Fibre – are you eating enough?

Most of us have probably been told at some point to switch to brown bread, to eat their crusts or to have a spoonful of bran a day. The science has shown for a long time that fibre is good for us, but new research has shown just how important it really is for our long-term health. Low carb diets may be a hot topic at the moment, but this research upholds the idea that a diet with plenty of healthy, wholegrain carbohydrates really does wonders for our health.

What is fibre?

Carbohydrates are a starchy food group that are our body’s main source of energy because they can be quickly digested and used. There are many different types of carbohydrates, but fibre is one particular type of carbohydrate that can’t be completely broken down by our body. While this may sound odd, this is actually what makes fibre so good for us. Not being broken down means that the fibre from our food helps things move on through our digestive tract (helping those number twos) and also helps the good bacteria in our gut.

How much fibre should we be eating? 

UK recommendations suggest that all adults should be aiming for 30g of fibre a day, which may seem a lot, but is easily achievable with a few swaps to your diet.

Age Recommended Daily Fibre
2-5 15g
5-11 20g
11-16 25g
17+ 30g

 

How does fibre benefit our health?

Because of all the benefits fibre has for our gut, it also has benefits for our overall health too. The new research released last week found that those who ate the most fibre had a 15-30% lower risk of dying from all causes and also specifically from heart conditions compared to those who ate the least. The study also found that those who ate the most fibre had a 16-24% lower risk of colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Eating a high fibre diet can also help weight loss as high fibre foods fill us up and keep us full for longer, which can help manage appetite and food intake.

What foods should I eat to get fibre?

  • Brown bread
  • Brown pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Porridge
  • High-fibre cereals: Weetabix, Bran Flakes, Muesli
  • Beans, lentils, chickpeas and other pulses
  • Potatoes with the skin on
  • Nuts and seeds

What does 30g a day look like?

This plan, from the British Nutrition Foundation, shows how easy it can be to get your 30g a day. With a few simple swaps to your diet, such as your breakfast cereal, fruit and veg intake and even how you cook your potatoes, you can hit your 30g a day and make steps to improve your health.

Meal Food Quantity Fibre content (g)
Breakfast Bran flakes 40g 8
1 banana, sliced 100g 1.5
Snack Apple 100g 2.4
Lunch Baked beans 150g 6.8
Wholemeal toast (2 slices) 70g 4.7
Dinner Baked potato with skin, tuna mayonnaise 180g 6.5
Salad (lettuce, tomato and cucumber) 138g 1.7
Low fat yogurt 150g 0
with strawberries 100g 1.5
and chopped almonds 13g 1.3
Total fibre intake 34.4

 

Table from the British Nutrition Foundation


Looking for some guidance on how to eat a healthy, balanced diet? Look no further! Sign up to a BeeZee Bodies group in your area to make small changes that make a big difference.

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