FIBRE; such an important component of our diet yet it is rarely spoken about. But why is it so important and how is it so beneficial for health?
If you're new to veganism and/or trying out veganism for a month you may have noticed a marked increase in the gas you pass. Don't worry! It's just the bacteria in your gut working it's magic.
What is fibre?
The edible parts of a plant resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestine, which is then either completely or partially broken down in the large intestine.
Why is it important for health?
Fibre feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut, helping them to produce short chain fatty acids which are beneficial for gut and heart health.
Know your high fibre foods! If you're choosing plant-based wholefoods then your diet will likely contain plenty of fibre. Even processed plant foods such a vegan chicken nuggets and soya mince contain more fibre than the animal equivalents.
Plant foods high in fibre:
1/2 cup of chickpeas = 9g
1/2 cup of lentils = 8g
1/2 tin of baked beans = 8g
wholewheat pasta = 7g
50g porridge oats = 5g
baked potato = 5g
30g whole almonds = 4g
1 medium banana = 3g
The average Brit eats less than 18g of fibre a day, yet SACN (the government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) recommend each of us consume at least 30g a day.
One very easy way to achieve this is by switching the animal proteins on your plate for plant proteins.
You can also try: aiming for at least 5 of your 5-a-day fruit and vegetables, choosing wholegrain varieties where possible, adding seeds fruit and nuts to cereals, snack on veggie sticks or natural energy bars, add pulses and beans to stews and soups, or simply by keeping the skin on your veg and potatoes.
Consuming 30g of fibre each day reduces your risk of developing:
type 2 diabetes
cancers of the bowel
Vegans are more likely to reach this target as our main sources of protein are also high in fibre.
By our resident registered dietitian: Sam Gould RD PgDip BSc @the.vegan.dietitian
BDA (2016), de Filippis et al (2015), SACN (2015).