. Walnuts in banana bread are life-changing, trust us!
8. Add a few tbsp of home-made muesli or granola to greek yoghurt as a healthy, nutritionally balanced snack.
9. Incorporate tahini into salad dressings
10. Try All Bran as a breakfast option. Just 1/2 cup contains 13g of fibre (that is half of your daily intake).
Written by Millie Padula, Accredited Practising Dietitian & Accredited Nutritionist