Let’s face it, at one point or another, we’ve all been unable to ‘go’ – I’m sure you know what I mean. But if you find yourself stuck with toilet troubles on the reg (no pun intended), you might be able to make some simple dietary changes to help. I’m talking about fibre.
Fibre, fibre, fibre… it’s one of the hottest topics in nutrition of late – and one I’m glad is making headlines. You see, there are so many benefits to eating enough fibre (gut health, blood sugar management and cholesterol reduction, to name a few).
But, not all fibre is created equal. In fact, there are three different types of fibre, all of which are super important and have different roles. They are: soluble fibre, insoluble fibre and resistant starch.
This type of fibre absorbs water and adds bulk to your bowel motions – it’s what helps to keep you regular.
So, if you’re not going to the loo as often as you’d like, it might help to make a few dietary tweaks. For one, you should throw away your peeler and leave the skin on your fruit and veg (just give them a good wash before you start cooking or eating).
You should also make the switch to wholegrains. Think brown bread and brown rice instead of their white counterparts.
Including more legumes in your diet may also help. Some easy ideas I often recommend are baked beans for breakfast, a chickpea salad for lunch or a hearty lentil soup for dinner.
You can also sprinkle wheat bran over your usual cereal or yoghurt for a boost of insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre, on the other hand, dissolves in water and becomes gel-like in your gut, which slows down digestion.
It can assist with blood sugar management, so is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes. Soluble fibre can also work to lower cholesterol and can therefore help to keep your ticker in tip top shape.
You’ll find soluble fibre in foods like oats, fruit, vegetables and legumes.
Resistant starch isn’t digested in the small intestine. Instead, it makes its way to the large intestine where it gets fermented and produces substances that help to keep the bowel lining healthy. It also works to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Resistant starch is found in potatoes that have been cooked and cooled – so add a cold potato salad as a side to your main meal every now and then.
If pasta is on your menu, cook it al-dente for a boost of resistant starch.
For a gut-friendly snack on the run, you can also opt for a banana that isn’t quite ripe.
And you guessed it, those superfood legumes are a good source of resistant starch, too.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.
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