The Glutafin Gluten Free High Fibre Loaf is our highest fibre loaf yet, in fact it’s the highest fibre loaf available on prescription – providing you with 2.6g of fibre per slice! But what is fibre and why do we need to eat it? How much we try to eat and what other foods can help us to achieve this? Read on to find out more about this staple nutrient…
The term ‘fibre’ describes plant material that humans are not able to absorb or digest. There are two kinds of dietary fibre, soluble and insoluble. Both are important for maintaining health and they are often found in combination within the same foods.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water, forming a ‘gel’ in the gut which helps to keep stools soft. Gluten-free sources of soluble fibre include gluten-free oats, pulses (such as baked beans and chick peas), and some fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. Instead it passes through the digestive system almost intact, helping to bulk out stools. Gluten-free sources of insoluble fibre include gluten-free whole grains (eg maize, buckwheat, quinoa and millet), dried fruit, many vegetables and fruit skins, and nuts and seeds (including the linseeds and sunflower seeds we use in our high fibre loaf).
Health benefits of fibre
- Soluble fibre helps to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in your blood and slows glucose (sugar) absorption from food.
- Both types of fibre help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and diarrhoea: Soluble fibre supports the growth of friendly bacteria, and helps to make stools softer and easier to pass. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool and allows waste to move through the bowel more quickly. Both types of fibre make you feel full and may therefore help to reduce your calorie intake, particularly important in you’re trying to lose weight.
- Fibre-rich foods contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, known to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
How much fibre do I need?
The average adult intake of fibre in the UK is approximately 18g per day, however the latest government guidelines on fibre recommend that we should aim to eat much more, around 30g per day (less for children)*. This is in overall recommendation and includes all types of fibre. Research suggests that those following a gluten-free diet often consume less fibre by removing a number of cereal-based foods from their diet, therefore it’s particularly important for those with coeliac disease to consider ways to ‘boost’ their fibre intake wherever possible.
Tips for boosting fibre in your diet
If your usual diet is low in fibre, aim to increase your fibre intake gradually as a sudden increase in fibre may cause abdominal discomfort.
• Choose a high fibre breakfast cereal, e.g. Glutafin Fibre Flakes
• Choose higher fibre staple foods, e.g Glutafin High Fibre Loaf and Glutafin Fibre Pastas
• Increase your intake of ‘wholegrains’, e.g brown rice, popcorn (popped yourself from whole maize kernels to avoid risk of gluten-contamination), buckwheat and quinoa
• Eat potatoes with skins e.g. baked potato or boiled new potatoes
• For snacks try fruit (fresh and dried), vegetable sticks, gluten free oatcakes, unsalted nuts or seeds
• Include plenty of vegetables with meals – either as a side dish or added to sauces, stews or curries
• Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads
• Have some fresh or tinned fruit (canned in natural juice) for dessert.
*Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2015). Carbohydrates and Health Report.