Comments: 0

How to get 30g of fibre in a day...

7 Jan 2016 11:27 AM -


It is easy to forget the importance of dietary fibre when you are inundated with the myriad of information about important vitamins and minerals, or the latest ‘superfood’ available on the market.  As a Naturopath, I see dietary fibre as one of the key components of good nutrition. 

We've previously written about the importance of fibre in disease prevention, so this time I've expanded on the different types of fibre and how to get the recommended 30g per day into your diet.

Dietary fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.  Basically, it comes from (relatively unprocessed) foods of plant origin. In other words...a diet based on whole foods.

Fibre is often classified into three different types...soluble, insoluble and resistant starch.

Whilst categorising dietary fibre into soluble and insoluble is useful when considering specific gastrointestinal issues (such as constipation or diarrhoea), it is worth noting that many foods contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fibre and therefore eating a varied diet which includes wholegrains, fruits and vegetables should provide you with adequate soluble and insoluble fibre to maintain healthy bowel function.

What is soluble fibre?

Soluble fibre helps your gastrointestinal system to slow down the emptying process, therefore increasing the time it takes for your food to pass through your digestive system. It is soluble in water (hence the name) and as a result attracts water and swells in the digestive track ensuring your bowel movements are soft, formed and easy to pass. Soluble fibre has the benefit of helping you feel fuller for longer and maintaining blood sugar levels.

Soluble fibre can be found in all fruits and some vegetables (such as carrots, onions and broccoli) as well as oats, nuts, and legumes.

What is insoluble fibre?

Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water, it adds bulk or 'roughage' (as you may sometimes hear) to your bowel movements.  It passes through your digestive system relatively unchanged and may reduce the incidence of constipation and conditions such as hemorrhoids. 

Insoluble fibre can be found primarily in wholegrain products, however can also be found in some vegetables, nuts, seeds and some fruits.

What is resistant starch?

Resistant starch is not digested or not easily digested by your enzymes (even less so than soluble and insoluble fibre). It travels to the large intestine where it feeds the good bowel flora (bacteria in the bowel) and thereby supports the healthy functioning of the bowel.  It is thought to have significant health benefits such as reducing inflammation in the bowel, and therefore may reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer or other inflammatory conditions.  Similarly to soluble fibre, resistant starch helps you to feel fuller for longer and therefore is useful in healthy weight management, and the maintenance of blood glucose levels.

Resistant starch can be found in many high fibre foods already listed, however the content will vary depending on the processing of these foods.  For example, resistant starch is high in slightly green bananas and uncooked rolled oats as well as boiled potatoes, brown rice and legumes that have then cooled.

How to get 30g of fibre in a day

It is recommended that adults consume 30 grams of fibre per day.  To help you incorporate this into your diet, below are some ideas on what to eat to reach this daily target. 

The fibre content of food varies depending on whether the food is eaten raw or cooked, is peeled or unpeeled and the variety chosen (for example in the case of apples you can choose granny smith, golden delicious etc).

Food
Fibre (per 100 grams)
Food
Fibre (per 100 grams)

Brown rice 

1.5

Apples

2.4

Wholemeal pasta

5.3

Bananas

2.7

Oats (raw)

9.5

Blueberries

1.8

Almonds

8.8

Broccoli

3.8

Walnuts

6.4

Jacket potato

2.3

Chickpeas

4.7

Pears

3.4

Lentils

3.7

Brussel sprouts

4.7

Wholemeal bread

6.5

Parsnips

3.9

Untoasted muesli

9.8

Carrots

4.2

An example of a high fibre daily menu:

Breakfast - Untoasted muesli, topped with a chopped banana and blueberries

Snack - Carrot sticks with hummus dip and one apple

Lunch - Cooled brown rice and lentil salad with spinach, avocado, tomato, cucumber, parsley, and red onion

Snack - 1 slice of wholemeal bread topped with a nut butter spread (such as almond or cashew)

Dinner - Steamed salmon with a jacket potato, broccoli and brussel sprouts

Dessert - Stewed pears (without the added sugar) and coconut yoghurt


As you can see, it's not difficult to achieve your recommended fibre quota if you are eating a diet based around fruit and vegetables. It just requires a little bit of thought.


Before you buy that fibre supplement

If you feel that your digestive system is a little sluggish, before you purchase a fibre supplement, take a look at your diet and see whether you can make adjustments such as swapping white bread for wholemeal, white rice for brown and increasing your vegetable intake.  

Remember, if this is new to you, take things slowly (give your bowels time to adjust) and make sure you are drinking plenty of water.

_______________________________________________________________

Do you need help with your digestion? That's what we're here for. You can call the clinic on 03 9620 9503 and you'll be on your way to better health.

________________________________________________________________

In good health,

Lee Copeland
Naturopath
Melbourne CBD

 

 

Comments: 0

Comments

Make a Comment