Why Fibre is Key
What is fibre?
Fibre promotes health, including optimal digestion, gut health, and bowel regularity. An eating pattern with optimal fibre intake and consuming fibre rich wholegrains, vegetables, fruits, beans, peas and lentils are linked with reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and more.
There are different types of fibre with different qualities providing different health benefits, insoluble fibre such as cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin aid digestion can be described as the “nature's broom” as they move waste through the intestinal tract without being broken down. This helps prevent constipation and increases the rate of which waste is removed.
The other type of fibre is known as soluble, which is gums, mucilages, pectin, and some hemicelluloses. This type dissolves and becomes gummy or gelatinous (viscous). Gelatinous fibres help reduce lower blood cholesterol and helps control the amount of glucose in the bloodstream, which is a benefit of those with insulin sensitivity. Gelatinous fibre may also make you feel more full on fewer calories making it harder to overeat.
How much fibre?
In the UK the government's guidelines for fibre intake is 30g for adults, however the average fibre consumption for adults is only 18g, this is only 60% of what is recommended to support a well-balanced diet. Children have slightly lower intake requirements with 2–5-year-olds needing about 15g, 5–11-year-olds needing about 20g and 11–16-year-olds needing about 25g per day
Tips for eating more fibre
Choosing wholemeal or grainy breads, and wholegrains like wholewheat pasta and brown rice.
Add a variety of fruit to your breakfast cereal.
Choose a breakfast high in fibre such as Weetabix, oats or shredded wheat
Keep the skins on for boiled or baked potatoes.
Add pulses such as beans, lentils, or chickpeas to dishes.
Include a variety of fruit and vegetables. (buying frozen can help you save money and reduce waste)
Opting for an oat based cereal bar or oatcake snack.
Adding a variety of nuts and seeds, such as almonds and chia seeds.
Keep hydrated by drinking 6-8 cups of water per day to help fibre to do its job.