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  • Joanna Injore

How to up your fibre?

So, fibre, why do we need it?

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that is not completely broken down in the body.

Including fibre in your diet can have lots of benefits to your health:

  • Improves your gut microbiota

  • Prevents constipation

  • Associated with reduced gut inflammation

We need 30g of fibre everyday- so how to you get to that amount?

Fruits and vegetables

Having 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is a great way of adding some fibre to your diet. Try to choose a variety of different types of fruits and vegetables over the week- look for different colours which will provide a range of vitamins #eattherainbow

Remember a portion is:

  • 150mls of fruit, vegetable juice or smoothies but this only counts as one as even if you drink more than 1 glass

  • 1 large fruit (apple, banana or pear)

  • 1⁄2 avocado or grapefruit

  • 2 smaller fruits (satsumas or plums)

  • Handful grapes

  • 2 handful blueberries or raspberries

  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried fruit (cranberries or sultanas etc)

  • 3 heaped tablespoon fruit salad (fresh/tinned in natural juice)

Try to include whole fruits & vegetables (rather than juices/smoothies) and keep skin on as this will contain more fibre and does have the advantage of making meal prep quicker!

Whole-grain cereals

Wholegrain carbohydrates like whole-grain bread, oats, brown rice and brown pasta will contain more fibre and help you feel fuller for longer.

Try mixing whole-grain cereals like rice and flour with your normal white flour as you are slowly getting use to adding more fibre to your diet.

Beans, pulses and legumes

Beans and pulses are a good of fibre. There are lots of beans you could try like kidney, haricot beans, borlotti beans, chick peas or soya beans. You could try adding half beans/pulses to your normal meat dishes to boast your fibre intake. Pulses like lentils of yellow spilt peas can be added to soups or daals. You can also use chickpea flour which is also known as ‘gram flour’ in pancakes, flat bread tortillas and pakoras.

Beans and pulses also have the added benefit of being high in protein so is a good swap for meat/fish/chicken too.

Nuts and seeds

Most nuts and seeds are a good source of fibre too. You could use nut butters, snack on a few almonds or sunflower seeds or add flax seeds to your cereals and yoghurt.

Fibre for cancer prevention

WCRF (World Cancer Research Fund) recommends a diet rich in wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and pulses (legumes) helps to prevent against some cancers and weight gain. So after cancer treatment (if you are able to) it is a good idea to aim for 30g of fibre in your diet. If you have been advised to reduce the fibre in your diet due to bowel cancer surgery or treatment this advice will need to be adapted. So seek advice from your medical team.

Other top tips

Start with adding an extra portion of fruit or vegetables at each meal and aim to build up slowly.

Base your meals around plants: aim for half your plate to be vegetables or pulses.

Include wholegrain versions where you can e.g brown rice, bread or pasta

Snack on nuts or seeds or add to your cereals or with yoghurt

Add some pulses, beans or lentils to your meals- maybe just start with adding a handful to your usual meals

Try making one change at a time to allow your gut to get use to the extra fibre. Make sure you drink extra fluids too as fibre draws in fluid into the bowel and this will help to keep your bowels regularly

If you have been advised to reduce your fibre intake by your medical team or struggling with your appetite get some advice from your team and send me a message for personalised advice

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