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Protein and fibre - why are they important?

September 23, 2022
| Updated
September 23, 2022
min read
Better Nature
Better Nature
Better Nature
Plant-based Korean BBQ Tempeh Stir-Fry with noodles

When it comes to health and overall wellbeing it’s not all about what you eat, although food does play a very important role. But sometimes we can start stressing over our food choices and complicate eating too much when a varied, balanced diet would go a long way. Instead of focusing on restrictions, it’s much more enjoyable to focus on what foods you could add into your routine to support your wellbeing. Have your cake and eat your veggies, too.

Food and health can’t be boiled down to just numbers. Nevertheless, it’s good to have an overall idea of how much of certain nutrients, on average, you should get daily. In this post, we’ll focus on protein and fibre: what they actually are, what role they play and how much of them we should get daily. We’ll also share some examples of great sources of protein and fibre. Spoiler alert: tempeh is high in both.

Why is protein important?

Protein is a macronutrient that our bodies need for growth, maintenance and repair of body tissues. It’s especially important for bones and muscles. Even our skin and hair are made from the protein we eat. You could say that proteins are the building blocks of life. When you get down to the details, proteins are molecules made up of long chains of amino acids. There are nine amino acids that are called ‘essential’ and they are needed for good health. The essential amino acids are something we need to get from food.

Tempeh Teriyaki with rice and pan choi. Next to the dish is a pack of Better Nature's Organic Tempeh.

How much protein do you need?

For most adults, the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) is 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight per day.As protein is required for building and repairing muscle, athletes who train more than once a day, and the likes of marathoners and bodybuilders might need additional protein. According to the British Heart Foundation, “athletes who train more than once a day should eat twice as much protein as the average adult”.

What are good sources of protein?

There are many foods that are high in protein, and in this post we'll share some plant-based options. Great sources of plant-based protein include (but are not limited to):

  • Lentils,
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans (and other beans),
  • Quinoa,
  • Tofu,
  • Tempeh

For example, our Organic Tempeh has 19g of protein per 100g, BBQ Tempeh Strips have 17g of protein per 100g and our Smoky Tempeh Rashers have 15 of protein per 100g. Cooked lentils, in turn, tend to have around 9g of protein per 100g.

Why is fibre important?

Did you know that fibre is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest? This means it passes through the body undigested.  But although your body can’t digest fibre, it doesn’t mean fibre isn’t important - quite the opposite. Eating plenty of fibre is linked witha lower risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, bowel cancer and heart disease.Additionally, high-fibre foods make us feel fuller, keeping hunger in check. Fibre can help digestion and prevent constipation, too. So many great reasons to make sure you get your daily dose of fibre!

Plant-based Moroccan Curried Tempeh & Couscous

How much fibre do you need?

According to the UK government guidelines, we should get 30g of fibre a day as part of a healthy balanced diet. But most adults are, on average, only eating about 20g of fibre per day. So, it’s clear that most of us need to ramp-up our fibre intake. Although children don’t need as much fibre as adults or older teenagers, most kids still need more than what they’re currently getting. NHS shares guidelines for fibre intake for different age groups on their website.

What are good sources of fibre?

You can get fibre from a great deal of sources. And it’s important to make sure you get fibre from more than just one or two sources to help you maintain a varied, balanced diet. Whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts are all great sources of fibre. And tempeh is high in fibre, too. In fact, a serving of tempeh has more fibre than an apple or two! For example, our Organic Tempeh contains 6.6g of fibre per 100g and our Curry Tempeh Bites contain 7.6g of fibre per 100g (or 6.8g per portion).

As mentioned, it’s important to eat a variety of foods, and not stress over your food choices too much. Having a balanced diet (that you enjoy!) will go a long way when it comes to supporting your wellbeing. If you want to add more protein and fibre to your meals, give tempeh a try - you’ll get plenty of protein and fibre from just one serving. Grab some tempeh on our online shop and get inspired on our recipe page.

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