protein fibre header

how to eat protein and fibre

19th June 2017 by Jess

Fibre has been flagged as the next big health focus by the Sugar Report as something we all need more of. Our nutritionist Jess is a big believer in the benefits of dietary fibre, especially when it's combined with protein.

Jess PR shot balance energy vibrancy SMILE

That old saying that you are what you eat isn’t quite right; you are what you eat, absorb and assimilate. There are a number of factors that can affect your ability to digest and absorb the nutrients from food. These include things like stress and caffeine, and these factors will determine how you feel.

What and how you eat are also critical to your ability to absorb nutrients and get energy from food.

Jess, graze nutritionist
Jess with vegetables

the benefits of fibre

Fibre, amongst many things, is a cornerstone for our health, especially when it comes to digestion. There are two types of dietary fibre: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibre (fruits, legumes, oats, rye, and barley) dissolves in water and slows the rate that food passes through the small intestine. This increases the rate of absorption of nutrients from food.

Insoluble fibre (vegetables and wheat bran), or cellulose, is what gives structure to plants. Cellulose provides a number of important benefits including absorbing and removing toxins and contributing to healthy functioning of the digestive tract. It tends to absorb water and increase in bulk, something that's key to the health of our bowels.

We love all the health benefits associated with fibre in the diet, including lower blood sugar levels, blood cholesterol levels, and healthy bowel movements (yes, we went there). Research also shows that certain kinds of fibre bind with cholesterol and prevent it from being absorbed by the body, which meand a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

In 2002, the Food and Nutrition Board reported the first recommendedintakes for fibre. According to the report, men and women 50 years and younger should ingest at least 38 and 25g, respectively, of total fibre each day. For men and women older than 50 years, the recommended intakes are at least 30 and 21g per day.

the benefits of protein

Proteins are the major structural components of all cells of the body, and amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins. Of these 20 amino acids in protein, 9 are considered to be essential because the body cannot make them itself.

Proteins have many essential roles in the body, helping to keep all these things healthy:

  • immune system
  • digestion
  • blood circulation
  • muscle tissue
  • structural hormones
  • skin, hair and nails

It also provides a source of fuel when muscle glycogen levels are low (during prolonged, intense exercise).

read more about protein
Jess flexing with baobab

The importance of protein in nutrition and health cannot be overemphasised! Proteins are essential nutritionally because of the amino acids, which the body needs so it can make its own variety of proteins and nitrogen-containing molecules that make life possible.

Jess, graze nutritionist
top down Jason's vegan nourishment bowl

So why are they perfect together?

The key to sustained energy from food is in the energy release. When you eat foods that contain fibre such as fresh vegetables and lentils, you help to slow the release of glucose into the blood, so your energy release is sustained.

Real foods naturally contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals, and so keep digestive system healthier and your energy release slow. Think of a piece of white bread when it’s cooked in a toaster, it burns very quickly – it does essentially the same in your body.

What you really want is slow burning fuel – fat and protein are two slow burning fuels!

sweet potato toasts

Jess's favourite slow burning fuel foods

Here are some great examples of foods high in fibre that also give you protein:

  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • oats
  • sweet potato
  • beans and lentils
  • butternut squash
  • beetroot
  • pumpkin seeds
  • nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)
loaded sweet potato toast recipe

References

  1. Trumbo P, Schlicker S, Yates AA, Poos M; Food and Nutrition Board of the Instituteof Medicine, The National Academies. Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbo-hydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein and amino acids. J Am Diet Assoc2002; 102(11): 1621-1630.

  2. Anderson JW, Tietyen-Clark J. Dietary fiber: hyperlipidemia, hypertension, andcoronary heart disease. Am J Gastroenterol1986;81(10):907-919.

jess fruit

By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to Jess's blog at jessipes.co.uk for even more.

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