If I don't actively work at getting enough fibre in my diet every day, I can easily get constipated and bloated - especially when I travel.
And I'm not alone.
Most of us don't get enough fibre (spelt fiber if you're American)! It can be tricky when the recommendation in Australia is 25g-30g/day. Luckily, by adding a few high-fibre foods into your diet, you'll get back in the flow in no time.
Here are some of the best high-fibre foods to include in your diet to help prevent and manage constipation.
Pears are a wonder fruit when it comes to preventing and managing constipation. They have both soluble and insoluble fibre. One small pear will give you about 5g of fibre which is amazing! That is 8 times more fibre than a serve of watermelon.
In Australia, pears are now in season during winter so fill your fruit bowl with pears, add them to a simple salad with rocket, parmesan and walnuts served with balsamic vinegar or glaze. Check out #perfectpearing for more tips.
I love flaxseeds. When I travel, I pack some with me to help keep me regular. I'll add flaxseeds to my breakfast most mornings for their fibre and healthy omega-3 fats. Flaxseeds are great sprinkled on top of plain greek yoghurt, mixed into untoasted muesli or added on top of toast spread with either peanut butter or avocado. You can also add them to smoothies with additional fibre and healthy fats.
3. Oatmeal (jazzed up)
Want a breakfast that will keep you feeling full till lunch, help reduce cholesterol reabsorption and is really affordable? Oatmeal is fibre-lovers bestie and it's one of my favourite breakfasts, especially in winter. I love to add some sliced banana and some seeds (flaxseeds, chia, pumpkin, sunflower) for an impressive 6.5 grams of fibre.
I personally just buy the home brand dry oats and check it doesn't have anything funny added.
Want the good news? Corn is NOT an unhealthy or fattening vegetable. I would never cut this hearty vegetable from my diet, especially if I was watching my weight. Corn won't make you gain weight. In fact, because corn has so much fibre, corn may actually help you manage your weight because you'll be satiated and stay fuller for longer.
5. Black beans
When it comes to good nutrition, I think ALL legumes are the absolute superfood champions. Just one serve of black beans (100g) will boost your fibre intake by 16g! Amazing, right?! Add black beans to your soups, make a burrito bowl or try this festive Mexican Sweet Potato Recipe for 12g of fibre - perfect winter comfort food.
If you don't eat chickpeas yet, now is the time. I have been known to eat chickpeas for breakfast (try my with my favourite Spicy Chickpea Breakfast Bowl with Za'atar eggs). I'll add chickpeas to salads very often. In fact, add a drained (and rinsed) tin of chickpeas with chopped red onion, cucumber and fresh herbs - and you got you a delicious salad that'll keep well in the fridge. Add salt, pepper and some feta for extra yum.
Get gas from eating legumes? That is actually a good sign because it means there is fermentation happening in your gut (hello healthy gut bacteria)! If you don't have legumes regulalarly at the moment, build up slowly. Start with one small serve (e.g. 50g) three times a week and build up to 100g.
Opt for unsalted. I like to dry roast them (bake them in a fry pan or oven without oil for a few minutes, until golden) and then add them to salads, grab a healthy handful to snack on or add to healthier treats like banana nice-cream. I personally don't 'activate' my nuts.
Please don't count the nuts you eat. Just grab a healthy handful. Counting out almonds, or any nut, makes healthy eating restrictive and boring.
Can't stop after one handful of nuts?
This is very common. You may want to portion size them and take to work (as opposed to keeping a big container at your desk). If you feel you binge eat nuts, then you might want a little more support to help you stop overeating or emotional eating. Check out my 10-week course to help you stop emotional eating - Keep It Real Program.
Other high-fibre foods I highly recommend...
- Leafy greens
- Wholegrains like brown rice
- At least 5 serves of vegetables and fruit each day! Eat them with the skin on...
I also recommend drinking more water (your pee should be a little yellow with a very subtle smell). Keep a water bottle on your desk, serve a jug of water with meals or have a glass of water before every meal.
Move your body every day to avoiding constipation. Exercise is amazing for getting the gut going... Along with boosting my mood, this is yet another amazing reason why I exercise. It's really not about weight loss.
When adding fibre into your diet, take it slow..
If you currently don't have much fibre in your diet, increase slowly so avoid unpleasant symptoms like bloating, cramps, excess gas. By slowly increasing fibre, your gut will have time to adjust to your new diet.