These are a few of my favourite things..

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I could not be more predictable in saying that I  (and most Nutritionists!) love talking about fibre. But did you know fibre doesn’t get nearly enough attention for all that it does. Captain obvious says it helps us with regularity but along the way it has some other pretty important jobs too.

Did you know that fibre...

  • Binds to and eliminates toxins
  • Binds to and eliminates excess hormones 
  • Plays a role in blood sugar regulation
  • Reduces blood cholesterol levels 
  • Plays a role in weight management
  • Promotes regular and healthy bowel movements
  • Lowers the risk of developing chronic diseases

As you can see, fibre does a lot! It's estimated the average person gets only about half of what they should (25-50gr depending on age, sex, size). Why is that concerning? A high fibre diet can prevent constipation and haemorrhoids, but it also lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and colon cancer.

Did you know fibre is only found in plants? Another reason why increasing our veggies, fruit, and whole grains is so important. However, there’s a little more to fibre than just eating more vegetables. Let’s break it down: 

Insoluble fibre;

  • Retains its shape through passage of the body and helps speed up bowel movements, which prevents constipation
  • Bulks stool which makes it easier to pass

Soluble fibre;

  • Dissolves completely in water to become a gel-like substance, which softens stool
  • Attracts water (hint hint - we must up our water intake when upping our fibre)
  • Slows digestion - which lowers blood sugar

We need both soluble and insoluble fibre - and as nature makes things more perfect than we ever could - most plant-based foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.


 

Some foods include...

 

Fruits and Vegetables
Green peas; 9g per cup
Apple with skin; 4-5g

Whole Grains
Spelt flour; 19g per 1 cup
(compared to white flour; 3.5g per cup)
Oat meal; 4g per 1 cup
 

Beans and Legumes
Lentils; 16g of fibre per cup
Black beans; 15g per cup


Ok. Now you know what fibre is. The two types. Some healthy sources. And you're even familiar with a handful of foods high in fibre. Now?

Here are my TOP FIVE TIPS for upping your fibre intake (it varies depending on a few factors but remember it should be somewhere between 25-50g);

1. Keep the skin on all your fruits and veggies;

  • Not only does the skin contain up to half the dietary fibre, it also contains many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

2. Avoid white starches (most of the time);

  • “White” usually implies that it has been processed, meaning most of the fibre and nutrients have been stripped - opt for brown rice and other whole grains and alternative flours (like buckwheat!).

3. Start your meals with veggies or a salad;

  • Fill up on veggies first to ensure you get your fibre in!

4. Tailor your snacks around fibre;

  • If you know you like to snack throughout the day, pick high fibre snacks like granola or fruits and veggies! (see my recipe below!)

5. Water, water, water!

  • I mentioned this earlier, but I’ll say it again - if you are going to up your fibre, you have to up your water! Upping fibre without increasing water can actually promote constipation (instead of relieving it). Soluble fibre draws water in, and if there isn’t enough water in the body, stool can become hard, and painful to pass. Drink 3-4L of water per day (even if you don’t increase your fibre) and your poops will improve. Good-bye bloat!
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10 Minute Secret Weapon Granola

Directions:

1. Turn oven to 375F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. 
3.In a very large bowl, combine all ingredients together.
4. With clean hands, mix and coat.
5. Scoop mixture onto tray. Pat flat with hands.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Stir once or twice to prevent burning.

note: store in an air tight container (a mason jar is a great option!) to optimize freshness!

Ingredients:

3 cups gluten free rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup dried apricots or craisins (unsweetened)
1/4 cup coconut flakes (thin or thick)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup


Big thanks to Caitie Chevrier for her contributions to this post! XO

References;
1. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing_fiber_intake/

Erin LevineComment