Juleyka is a nutritionist from Manchester; she is passionate about food sustainability in relation to health and nutrition. She has partnered with dissertations for good contributing to research around the U.N Sustainable Development Goals and food sustainability practices, volunteered for Dimension's charity; creating meal plans for people with complex needs. More recently, she has also joined with YouGen as a content writer on the link between sustainability and health.
So now that we have covered why and how fibre affects the body, let’s explore how we can ensure that we are getting enough every day.
What does fibre in a meal look like?
The daily recommended amount for fibre according to the BDA is around 30 g per day. However - protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats are equally as important for avoiding fatigue too. Ideally, if each meal has a balance of these macronutrients, it will ensure you have your main building blocks for good health are covered. See here plant point cheat sheet on how you can meet your fibre RDA’s.
1. Start your day with a Fibrous Breakfast
- Starting your day with a moderate amount of fibre can be a beneficial starting point. Perhaps try switching to an alterative such as a granola-based breakfast (topped with nuts and seeds) which can easily provide you with around 6g of fibre. Top that up with a banana and that will increase it up to around 6g.
- Consuming steal cut oats instead of refining oats can also aid with this, this is because refined oats have a higher glycaemic index which in simple terms means that it releases glucose into your bloodstream at a faster rate, compared to steal cut oats. A high protein breakfast will also benefit in addition to fibre as this will support satiety.
2. Add more vegetables and legumes to your cooking
- Vegetables are naturally high in fibre and can easily be added to any dish, whether it’s veg lasagne, a pasta dish, omelette, soup or stir fry. It is a good way of mixing it with carbs as you will get the satisfaction from the carbs and fullness from the fibre.
- For example, why not try spaghetti bolognese but instead of using meat, swap for a lentil base as the bolognese. Simply making this switch will mean 32% of your days’ worth of fibre has been met as just ½ cup of whole green lentils equates to around 9g of fibre.
3. Add Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds to your smoothies and cereals
- The addition of Flaxseeds and chia seeds are small brown seeds that can add a touch of nuttiness to your oatmeal, salad dressings, smoothies, yogurt, and granola.
- Not only are they rich in fibre but high in omega-3 fatty acids too. These are essential for brain health and heart health right down to even cellular health
- Chia seeds for example, have a higher proportion of α-linolenic acid making chia a great source of omega-3 fatty (about 65 % of the oil content). One serving of chia seeds provides about 9g of fibre.
- Additionally, these seeds can keep your total blood cholesterol levels down which in turn reduces the likelihood of NCDs such as high cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Omega-3 fatty acid has been associated with many benefits for the body. For example, the seed is a potential source of antioxidants with the presence of chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol which are believed to have cardiac, hepatic protective effects, anti-ageing effects to name a few.
4. Switch it up a little- substitute simple carbs with more wholegrain sources
- Carbs have their own benefits but in terms of adding fibre, they are not really contributing much. Alternatively, why not try a few swaps? Instead, am of plain white rice why not opt for alternative grains such as bulgur, barley or even freekeh. Just ¼ cup of freekeh gives you around 5g of fibre.
- These are all high in fibre which not only contributes to the feeling of fullness but also contributes to the nourishment of gut bacteria as well as adding extra vitamins and minerals to your body.
Other lifestyle factors:
1. Ensure you are keeping hydrated
2. Address daily stressors and make time for relaxation and energy boosting activities
3. Look into supplementation with the advice of your GP, checking iron and b12 levels can be a good start, or alternative supplements such as Coq10 or a B complex.
4. Cut down on caffeine consumption and look at improving sleeping habits.
- The Role of Fibre in Energy Balance - PMC (nih.gov)
- Koh AS, Pan A, Wang R, Odegaard AO, Pereira MA, Yuan JM, Koh WP. The association between dietary omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular death: the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 Mar;22(3):364-72.
- Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review - PMC (nih.gov)
- (PDF) Breakfast cereal, fibre, digestive problems and well-being (researchgate.net)
- Consumption of Dietary Fiber in Relation to Psychological Disorders in Adults - PMC (nih.gov)
- Oat-Based Foods: Chemical Constituents, Glycemic Index, and the Effect of Processing - PMC (nih.gov)
- Oat β-glucan increased ATPases activity and energy charge in small intestine of rats - PubMed (nih.gov)