Research has clearly shown that high fibre diets can prevent and reduce disease. The types of fibre studied are from whole foods not processed foods, think broccoli not bran flakes. The recommended fibre intake for adults is about 30g daily, but most people eating a typical western diet don’t get anywhere near that amount. The average person in the UK eats about 19g of fibre a day. A recent survey found only 1 in 10 UK adults achieve the recommended 30g daily.
What is fibre?
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that passes through the body undigested. It contains a wide range of healthful compounds. There are different types of fibre, most notable are soluble and non souble fibre. We should all be aiming to eat a wide range of whole, unprocessed plant-based foods containing both these types of fibre. Focus on eating a range of fibrous foods such as;
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
What are the benefits of eating fibre?
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes contain fibre alongside vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients which are important for our health. A predominately plant based diet is also beneficial for the environment. A high fibre diet can help;
- Lower cholesterol
- Improve gut health
- Maintain regularity
- Control blood sugar levels
- Maintain healthy weight
- Prevent disease
- Support hormone balance
Make 2021 the year you focus on eating healthier
Most people in the UK eat and drink too much sugar, salt and saturated fat and not enough fruit and vegetables. Diet plays an important role in overall health, the daily food choices we make affect our health and wellbeing.
This seems even more important in 2021 as we continue to live through a global pandemic with increased rates of diet-induced illness such as high cholesterol, obesity and type 2 diabetes in the population.
You can support your body and your immune system by focusing on eating a nutrient dense diet, with fresh whole ingredients full of vitamins and minerals. It’s not just what we eat that is important. We also need to pay attention to how much and how often we eat. Snacks and fast food should be classed as occasional foods only.
Optimise your health & wellbeing
Try to aim for a colourful variety of at least 7 plant-food portions every day, 5 veg and 2 fruit is a good balance. Focus on increasing other whole foods high in fibre such as legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains in your diet. Lentils, beans and peas are all good sources.
It’s best to increase dietary fibre slowly to avoid uncomfortable gas and bloating, make sure you are also drinking enough water to move it naturally through your gut.
Gradually increase the amount over a few weeks to allow your gut bacteria to adjust. If for example you find that beans or lentils are causing gas and bloating, don’t suddenly eat a three bean chilli when you’re not used to it.
Nutrition tips to get more fibre in your diet
Try keeping some ready cooked legumes in the fridge to add to your meals more gradually and over time your body will normally adjust and you will be able to eat more without experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.
Reduce the ultra processed foods like fast food, fizzy drinks, cakes and biscuits. Studies show these convenience foods and drinks are not good for our health so it’s best to avoid them most of the time.