IT’S no secret that eating a diet rich in fibre has numerous health benefits.
Experts have created a fibre calculator, which can tell you whether you’re consuming enough of the stuff.
Health officials advise that we should eat around 30g of fibre a day.
But as it turns out, many of us are starving our bodies of the good stuff.
The World Health Organisation suggests that 90 per cent of us are not getting enough fibre in our diets.
This means a measly 10 per cent of us are reaching the 30g target.
If it turns out you’re diet is low in fibre-y goodness, the calculator will also suggest ways you can up your daily intake.
Which foods are high in fibre?
It is very important to get your fibre from a variety of food sources, as eating too much of one type of food may not provide you with a healthy balanced diet.
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Fibre rich foods include:
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye
- Fruit such as berries, pears, melon and oranges
- Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn
- Peas, beans and pulses
- Nuts and seeds
- Potatoes with skin
Here are some ideas on how to increase your fibre intake at each meal.
- Choose a high fibre breakfast cereal e.g. wholegrain cereal like wholewheat biscuit cereal, no added sugar muesli, bran flakes or porridge Add some fresh fruit, dried fruit, seeds and/or nuts.
- Opt for wholemeal or seeded wholegrain breads. For fussy eaters, try versions that combine white and wholemeal flours
- Choose wholegrains like wholewheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice as your starch
- Go for potatoes with skins on like baked potatoes, wedges or boiled new potatoes For snacks try fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes, unsalted nuts or seeds
- Include plenty of vegetables with meals – either as a side dish/salad or added to sauces, stews or curries
- Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads.
- Have some fresh or fruit canned in natural juice for dessert or a snack
Also remember that increasing your fibre intakes means you should increase your fluid intake to maintain good gut health.
One recent study found that fibre is important in maintaining a healthy gut and losing weight.
The research found that fibre feeds the microbiota – the system of bacteria, fungi and yeasts – that live in our digestive systems.
These microbiota are vital for a healthy gut and aid in digestion, including the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals into our bodies.
The studies found that when our diet lacks fibre our levels of good bacteria in the gut shrink tenfold, based on tests in mice at Georgia State University.