Students aren’t exactly known for their dietary excellence, and it can be difficult to maintain a balanced diet that gives you all your vitamins, nutrients, 5-a-day, and the rest, on a student budget. With a busy timetable too, it can be even more difficult to find the time to make nutritious meals, rather than just picking up a burrito in between classes or stopping by your favourite takeaway on your way home.

Some of us may try and make an effort to make sure we’re eating our greens and drinking enough water. When looking at the wee labels on the back of our foodstuffs though, few of us will make the effort to look beyond the calorie count, or the traffic light system on the front of packaging telling us how much of our guideline daily amounts of fat, sugar and salt the item contains. Something you should start looking out for in your diet, though, is fibre.

The health benefits of fibre are often assumed to be solely, uh, poop related. Whilst fibre is important for keeping you regular, and the benefits to your digestive system shouldn’t be understated, fibre does a lot more for your body than you might expect. It’s recommended that we eat at least 30g of fibre a day, but most of us barely manage half of that.

Fibre is a plant-based nutrient, and has two forms – soluble and insoluble. The insoluble stuff doesn’t dissolve in your system but helps other food pass through whilst keeping your bowels healthy. Soluble fibre does dissolve and becomes a kind of gel, trapping bits of food and meaning they take longer to digest.  This means fibre helps you feel fuller for longer, as well as helping with poop stuff.

The other benefits of fibre range from stroke prevention to blood sugar control. Fibre has also been found to be effective in aiding weight loss and lowering cholesterol, and eating a high fibre diet can lower the risk of heart disease. Those suffering from IBS may find increasing the amount of fibre in their diet relieves them of some symptoms too.

All in all, fibre’s pretty damn good for you, and easy to source too. So go and pick up a banana, swap your white bread for some wholemeal, and feel good about doing right by your body!

[Hannah Burke – @hannahcburke_]

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