29 AUGUST 2012
We've all heard the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and it's precisely the little pockets of fibre in these fruits that help keep us in shape.
Best known for its ability to help maintain bowel integrity, fibre can provide other health benefits such as reducing the low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels that are responsible for the high blood pressure that causes cardiovascular disease.
If you've found yourself worried over eating too many sugary treats then fibre may be your helping hand in lowering any chances of diabetes. It slows the absorption of sugar in the digestive system which helps improve and stabilise blood sugar levels.
When looking to reduce your percentage of body fat look towards fibrous foods which tend to have less calories than those sourced from non-complex carbohydrates. These require more chewing time, which gives your body enough time to experience the feeling of fullness that prevents overeating.
Selecting tasty foods that provide fibre isn't difficult, try these five ways of introducing more fibre into your lifestyle:
• Fruits and Vegetables. The easiest source to find fibre, it's extra beneficial if you leave the skins on.
• Beans and lentils. Whether it's eating more baked beans or adding chickpeas to a salad these also contain plenty of protein that encourages cell re-growth, keeping your skin, hair and nails looking healthy.
• Swap your cereal. Many cereals on the market tend to be sugar packed. Swap to bran options or barley, wheat and oat mueslis. You can naturally sweeten breakfast up with chopped fruit and a dollop of yogurt.
• Popcorn. Believe it or not these yummy little treats that we munch at the cinema are packed full of protein and have over half the amount of calories as most packets of crisps.
• Flaxseed. Available in most supermarkets these are tiny but mighty in benefits. Just a couple of spoonfuls of this grain a day added to soups, meals and yoghurts can make a dramatic difference to your daily fibre intake.