Want to improve wellness and lose weight? It’s time to go back to basics, says Louise Pyne…

Description: The truth about Fat & Fibre (Part 2)

From lutein to lycopene, hardly a day goes by without a new nutritional super star billed as the answer to our ailments. But it’s not just complicated-sounding nutrients that have the power to catapult our wellbeing from average to amazing. In fact, a whole range of everyday foods contain one special ingredient that could be the secret to good health – fibre.

This under-appreciated ingredient is found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts and has an array of health-boosting properties: ‘It helps maintain healthy bowels, weight and fights disease, too,’ says Revital nutritionist Gabriella Clarke (www.revital.co.uk).

The good stuff

Numerous studies have confirmed the health-promoting properties of roughage, but exciting new studies by Dutch and British researchers reveal that chomping your way through just three portions every day (one with every meal) can slash your risk of developing colon cancer by an impressive 20 per cent. Not a bad result for humble fibre, we say.

Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women, with a worrying 38,000 cases being diagnosed every single year. It’s thought that factors such as being overweight, as well as eating a diet which is lacking in fibrous fruit and vegetables, can also increase your risk of developing the disease.

What does it do?

There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. ‘Soluble fibre can be absorbed and broken down and may help reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood,’ says Gabriella. ‘Insoluble fibre cannot be broken down. Instead it bulks up as it absorbs liquid in the stomach; the bulk then pushes waste down and out of your system.’ This maintains healthy bowels and prevents constipation. Fibre is also important for weight management as it creates a feeling of fullness, helping to curb cravings.

Getting it right

The government recommends eating 18g of fibre a day, but according to the Fibre Foundation, nine out of 10 women eat much less. So why aren’t we eating enough? One of the main reasons is that heavy processing of food destroys much of the roughage content, and since homemade meals are on the decline, it’s no wonder we’re not getting our quota. Top up now with our daily plan.

Your fibre fix

Five easy ways to sneak more roughage into your diet, from morning to lights out…

Description: Your fibre fix

Breakfast: Upgrade your porridge to a fruity smoothie. Add 25g of rolled oats to 125 of almond milk, with a handful of mixed berries and a pinch of cinnamon for a filling brekkie with 9g of your daily quota.

Snack: The humble apple contains an impressive 3g of a special type of soluble fibre called pectin and makes a filling mid morning snack. Chop up and serve with a generous scoop of delicious nut butter to keep you full till lunchtime.

Lunch: Stir four spoonfuls of milled golden flaxseed into salads, stews and soups for a meal. One 30g serving of Linwoods Milled Organic Flaxseed, $13, provides up to 8g of fibre. Go to www.linwoodshealthfoods.com

Snack: Vegetables are crammed with filling fibre, so chop up a variety of carrots, cucumber and peppers, and serve with a side of houmous. Chickpeas are also loaded with fibre and make a tasty and satisfying snack.

Dinner: Fill your plate with wholegrains such as brown rice, beans and lentils. Fibre helps to regulate the rate at which food leaves your stomach by delaying the absorption of glucose after a meal, which is how it keeps you fuller for longer.

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