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Nutrients - Fibre - Group Talk - Week Commencing 13th March 2023.

After taking a brief look into nutrients last week, I thought we would now develop our knowledge and delve deeper.

What exactly is fibre as we said last week it wasn't one of the Macro Nutrients. Fibre is in fact a Carbohydrate and comes from plants i.e. Wholegrains, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables, unlike other carbohydrates - Sugar, Starch, it is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine. It proceeds undigested into the large bowel where it is completely or partially broken down by the bacterial that naturally lives in there.

There are three types of Fibre;

  • Soluble - absorbs water in the gut

  • Insoluble - Not soluble in water

  • Resistant Starch

*Soluble fibre is found in Oats, Barley, Beans, Peas, Lentils, Apples, Citrus Fruits, Carrots and Nuts - it dissolves in your digestive system to form a gel-like substance, which is digested by friendly bacteria in the large intestine. Soluble fibre softens our stools so they are easier to pass.

*Insoluble fibre doesn't dissolve in the gut and so cannot be digested. This means it adds mass to your stools, and so helps food to pass through your digestive system. Insoluble fibre is found in wholegrains specifically wheat bran, brown rice, cauliflower, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Carrots, Nuts and Seeds.

*Resistant starch is a type of starch that is classed as a fibre because it isn't digested in either your stomach or small intestine, but instead becomes food for your friendly bacteria within your colon, boosting gut health. This is found in cooked then cooled Potatoes, Green Bananas, Cashews Nuts and Raw Oats. Results shows it bulks up stools and speeds up the journey through the colon.

Fibre is known to promote a healthy digestive system keeping our gut healthy, but eating more fibre has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Research shows those that eat more fibre have a lower body weight, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, all promoting a health heart.

It is recommended in the UK adults should eat at least 30g fibre a day, NHS research say most only get 18g's.

To increase our Fibre intake we can address the foods we eat.

If you eat cereal for breakfast is it high fibre;

  • Bran Flakes - 40g serving - 5.4g fibre

  • Wheat Biscuits - 2 Biscuits serving - 3.9g fibre

  • Oats - 30g serving - 2.3g fibre

Could you add fresh or dried fruit, seeds or nuts for extra fibre;

  • Apple - medium size - 2.1g fibre

  • Banana - medium size - 1.4g fibre

  • Strawberries - 80g serving - 3g fibre

  • Dried Raisins - 30g serving - 1.8g fibre

  • Dried Apricot - 30g serving - 6.5g fibre

  • Prunes - 30g serving - 1.7g fibre

  • Almonds - 30g serving - 4.8g fibre

  • Walnuts - 30g serving - 1.8g fibre

  • Sunflower seeds - 25g serving - 1.8g fibre

  • Chia seeds - 1tbsp serving - 3.9g fibre

  • Linseeds - 1tbsp serving - 2.6g fibre

or if you go to is toast swap to wholemeal or wholegrain bread;

  • Wholemeal bread - 2 slices serving - 5.2g fibre

Enjoy the skins left on your potatoes, baked, wedges, boiled new;

  • Baked potatoes with skin - medium size - 4.3g fibre

Within your meals swap meats for plant protein, beans, lentils, soy food, nuts and seeds;

  • Baked beans - 200g serving - 9.8g fibre

  • Kidney beans - 100g cooked serving - 8.5g fibre

Add pulses and barley to your homemade soup;

  • Red lentils - 100g cooked serving - 4.1g fibre

  • Barley - 25g raw serving - 3.1g fibre

Swap to Wholegrain/Wholewheat, pasta, quinoa or brown rice as an a compliment;

  • Wholewheat pasta - 75g raw serving - 8.8g fibre

  • Brown rice - 75g raw serving - 3.8g fibre

  • Quinoa - 30g raw serving - 2.1g fibre

Always adding vegetables to your meals;

  • Peas - 80g cooked serving - 4.4g fibre

  • Broccoli - 80g steamed serving - 2.2g fibre

  • Carrots - 80g boiled serving - 2.2g fibre

  • Brussels - 100g raw serving - 3.7g fibre

  • Kale - 100g raw serving - 3.6g fibre

  • Spinach - 100g raw serving - 2.2g fibre

  • Beetroot - 100g raw serving - 2.8g fibre

Snacks - Houmous, Dark Chocolate, Nuts and seeds;

  • Unsalted Peanuts - 30g serving - 2.2g fibre

  • Peanut Butter - 1tbsp serving - 1.4g fibre

  • Chickpeas - 100g cooked serving - 4.8g fibre

  • Dark Chocolate (70-85% Cocoa) - 100g serving - 10.9g fibre

Getting fibre into our diets is important including getting the variety. If you need to increase your fibre intake, it is a good idea to do it gradually to avoid gut issues for example bloating and wind. For gut health it is important to drink plenty of fluids and be physically active where possible.


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