Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is not broken down or absorbed by your digestive tract. Following a high-fibre diet can aid in weight loss and weight management. Fibrous foods take longer for you to chew, allowing your body to register that it is full. High-fibre foods also keep you satisfied for longer. Eating more fibre-rich foods means you'll be less likely to overeat during a meal and have less of a desire to snack throughout the day.
Types of Fibre
Both soluble and insoluble fibre are equally important parts of your diet. Soluble fibre attracts water and forms a gel-like substance in your small intestines. It slows digestion, which keeps you full and allows your body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals. Insoluble fibre acts like a broom, sweeping through your digestive tract, pushing out the food you eat and increasing faecal bulk. While fibre-rich foods usually contain both types of fibre, some foods have a higher amount of one fibre over the other.
Recommended Fibre Intake
You need to consume around 14g of fibre for every 1,000 calories you eat. If you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, you need around 28g of fibre each day. A high-fibre diet would include more fibre than this.
Fibre in Foods
Wholemeal flour, nuts and vegetables are higher in insoluble fibre, while oats, peas, beans, fruits and barley are good sources of soluble fibre. A 125g serving of raspberries provides 8g of fibre, a medium apple has 5.5g and a medium-sized orange or banana each contain a little over 3g. Artichokes are full of fibre; a medium artichoke provides more than 10g of fibre. Peas contain nearly 9g per 135g, broccoli provides 5g and corn has 4.2g in a 125g serving. Legumes are also high in fibre. Each 150g serving of lentils provides 15.6g of fibre, turtle beans have 15g and butter beans contain 13.2g.
While increasing your fibre intake is beneficial for your overall health, eating too much, too quickly can have adverse effects. Rapidly increasing your fibre intake can cause gas, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation. In addition, high-fibre diets can cause food to pass through your bowels too quickly. Your body won't have enough time to absorb the nutrients it needs, which can cause a nutrient deficiency. If you want to add more fibre to your diet, increase your consumption by a few grams per day. As long as you can tolerate the increase, continue to add more until you are getting a desirable amount of fibre.