Admittedly fibre is not the most exciting topic but it is an important one and something I find myself constantly talking to patients about as a vital part of their overall health. Here are some things you should know about fibre.
Low fibre intake has been associated with numerous health conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease and cancer. It is also implicated in hormonal imbalance (heavy and painful periods), high cholesterol and diabetes. And yet in Australia, our standard diet is verylow in fibre.
Breakfast: Toast with margarine and vegemite
Lunch: Chicken and salad sandwich
Dinner: Sausages, mashed potato, steamed beans and carrots, tomato sauce
Snacks: Salt and vinegar chips
Drinks: 1 coffee, 1 tea, 1 diet coke, 1L water
This diet contains just 19g of fibre and is high in saturated fat. It is also devoid of many nutrients including essential fatty acids, zinc and choline, to name a few.
So, what does a day on a high fibre diet look like?
Breakfast: Denise’s Famous Winter Oats (see recipe below)
Lunch: Kale and red pepper frittata with a garden salad
Dinner: Baked salmon, broccoli and quinoa
Snacks: Pear, kiwi fruit, 10 almonds
Drinks: 2 herbal teas, 2L water
This diet contains 35g of fibre and has a much higher nutritional value compared to the first example. It is satisfying, delicious and amazingly good for you!
Bonus: The frittata and baked salmon recipes are available as part of a meal plan for patients.
Best sources of fibre
Some favourites include oats, chia seeds, flaxseed/flax meal (especially for women’s hormonal issues), pears, kiwi fruit, apples, potato (cook it, let it go cold then either eat cold or reheat), sweet potato, asparagus, onion, garlic, beans/legumes, banana flour/starch and coconut flour.
If you eat a diet that is high in plant foods including ‘rainbow’ vegetables and legumes, nuts and seeds, your fibre intake will be spot on.
How much do I need?
According to health guidelines, the recommended dietary intake for adults is 25–30g per day. However, the reality is that often we need more than that, especially if you have health issues. I recommend a minimumof 30g per day.
What else do I need to know?
If you have eaten a diet that is low in fibre for a long time, you need to increase your intake slowly. You also need to make sure you are drinking extra water – aim for 2 litres per day. Not following these important steps could expose you to gut issues such as constipation.
If you experience any digestive problems (e.g. bloating, pain, flatulence) with the consumption of some foods then you should see a naturopath to determine the underlying cause. For example, you may have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), where your gut bacteria react to the sugar component in some fibre-rich foods.
For assistance incorporating more fibre into your diet, we can provide meal plans to ensure you are covering all the bases in terms of nutrition—and they are full of delicious options. (And yes, we have trialled them because if we’re not going to eat them, we can hardly ask you to!)
If you are ready to take the next step in getting your health in order, make a booking today. We’d love to help you.
Now for the recipe we promised you earlier…
Denise’s Famous Winter Oats
This is a drier style of porridge which we find makes it tastier. It can be made in under five minutes—great for when you are pressed for time.
4 Granny Smith apples (cored and roughly chopped)
½ tsp Ceylon cinnamon
1 clove (remove after cooking)
Splash of water
Stewed apples (pre-made)
5-6 dessert spoons organic rolled oats
1 heaped dessert spoon organic shredded coconut
Boiling water (to cover oats)
Handful of crushed walnuts
Combine apples, cinnamon, clove and water in pan over medium heat, cover and cook. Pro tip: Pre-make stewed apples and have ready to go in the fridge (lasts approx. five days).
Add oats and coconut to a small saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Cook, stirring every minute or so until the water has reduced.
Add a few good spoonfuls of stewed apples plus the walnuts, stir.
When warmed through and water has virtually evaporated, you are good to go.
Try stewed pears with fresh ginger—delicious.
Add fresh or frozen blueberries at the end for some extra antioxidants.
Add some ground linseed for extra fibre.
Written by Denise Berry,
To book an appointment with Denise, click here.