When we think of including more fibre in our diets, we don’t tend to jump for joy and feel overly excited at the prospect of packing more of it into our day, but it really can be delicious and has huge health benefits.
Bear with us as we explain why it’s SO important and also how you can add more of it into your food WITHOUT making dramatic changes or taking up lots of your time.
So, first of all, why is fibre so important?
Firstly, it’s a totally natural way of reducing our risk of heart attacks, strokes and long-term diseases such as type-2 diabetes. It also supports maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure, whilst helping to keep cholesterol levels down.
Sounds great, but how much do we need? Don’t panic! We’re not about to announce that you should be consuming bowl upon bowl of it. There is now, however, overwhelming evidence that we should be starting to seriously do something about upping how much we consume though.
A big study in partnership between the University of Dundee and the University of Otago has recommended we eat a minimum of 25grams of fibre each day. The researchers say this is a good amount, however, if you increase that to above 30grams each day there are even further benefits for improving health.
It’s thought up to a whopping 90% of people in the UK aren’t getting enough of it. The current average is that women are consuming around 17grams and men 21grams per day.
So, what foods are best for getting that 30grams?
It’s actually in loads of food. It’s abundant in fruit and vegetables which we pack into all of our Lean Lunch meals. It can also be found in healthy breakfast cereals, wholegrain bread and pasta, pulses, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds.
Now we know what foods it’s found in, how much of them do we need to eat? As a guide there’s around 3grams of fibre in a banana, 9grams in a cup of rolled oats, 2grams in a slice of wholegrain bread, 2grams in a skin-on potato, 4grams in a cup of cooked lentils, 3grams in a carrot and 4grams in an apple.
If you’re current diet doesn’t currently include much of the above, eating enough may seem a bit of a challenge.
Here are a few of our top tips for fitting them into your day:
- Switch up breakfast sometimes to a delicious bowl of oats, wholegrain shredded wheat or a slice of wholegrain toast with a banana– our homemade granola includes rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds.
- Grab wholemeal or granary bread off the shelf in the shops – do the same with whole wheat pasta and brown rice too.
- Keep the skin on your potatoes!
- Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas into casseroles, curries and chillies.
- Add a portion of vegetables into your meals or as a side dish to your meals.
- Swap biscuits and crisps as snacks and instead snack on fruit, nuts, seeds, oatcakes or rye crackers.
Fibre helps to makes us feel full and satisfied with our meals.
It’s fairly commonly heard now that wholegrains are good for us and we all know the message about eating our five-a-day for fruit and vegetables, but the word fibre often gets missed in this messaging, meaning people don’t understand its importance.
It’s expected that the World Health Organization will be producing official guidelines for how much fibre people should be eating to boost health next year. Here at Lean Lunch we want to be at the forefront of healthy, nutritious, delicious food. Our meals contain just the right balance of fibre, healthy fats and carbohydrates.
Many of the foods packed full of fibre goodness are cheaply and widely available to get your hands on. Have a go at making a few swaps or additions to boost your fibre intake today, whether that be ordering a Lean Lunch a couple of days a week or stocking your cupboards at home!