Getting enough fibre? The importance of fibre
People are focusing on a healthy lifestyle and mindful eating more than ever. But despite our best efforts, a major study has revealed that most of us may still not be getting enough fibre.
According to data from the British Nutrition Foundation, most people in the UK simply aren’t eating enough fibre. The recommended fibre intake for adults is 30g per day, but the average intake in the UK currently stands at just 17.2g for women and 20.1g for men.
From keeping the gut healthy to regulating blood sugar, the importance of fibre is indisputable. With that said, there’s only one question to ask: are you getting enough fibre?
Why is fibre important?
Research shows that shifting from a low-fibre diet (less than 15g) to a high-fibre diet (aim for 30g) could be a serious game-changer. In fact, a high-fibre diet has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, bowel cancer and type-2 diabetes.
A high-fibre diet can also help you to maintain a healthy weight. This is because fibre is extremely filling, yet very low in calories. Fibre takes longer to digest than refined and processed food and swells in your stomach when it absorbs liquid, leaving you feeling more satisfied and fuller for longer.
At Purition, we agree that fibre is important for optimal health. Our products contain soluble and insoluble fibre from whole seeds and nuts, apple pectin and psyllium husk. Low carb and high in fibre, two servings a day of Purition will provide you with around 12-16g of fibre, depending on which flavour you choose. That’s equivalent to roughly 6 slices of wholewheat bread!
Read more about the fibre in Purition.
What is fibre?
Okay, so you know that fibre is important — but what actually is it? Dietary fibre is a non-digestible complex carbohydrate. It’s found in a range of plant foods including fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes.
Fibre can be divided into two main categories: soluble and insoluble:
1. Soluble fibre dissolves in water when it enters the stomach and transforms into a gel-like substance. Helps to stablise blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol. Found in oats, nuts, carrots, beans, apples, blueberries and more.
2. Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water when it enters the stomach. Helps to promote bowel health and regularity and prevents constipation. Found in nuts, seeds, beans, fruit skins, wheat bran, green beans, cauliflower and more.
Both types of fibre will help you to feel satisfied for longer after a meal and lower the risk of numerous chronic conditions and diseases. Ultimately, fibre in all its forms is essential for good health — and you must get enough of it.
Signs that you’re not getting enough fibre
Not sure if you’re getting enough fibre in your day-to-day diet?
One of the most common symptoms of a fibre deficiency is stomach problems, such as constipation and irregular bowel movements. When it comes to digestion, fibre is your best friend — it attracts water to stools; keeping them soft and allowing them to pass easily. On the other hand, if your diet lacks fibre, stools can become hard and slow-moving, leading to constipation.
If you’re not getting much fibre in your diet, you might also struggle to feel full and satisfied, even after a meal. High-fibre meals take your body longer to digest and provide volume for little-to-no calories, making you feel fuller without dramatically increasing your calorie intake.
If either of these situations sound familiar to you, you might benefit from boosting the amount of fibre in your diet.
How to get more fibre in your diet
The importance of fibre is clear, but what’s the best way to pack in more of this good stuff?
First things first, it’s important to ease in slowly. A sudden increase in fibre can play havoc with your digestive system and bring on less-than-ideal symptoms like bloating and gas. While temporary, these symptoms can be minimised by taking things slow and increasing your fibre intake over the course of several weeks.
To get more fibre in your diet, you simply need to start consuming more high-fibre foods. Natural whole plant foods like fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses are typically very high in fibre. As a general rule, the more processed and refined a food is, the less fibre it will contain.
Make a start by:
- Making sure you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables every day — ideally, add a generous portion to every meal
- Replacing processed, sugary snacks with a handful of nuts or seeds
- Sprinkling seeds on top of salads or adding them to smoothies
- Adding half a tin of legumes — such as chickpeas, kidney beans, peas and lentils — to your lunch or evening meal
- Keeping the skins on fruits and vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots and apples) rather than peeling them
Another easy and convenient way to increase your fibre intake is to swap out your usual breakfast or lunch (or both!) for a glass of Purition. Our real food blends are made with 70% nuts and seeds, your choice of either vegetarian (whey) or vegan (pea, pumpkin, sunflower & hemp) protein and extra soluble and insoluble fibre for good measure.
Have one or two of our shakes over the course of the day and combine this with a nicely balanced homemade meal with lots of fresh vegetables. Before long, these small and manageable changes will see you reaping the benefits of a high-fibre diet!
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