Fibre – Up close and personal
With words of fibre wisdom from our friend, nutritionist and plant based recipe extraordinaire Nadia - @nadiashealthykitchen
‘Eat more fibre!’ Yes, we have all heard that before, from parents, grandparents, doctors, nutritionists, but still for some reason it remains the macro nutrient that nobody wants to talk about, or let’s face it knows much about. While our dear friends’ carbs and protein hog the spotlight, it really is fibre that runs the show. From regulating your digestive system, to keeping you full - eating the recommended 20 to 30 grams a day can add tons of healthy benefits to your daily life.
NADIA: “I’ve always had issues with my digestive system, so I aim to get at least the recommended daily intake - 30g of fibre. Sometimes that can be difficult, especially when I’m having a busy day and need to throw together something quick. Since being introduced to ZENB Pasta Agile, speedy healthier meals have been so much easier and more attainable.”
Odds are we all need this refresher on fibre, find out more on the foods that contain it, and how to add into your daily meals (spoiler… that’s where we come in!).
WHAT IS FIBre?
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate, essentially the structural part of plant foods (e.g., fruits, veggies, grains) that your body cannot digest or break down. Unlike fats, proteins, or most carbohydrates that are broken down and absorbed by your body, fibre passes through the stomach, small intestine, and colon as waste. Fibre will help to slow down the digestion and absorption of food, so you get steady energy that lasts... yes please!
If it’s not digested, why is fibre so important?
For a macro nutrient that isn’t even absorbed into our bodies, fibre is ultra-important to our well-being. Fibre breaks up into two different types that fulfil two important jobs:
The first type is soluble fibre. This type slows digestion and helps regulate sugar levels while digesting. It is found in foods such as oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples, and blueberries.
The second is insoluble fibre. This type speeds along food passing through the intestines. It is found in foods such as wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes (like yellow peas!), carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
NADIA: “Fibre is essential for digestive health, which in turn is connected to other things like a healthy immune system and even mental health! Fibre also helps regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.”
how do i incorporate more fibre into my meals?
The easiest way to get more fibre into your day is to eat whole fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds and (fun fact) popcorn! Fibre generally exists in things that are hard to digest — like veggie peels, whole grains, and legumes.
At ZENB, our 100% yellow pea pasta range has a huge 11g of fibre per serving, this is because we use the whole pea, including the skin.
NADIA: “For me, the focus is always vegetables. I always have a generous portion of vegetables on the side of my lunches and dinner. I roast a big tray of mixed vegetables on the weekend to enjoy with my meals throughout the week. Simple substitutions like using brown rice or brown bread are easy ways to add fibre – small changes add up!
Swapping to ZENB Pasta Agile is another really easy switch to make and one the whole family has really enjoyed. Blending vegetables in sauces is a great way to add fibre for picky eaters. Porridge and smoothies are also great options to get fibre in, first thing in the morning.”
how do i know if im eating enough fibre?
One key indicator to see if you’re getting enough fibre is if you stay fuller for longer. Since fibre cannot be digested and slows down the digestive system, it keeps you feeling full. Need fibre recipe inspiration, check out our ‘high in fibre’ recipes from the ZENB database.
NADIA: “Generally speaking, if you have a regular, healthy bowel movement (check out the Bristol stool chart for reference), you probably eat enough fibre. There are many food/nutrition tools and apps that help you work out whether you’re taking in enough fibre.”
Since I’m not absorbing it, but it keeps me full, where does fibre go?
As Nadia mentions above, yes, fibre helps you “go” more efficiently. It speeds and bulks all the waste in your body to help it function properly, keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.
NADIA: “Fibre passes through the body with the stool. It helps lubricate and bulks up the stool for smooth transit out of the body.”
our top 5 zenb fibre facts
- Don’t skip breakfast - Go for a high fibre porridge with some fruit. Quick and yummy.
- Drink water! Fibre works by soaking up liquid in your bowel and making everything soft and easy for you to pass. However, you need to add water for this to work. Aim to have 6-8 glasses of water per day.
- Keep the skin on your potatoes – Like our ZENB products, the skin is the best bit and ultimately where most of the fibre is.
- Eat fibre and reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes - Higher fibre foods moderate the rise in blood sugar after eating, meaning the body doesn’t have to produce as much insulin.
- Eat not one but two apples a day – we all know the saying, but did you know that two apples contain 8.5 grams of fibre!
In conclusion, we hope this helps you become a bit of the professor next time the importance of fibre comes up in conversation. It really is the superhero nutrient we need to be mindful of daily and with so many great fruits, veggies, and plant-fuelled products out there, there’s absolutely nothing standing in the way of putting more fibre into your day.
NADIA: “There are many amazing information sources online like on the NHS website, Healthline.com.”
Don’t forget to follow us @zenb_UK on Instagram and @ZENBFOODSUK on facebook to stay in the know on the latest tips, tricks, and fun facts you need to live a more plant-fuelled, balanced life.