Sunday, 18 August 2013

5 Ways to Get More Fibre In Your Diet

Image Source: Microsoft Clipart
We all know that we need more fibre in our diets to help our digestion, reduce our cholesterol, prevent diabetes and some cancers, not to mention it fills us up for longer (resulting in less cravings for office biscuits!) For all of these health benefits, you need to be eating around 25-30g a day!

Chances are, if you're at the beginning of changing your lifestyle you've wondered where you'll get your extra fibre from. Well here's just 5 options that I've found simple enough to introduce into every day life without resorting to cardboard for breakfast.  
1)  Eat more (whole)fruit and veg
Image Source: Microsoft Clipart
Eat whole fruits, rather than in juice form or smoothies. Don't get me wrong, juices and smoothies are a great way to get the vitamins in, but consuming them in this form significantly reduces the fibre content - and removes it completely if you like them smooth!. Whole apples eaten with the peel have 3g of fibre! Other great fruits include bananas, avocados, all kinds of berries, oranges and dried fruits. 

Aim to include veg with every meal, particularly dark green leafy types such as spinach for added iron, but also veggies like sweet potato, peas, mushrooms and peppers.
Image source: Microsoft Clipart



2) Eat more nuts
Nuts are very rich in fibre - with almonds scoring highest, containing 12g per serving.   Pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts are also tasty ways to get the fibre in. Try adding nuts to your breakfast, crush them and sprinkle them on desserts or simply leave a packet in your desk draw at work to munch on.

3) Pick wholegrains over white versions
Image Source: Microsoft Clipart

Swap your pasta, bread and rice over to it's brown counterparts. This is easily done for bread, and most types of pasta, but for some you will have to dig for. Find somewhere you can get them from and stock up! You'll find you won't need to eat as much rice/pasta with dishes if you use the wholegrain, brown versions as the fibre will fill you up so much more. This of course also leads to a reduction in calories for the meal! In terms of breakfast cereals, look for ones with the least number of sciency-sounding ingredients listed on the label. Good ones to get will likely be your traditional oat meal, muesli, porridge and granola.    



4) Add a fibre supplement like BetaBalance to your meals, smoothie, juice or protein shake
BetaBalance make sachets of oat fibre with 4g of fibre in the packet. I like to stir a sachet into my milk chocolate flavoured protein shake, the resulting taste kind of reminds me of chocolate Hob Nob biscuits! This particular supplement also contains Beta Glucan which is a specific type of soluble fibre, richly found in oats, that binds cholesterol, preventing it from being absorbed into the body. You can buy a box of 15 sachets from the BetaBalance website.

5)Snack on Quest bars
These are actually protein bars designed to be an after-workout snack. But after a friend of mine from across the Atlantic pointed me in the direction of these bars I've ditched all other protein bars on the grounds of these bars being free of the usual rubbish that makes protein bars no better than candy bars - in addition to containing - and here's the impressive part -  17g of fibre in a bar, making them a staple in my daily diet. The fibre in these bars are sourced primarily from almonds.

You can buy the bars in boxes of 12 or individually to try from Amazon.co.uk (see below) or PowerBody.co.uk (who sell them a little cheaper than amazon but do tend to run low on supplies every so often)



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