We all know that a balanced diet is important for our general health and well-being, as well as daily energy. This doesn’t just mean getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need, keeping your diet balanced also requires the right amount of fibre.
You need to be eating around 30g of fibre every day in order to feel the full benefits. This means eating foods that come from plants, as they are the only ones that contain fibre. You won’t find it in meat, fish or dairy products unless it has been added in.
There are two different types of fibre that you can ingest, soluble and insoluble. Both of these are just as important as the other, so you need to make sure you get a mix of both. It is a good idea to increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and cereals you’re eating in order to do this.
But what exactly does fibre do?
Soluble fibre can dissolve in water, as the name suggests, so it will dissolve in the liquid that is in your digestive tract. On a daily note, having enough soluble fibre in your diet ensures you stay regular and helps you avoid constipation and bloating.
It can also help to lower the amount of cholesterol in your blood, and can aid in stabilising your glucose levels so your mood stays more stable. Lowering your cholesterol is particularly important, as this will help to protect you against heart disease and stroke.
Foods like oats, barley, fruit, root vegetables and linseeds all contain soluble fibre, so add these to your diet regularly.
This type of fibre cannot dissolve in water so it passes through your digestive system without being broken down. It is important as it helps other foods move through your system and ensures your bowels are healthy. Insoluble fibre also helps avoid digestive problems, so it is very important.
Increasing the amount of insoluble fibre you eat can mean you feel fuller for longer following meals as it doesn’t break down. If you are trying to lose weight or have a tendency to snack, it is a good idea to eat more of it.
However, you can eat too much insoluble fibre, which can mean that you suffer from diarrhoea. You should increase your intake of insoluble fibre slowly in order to avoid things like stomach cramps, bloating and wind.
Foods that are good sources of this type of fibre include cereals, wholemeal, nuts, seeds and bran.
Adding these fibre sources to your diet isn’t too difficult and you can easily vary your fibre source to keep the meals you eat interesting. Just be sure you maintain a balanced diet and pay attention to what your body needs to ensure it is kept in the best possible condition.