Do you know much fibre we should be eating? Do you know which foods contain fibre? Do you understand why fibre is important in our diet?
What is fibre?
Fibre is the term given to a type of carbohydrate that is important for digestion. It is completely or partially broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. Fibre has numerous health benefits and is found in plant based foods.
Why is fibre important?
Fibre can be beneficial for a number of reasons which include:
- To lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer
- When consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet, fibre has been shown to be beneficial for a number of health conditions
- To treat or prevent constipation
- Fibre helps to make stools softer and add bulk to your stools
- To help lower a high blood cholesterol level or high blood pressure
- Beta glucan is a type of fibre found in oats and barley that has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels which helps lower your risk of heart disease
How much fibre should I be consuming in my diet?
In the UK it is recommended that the daily intake of fibre is 30g per day. Recent data suggest that UK adults are not consuming fibre, only averaging 18g per day.
What foods contain fibre?
The following foods are all sources of fibre:
- starchy foods: porridge, oat bran, high fibre breakfast cereals, sweet potato, potato with skin, wholemeal or wholegrain bread and pasta
- beans and pulses such as baked beans, hummus and lentils
- vegetables: peas, parsnip, green beans, carrot, canned sweetcorn and broccoli
- fruits: pear, apple, raspberries and blackberries, plums and prunes, banana and orange
- seeds such as linseeds and chia seeds
- nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and peanut butter
5 steps to increase your fibre intake
- Swap your breakfast cereal to a high fibre one such as porridge
- Use wholemeal pasta
- Add extra vegetables to dishes such as bolognese
- Use fruit as a snack
- Add fruit to your breakfast cereal
Following these 5 steps will increase your fibre intake by approximately 18g.
It is important to ensure you gradually increase your fibre intake and ensure a good fluid intake, aiming for 8-10 glasses of fluid per day.
If you have any concerns about increasing the fibre in your diet or want some individual advice, please contact me here to discuss further.
Caroline Hill is a specialist menopause dietitian supporting women making dietary change. Caroline uses her extensive knowledge, skills and expertise of food and nutrition to help women manage their symptoms and weight during menopause. Caroline believes in providing sustainable, individualised, evidence-based advice to women making dietary change.