Fibre February – eat more!

This month, @AfNutr will be talking all things fibre. We are not the only ones focusing on fibre this month. The Flour Advisory Bureau are running #fibrefebruary to encourage people to eat more fibre and provide information on fibre containing foods.

Fibre has a reputation, it stops constipation and can give you wind. Lots of fibre rich foods are seen as not very appealing and eaten with a sense of worthiness rather than enjoyment. Let us dispel some myths!

Fibre does way more than just keep those bowels working like clockwork. Yes, it certainly helps and this keeps our gut healthy. To think this is the only thing that fibre does is wrong. There is so much more to fibre. Fibre has effects on satiety, on glucose regulation, immune function and cardiovascular function to name a few. Some of these effects are from the metabolism of fibre by the diverse range of microbes living in our gut.

People also consider fibre to be homogeneous stuff, that it doesn’t matter where it comes from it is all pretty much the same. Oh how wrong that is!! There are so many different compounds that come under the term fibre. All these different fibre components affect different microbes living in the colon, feed them and help to maintain diversity of this important internal zoo living inside us. These different components contribute to the positive effects that fibre has on the body, no one type of fibre can give all these benefits alone. Variety is key.

We need to eat a wide range of fibre containing foods to get the full benefits from fibre. This is why more and more experts are suggesting that we should aim to eat at least 30 different plant based foods each week. Eat different grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The more diverse the mixture of plant foods, the more diverse the types of fibre and the more diverse a population of microbes we can support in our gut.

There are lots of simple little things that we can do to increase fibre in our diet. Everyday favourite meals can have one or two small changes made to the recipe and can add a gram or two of fibre to the meal. I highlighted this with my Mac & Cheese post. I did a similar thing with spaghetti bolognese.

These are approximate values from changes to a standard recipe with medium size portions to give a sense of small changes to the recipe.

Small changes can add up to take us closer to the suggested minimum fibre we should be getting every day. It doesn’t have to be vastly different meals or unusual ingredients, just small changes that taste good.

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