Are you getting enough fibre in your diet?

Fibre is a term for plant-based carbohydrates that are absolutely essential for the normal functioning of the gut.

In the UK adults are recommended to have 30g of fibre a day. But most of us don’t have enough – with the average intake being 18g a day.

What are the health benefits?

Helps to lower cholesterol

Certain types of fibre (eg: oats) contain something called beta-glucan. Having 3g or more beta-glucan a day is linked with lowering cholesterol levels.

Prevents and treats constipation

All high fibre foods, especially wheat and other cereals help to absorb water in the gut and adds bulk to our stools. Basically, this makes our stools softer which in turn makes it easier to poo.

Reduces the risk of chronic diseases

Having enough fibre in our diet can reduce the risk of developing conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and bowel cancer.

Keeps you fuller for longer

Diets higher in fibre help to keep us fuller for longer. This means we won’t be reaching for a snack soon after a meal which helps to avoid unnecessary calories!

Good sources

  • Fruit and vegetables – make sure you get your 5-a-day!
  • Beans, pulses and legumes
  • Starchy carbohydrates – oats, certain cereals, wholegrain bread, brown rice & pasta
  • Nuts and seeds

Example high fibre meals & snacks

Breakfast

  • 2 x Weetabix with 80g strawberries and semi-skimmed milk = 7g
  • 2 x wholemeal toast (medium slice) with peanut butter = 6g

Lunch

  • 1 x tin chunky vegetable soup with 1 x slice wholemeal bread = 10g
  • 200g baked beans and medium jacket potato = 16g

Snacks

  • 80g raspberries = 3g
  • Large pear = 5g
  • 30g hummus and carrot sticks = 3g

Top tip: Check the food labels when you next going food shopping to see if you are getting enough of this nutrient in your diet!

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