Fibre, both soluble and insoluble, is essential for the body. To take advantage of all their benefits, we must remember to diversify our consumption, especially since they are found in fruit, vegetables, pulses and wholegrain cereals.
What is fibre?
Fibre has almost no energy value.
Although it is a component of many foods, it has a different purpose. Fibre is neither absorbed nor digested in the small intestine, and has the particularity of promoting intestinal transit and regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
It also prevents weight gain, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and type II diabetes.
Are there differences between dietary fibres?
Fibres are differentiated according to their solubility. Thus, there are soluble and insoluble fibres.
Insoluble fibre acts on transit by increasing the size of the stools thanks to its great capacity to absorb water. By reducing the speed of digestion, it optimises the feeling of fullness and prevents weight gain.
Soluble fibre reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.
On average, it is recommended to consume 25 g or even 30 g of fibre per day1. This consumption varies according to age, sex and socio-professional category4.
There is quite a gap between recommendations and consumer reality. In Canada, the population consumes an average of 15 g of fibre2 per day, compared with 17.7 g3 in France, which is well below the recommended level.
But where is the fibre hiding?
This is an opportunity to find out more about the “key foods” that contain fibre. Health and taste are not mutually exclusive, and you can significantly reduce risk factors and still enjoy eating!
Good to know: for people who are not used to consuming dietary fibre on a regular basis, it is important to introduce it gradually into the diet and not to consume too much of it suddenly, as this could upset the digestive system.
Oat bran, a reliable source of fibre
The Dukan diet has brought the properties of oat bran to the forefront.
Its richness in soluble fibre means that it plays an essential role in the absorption of fats and carbohydrates and therefore in the regulation of cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Oat bran has two strong points: it is an ally of health but also of the silhouette.
Its low glycemic index helps regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for people with type II diabetes. It does not stimulate the appetite as is the case with hyperglycaemic foods (= high glycaemic index). Moreover, this food helps to eliminate calories.
Of course, oat bran alone cannot prevent all diseases and contribute to good health. To benefit from its virtues, it must be combined with a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Good to know: for 50 g of dry oat bran, the nutritional value in dietary fibre is 5.2 g.1
The artichoke, a vegetable rich in fibre
Artichokes contain inulin (= prebiotic), which is why they encourage the proliferation of good bacteria in the colon, which is beneficial for the digestive system and the immune system.
A medium-sized artichoke (120 g) contains 4.7 g of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre1.
This vegetable will have several functions by acting as well on the intestinal transit as in the prevention of the cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes.
In addition, the artichoke contains antioxidants which, it should be remembered, slow down and prevent the chain reactions of free radicals on the body’s cellular activity.
Its original form never tires of the variety of culinary recipes created for it. The artichoke can be cooked in all flavours, cooked or raw, it delights the taste buds. It can be eaten with a vinaigrette sauce or enjoy the generosity of its taste by accompanying it, cooked, with a stuffing of your choice.
Lentils: an advantage in insoluble fibre
In addition to their antioxidant composition (= they protect cell membranes from the attack of free radicals), lentils are rich in dietary fibre.
In addition to containing soluble fibre, lentils have more insoluble fibre. They will therefore be of great help in facilitating transit in the event of constipation, for example.
By delaying the absorption of glucose, their soluble fibre composition will help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. They also play a role in satiety.
Green and brown lentils are the most widely consumed, as they cook quickly. Canada remains a major producer of red lentils and an important world exporter.
Lentils exist in several forms (salads, soups, prepared dishes, etc.) that can be combined with other foods rich in vegetable proteins, such as rice, and in amino acids, such as meat or fish. In this way, meals will be all the more nutritious.
For 146 g of boiled and salted lentils, the nutritional value in dietary fibre is 6.2 g.1
Prunes: the benefits of its fibre
The laxative properties of prunes are known to almost everyone. In the event of constipation, prunes are an effective natural remedy for normal bowel movements.
Prunes owe their properties to their sorbitol content, a sugar alcohol that promotes bowel movements.
Like dried fruit, prunes contain dietary fibre, which also plays a role in intestinal transit.
In addition to its virtues, the prune has a fairly high satiety index, at 4.7 on a scale of 0 to 51. This makes them a food that can be relied on when dieting to avoid bad nibbling! Of course, without abusing it too much.
Good to know: for 25 g of dried prunes, the nutritional value in dietary fibre is 1.8 g1.
Quinoa, rely on its fibre composition
The food guide published by Health Canada recommends the consumption of cereal products, in this case whole grains, because they prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease1.
It is therefore recommended to vary one’s consumption of cereal products1,2 . Combined with a diet rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, quinoa is thought to play a role in maintaining good health, preventing certain chronic diseases and weight gain.
Quinoa also contains proteins that protect muscle joints and facilitate skin cell regeneration.
Good to know: for 73 g of cooked quinoa, the nutritional value in dietary fibre is 1.3 g3.
Potatoes, sweet and full of fibre
The potato is both a vegetable and a starch that can be eaten in different ways: in salads, mashed, sautéed or baked. Its sweet and melting taste is what makes its reputation.
This duchess is a veritable treasure trove: with its dietary fibre, it also contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is said to slow down oxidative stress thanks to its flavonoid and vitamin C composition, thus preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
As dietary fibre plays a beneficial role in the prevention of certain diseases but also in the digestive system, it is important to know in which vegetables it can be found.
Potatoes are one of the “healthy” starchy foods. Of course, it is advisable to vary the way you eat them and not to opt only for fried potatoes, as this can increase your fat intake and cholesterol levels.
Raspberries, a high-fibre fruit
As well as being tasty, raspberries are an important source of fibre. For every 65 g of these small fruits, the dietary fibre content is 4.2 g.1
The fibre in raspberries helps to reduce cholesterol levels and thus prevent cardiovascular disease, but also regulates blood sugar levels and promotes intestinal transit and satiety.2
Red, black or purple, raspberries can be used in a variety of ways: they can be served with cottage cheese, as a topping for various pastries, to make delicious sorbets and even as part of fruit or vegetable salads….
With raspberries, it is possible to treat yourself while preserving your health!
According to a study1, eating almonds could improve vascular function in men aged 20 to 70.
Their richness in soluble and insoluble fibre promotes satiety, intestinal peristalsis
(= intestinal movements leading to the evacuation of faeces) as well as the regulation of cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
An almond also contains 80% insoluble and 20% soluble fibre2.
For 36 g of dried almonds, the nutritional value in dietary fibre is 4.2 g3.
The long-awaited taste of almonds can be found in a typical oriental dish. This is chicken pastilla, where the thin, flaky pastry of the brick pastry wraps delicately around the white meat, topped with slivered almonds.
You can also enjoy their crunchy taste by visiting certain bakeries that sprinkle them on their varieties of pastries and cakes…