Fibre

Are you getting enough fibre? (I don’t mean the fibre optic kind!) Do you know what it is? What about what it does for you? Do you know where it’s found?

If you want to know the answers to these questions then read on as this week I’m taking a look at fabulous fibre and why you need to eat it every single day.

What is fibre?

‘Fibre’ or plant roughage is the part of beans, fruits, grains and vegetables that resists digestion by our bodies.

There’s two types, the first is soluble fibre, this dissolves in water, for example oats. You’ll also find it in beans, barley and several other foods. The second is insoluable fibre, this is the kind that’s found in vegetables, fruits, wheat, rice and many other grains.

Where is it found?

Well, you will not find it in any animal products – beef, chicken, fish, dairy. They don’t have any, at all. Beans, fruits, grains and vegetables on the other hand are packed full of fibre.

What does it do?

Fibre keeps the contents of our intestines moving along, but it’s also fantastic at helping our bodies get rid of nasties.

It all starts in our liver. Our liver constantly filters our blood, the liver cells remove toxins, cholesterol, medications, waste hormones and other nasties that our bodies don’t want. All this waste is then moved from the liver to a small tube called the bile duct. Once in our intestines, fiber soaks up these chemicals and then carries them out of our body.

How much do you need?

Aim for 40 grams a day. Keep a note of what you’ve eaten for the day then calculate from the table below to see how much fibre you’ve had. Don’t worry if you’ve not made it to 40, just make a note to get more fibre tomorrow, and then more the next day until after a couple of weeks you’re getting your 40 grams. This gives your digestive tract time to get used to the extra fibre.

Food group

Serving size

Fiber g/serving

Beans 0.5 cup 7
Soya milk 1 cup 3
Vegetables 1 cup 4
Fruit e.g. medium apple, banana, orange 1 cup 3
Whole grain bread Slice 2
Cooked whole wheat pasta 1 cup 2
Cooked brown rice 1 cup 3
Cooked oats 1 cup 4
Bran 1 cup 8

Remember…

Always go for the brown versions of everything e.g. whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, as the fibre has not been stripped from it. White rice, white pasta and white bread has most, if not all of the fibre stripped from it. The refining process may make white foods softer and whiter, but it also removes all the goodness.

And the champions are….

Legumes – in other words, beans, peas and lentils followed by vegetables and fruits and then whole grains.

5 Fabulous Reasons to Fill up on Fibre

  1. It keeps us regular by moving our food through our intestines and relieves constipation.

  2. It helps us rid our bodies of chemicals, including hormones.

  3. It’s brilliant at filling us up and tricking our stomach into thinking we’ve eaten a lot because fibre holds water and is heavy.

  4. It has virtually no calories so your stomach tells your brain that you’re full long before you’ve eaten too many calories.

  5. It may reduce your risk of colon cancer.

If your diet is rich in beans, vegetables, fruits and whole grains you’re probably already getting enough fibre, if you don’t eat these, then you should seriously start introducing them into your diet as soon as possible.

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