Eating a diet high in fibre could drastically improve our health, yet most of us don’t get anywhere near enough.
The average Brit gets less than 20 grams of fibre a day – 60% of the recommended daily fibre intake of 30 grams – according to the World Health Organisation.
Only 9% of the population manage to hit the 30g target every day.
Yet eating more fibre – at least between 25g and 29g a day – could reduce our risk of diseases such as cancers, stroke and heart disease by anything from 15 to 30%.
Foods with the most fibre
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, these are the foods with the highest fibre content.
Banana – 1.1g per 80g fruit
Orange – 1.1g per 80g fruit
Strawberries – 3.0g per 80g berries
Wholemeal spaghetti – 9.2g per 220g portion
Jacket potato with skin – 4.7g per 180g portion
Baked beans in tomato sauce – 3.9g per 80g portion
Bran flakes – 7.4g per 30g portion
Boiled peas – 4.5 per 80g portion
Red kidney beans – 6.0 per 80g portion
Fibre meal plan
Based on the guidelines above, a typical fibre-based meal plan would contain the following.
Breakfast: Two slices of wholemeal toast (5.1g of fibre) with 20g of smooth peanut butter (1.3g) and a 80g portion of strawberries (3.0g).
Lunch: A baked jacket potato with skin on (180g) eaten with tuna mayonnaise (6.5g) and 138g of salad containing lettuce, tomato and cucumber (1.7g)
Dinner: Wholemeal spaghetti (9.2g) eaten with vegetarian bolognese containing 80g of red split lentils (3.7g).
Total: 30.5g fibre
Why else is fibre important?
Fibre is essential for healthy bowel movements, supporting a healthy gut microbiome, and stabilising blood sugar levels, explains nutritionist Jenna Hope.
“Some fibre e.g. beta glucans can help to lower cholesterol by binding to the cholesterol and prevent it being absorbed.
“Research also suggests that those who consume a higher fibre diet are also more likely to be of a healthy weight.”
Can you have too much fibre – and what happens?
As with anything to do with our health, moderation is key – and this even applies to fibre.
“While fibre is essential and the majority of the population are not eating enough fibre there is such a thing as too much. Too much fibre can exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating and diarrhoea.
“Additionally, it’s important to note that drastically increasing your fibre intake overnight may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort and therefore it is recommended to do it gradually.”
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