Less than 10% of us eat enough fibre: Here’s how to meet the daily target

 

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Happy new year to you all!

This year 2019, I want us to help ourselves by eating well and better, so that we can stay out of hospitals.

Eating a diet high in fibre could drastically improve our health, yet most of us don’t get anywhere near enough.

The average person 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 by anything from 15 to 30%.

Foods with the most fibre

FRUITS

Fiber-rich fruits include: bananas, oranges, apples, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries.

VEGETABLES

Generally, the darker the color, the higher the fiber content. Fill up your shopping cart with: carrots, beets, broccoli, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, artichokes, potatoes (russet, red, and sweet).

BEANS & LEGUMES

Beans and legumes are flavorful, fiber-filled additions to salads, soups, and chillis. Navy, white, garbanzo, kidney, peas, or lentils are all healthy choices.

BREADS & GRAINS

  • Whole grain breads: Select 7-grain, dark rye, cracked wheat, pumpernickel. Make sure “whole wheat” or another whole grain is listed as the first ingredient.
  • Grains: Try bulgur wheat, brown rice, wild rice, and barley instead of white rice.
  • Cereals: Look for those with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

NUTS

Snack on almonds, pistachios, or pumpkin and sunflower seeds. But don’t go too nuts, as nuts can be high in calories.

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) or yam 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.”

Fiber may provide some relief from IBS.

This is the most important reason that (some) dietary fibers are important for health. They feed the “good” bacteria in the intestine, functioning as prebiotics.   In this way, they promote the growth of “good” gut bacteria, which can have various positive effects on health.   The friendly bacteria produce nutrients for the body, including short-chain fatty acids like acetate, propionate and butyrate, of which butyrate appears to be the most important.

Dietary fiber, including fiber added to foods, can help reduce constipation by adding bulk to the stool. Bulky feces move through the gut faster, resulting in an increased stool weight and improved regularity. Stool consistency, stool weight and frequency of defecation are indicators of colonic function.

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.”

Francesca Specter, Yahoo Style UK Jan 

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