It's all about balance, that’s what health is in every aspect. If you was to think about what it is that you eat on a daily basis, would you say that it fulfils the needs of your body? Here is another question (a question many of us fail to ask ourselves in true detail).
‘Do you really know what your body needs?’
I have written this blog for multiple reasons, but one of the main ones is the importance that fibre plays in our diets. There are constant debates and opinions by health professionals on what the body needs and with the rise of the fitness industry, protein has taken pole position. People are literally trying to put protein in everything (the other day on instagram I saw protein cereal).
In this article I am not denying the importance of protein nor am I saying that it is more important than fibre. The biggest point I want to put across is, in order to have a healthy diet we must have a balanced one. If we focus too much on one area, we will end up over consuming and or neglecting other important components.
One of the biggest problems of the modern diet is that it lacks fibre massively. This is due simply to the options heavily available to us or more so our choices. With meals heavily centred around meat (which contain very little fibre), dairy products (which contains near none) and white wheat (such as breads and pasta) it is not a surprise that our fibre intake is so low. The average person in the UK actually only consume between 17-20 grams of fibre a day when we should be consuming 30-50 grams.
What is fibre and why is it important ?
Before I begin on the science of fibre (another fantastic science lesson by yours truly) I am first going to explain what fibre is. Fibre is a non digestible carbohydrate (a complex sugar) and a pivotal component to our diet. Even though it remains unchanged as it passes through our digestive system its presence is necessary to the absorption of nutrients and excretion of food. Without fibre our bodies struggles to control our cholesterol, sugar levels and thus lead to energy spikes, increase appetite, constipation and other diverticular disease (digestive problems).
Types of Fibre (Guys it gets deep fibre don’t play)
Fibre is found in two major forms; Soluble and Insoluble. Both play a major role to the functionality of our bodies. Soluble fibre is responsible for the slowing down of digestion and Insoluble fibre is responsible for adding bulk to your stool.
The reason it is called soluble fibre is because it dissolves in water (pretty straight forward). Soluble fibre plays three major roles: (1) slowing down the absorption of sugar into our bloodstream thus controlling energy spikes during the day; (2) making us feel fuller for longer helping control our appetite; and (3) binding to fatty acids to help control our cholesterol. Soluble fibre can be found in all types of fruit and vegetables even nuts and seeds.
Insoluble fibre plays a much simpler, but equally as important role. Just as the name suggests, insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and its role is to add bulk to your stool making it easier for it to finally pass through our system. Insoluble fibre can be found in things such as beans and legumes.
Listed below are foods with the highest content of fibre.
Per 100g servings Super foods
Chia Seeds 34 g
Flax seed 27g
Speaking from experience, to acknowledge that your diet is detrimental to your health is hard to accept and what's even harder is to take the steps necessary to change it. I am a firm believer that real and permanent change happens one inch at a time. So take time to look at your food and see what it truly needs and make those little changes that you know will lead to a healthier future.