Find your Fibre Balance!
(Disclaimer: this article contains discussion regarding poops & farts)
So, before we talk poop, what is fibre, you ask? Fibre is a complex carbohydrate (type of sugar). Unlike other carbohydrates, which are broken down by the body to provide fuel in the form of glucose, fibre cannot be digested by the human body.
Fibre is present in lots of unprocessed carbohydrate foods, and comes in two different forms – soluble and insoluble. Both help our body in different ways, so it is important to get a combination of both!
Soluble Fibre – found in oats, barley, nuts, dried beans, flax, veg (such as tomatoes and carrots) and fruit (such as bananas and apples) – helps reduce cholesterol levels and helps constipation by softening stools.
Insoluble Fibre – found in dark green leafy veg, fruit & root veg skin, whole-grain products, seeds and nuts – is not broken down and adds bulk to stools, which helps move our food through our digestive system, helping us poop and keep our bowels nice and healthy!
Why is it important we get enough fibre? – Well, fibre keeps us fuller for longer which aids fat loss, it lowers fat & cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It also gives us a healthier gut, improves digestive health and of course –it helps us poop! And let’s face it – there is nothing worse than being sluggish & constipated!! (And there is nothing better than a nice healthy poop routine!!)
BUT, BE WARNED – too much too soon, and we can run into digestive problems, such as wind, bloating and cramps!! So it is important that we introduce fibre slowly, and find the balance!
So, therein lies the question - how much should we have?
Females – aim for about 35g per day! Men – around 48g!
To try get more fibre in your diet, try:
- Adding more veg to meals
- Leaving the skins on your fruit & veg
- Adding pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads.
- Switching to wholemeal or granary breads, and choosing whole grains like whole wheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice.
- When snacking, try fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes and unsalted nuts or seeds.
Happy Pooping Folks!