Tag Archives: diabetes and fibre

The Fibre Balance

(This post was written for Slimsticks and can also be seen over at their website.)

Fibre. It’s not sexy. It’s not glamorous. But it is essential if you want to have a healthy and effective digestive system. Digestive problems such as IBS are now common in the UK population. The most frequent symptoms being abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating, wind and constipation. Your first step should of course be to discuss these type of symptoms with your GP, however for many people some simple changed to your diet will make a big difference. For some people eating more fibre will be the key and for others it will be eating less fibre.

 I like to think about this as altering the “Fibre Balance”.  There is a balance between fibre and fluid that really does work.  Increasing the fibre content of your diet may increase bloating and flatulence initially but these symptom pass within 2 weeks leaving you with a better working digestive system, more “fecal bulk” as the system is flushed through and a happier gut. Make sure you spread your fibre intake out over the day and increase your fluid intake alongside it.

 

 Soluble Fibre:

Found in some fruit, vegetables oats and legumes. Try dried apricots and figs, oranges, nectarines, mango, pears, broccoli, carrots and potatoes as well as oats, rye, flaxseed, lentils, all beans and pear barley.

These foods can help control your blood sugar levels, it stops them rising too high too fast and so keeps your energy levels and hunger steady plus reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Soluble fibre may also play a role in reducing LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. 

 

Insoluble Fibre:

Found in wholegrains, the skin of fruit and vegetables and wheat bran.

This is the fibre that keeps you regular but may also reduce the risk of colon cancer. 

 

How to Eat More Fibre:

  • Aim for 25-28 g per day, this is 6 servings.
  • Look for high fibre, wholegrain or bran on food labels.
  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables per day, the peel and the whole fruit contain the most fibre rather than the juice.
  • Use half white, half wholemeal flour in baking.
  • Add beans, pulses, lentils and barley to soups, stews, casseroles and curries.
  • Try roasted edamame beans and chickpeas as a snack, you can make these yourself.
  • Add seeds to salad, on top of breakfast cereal, in homemade cereal bars/flapjacks and in stir fries.
  • Have a handful of nuts as a snack.
  • Try lentil, bean or hummous as dips/spreads.
  • Make oaty bars for snacks with added dried fruit and seeds.

Fibre for filling you, sweeping you and protecting you.

It’s not the most talked about of topics, but fibre quietly plays a very important role in our bodies. Also known as roughage or bulk, fibre is made up of the hard to digest parts of plant foods.

There are 2 main types of fibre: 

1. Insoluble Fibre is found in wheat bran, wholegrain foods and vegetables. This keeps your bowels regular. your digestive system healthy and may help protect against colon cancer. The fibrous foods act like a brush, sweeping out the intestines.
2. Soluble fibre can help decrease blood cholesterol levels and can aid blood glucose control. A natural aid to helping protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It is found in oats, barley, oranges, beans and pulses.

How To Eat More:

We should aim to eat 6 servings of whole-grains a day. That’s 25g/day for women and 38/day for men aged 19-50 years. An easier way to think about it is to eat whole-grains at every meal and snack on fruit where possible.

• Use wholemeal bread / rolls / pitta / bagels
• Add wholemeal flour when baking instead of white flour
• Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
• Add beans and pulses (kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, butter beans etc) to meals, for example: soups, salads, casseroles and curries.
• Try beans on wholemeal toast for lunch
• Add seeds to salads or sprinkle them on your cereal
• Snack on nuts/seeds/unsalted popcorn and fruit

Dietitian UK: Choose wholemeal, brown breads with seeds for extra fibre
Dietitian UK: Choose wholemeal, brown breads with seeds for extra fibre

Top Tips:

• Increase the fibre in your diet slowly to prevent gas and bloating, add one new portion of higher fibre food at a time.
• Spread your fibre intake evenly over the day – some with each meal.
• Increase your fluid intake alongside your fibre (6-8 glasses a day).

 

High Fibre Recipe Ideas:

Lentil Bolognaise

Bean Burgers

Oaty Bars

I’d love to hear your high fibre recipes too.
This post was originally written for Slimsticks.