Upset stomach? High cholesterol? Bumping up your fibre intake could be just what you need to feel better again.
What do you need fibre?
1. Maintains digestive health and regularity
Fibre, especially insoluble fibre and resistant starch, helps to maintain bowel regularity and relieve or prevent constipation. Fibre also helps to maintain the ‘friendly’ bowel bacteria that are important to maintain a healthy digestive system.
2. Enhances satiety
Foods rich in fibre, especially soluble fibre, are more satisfying. Fibre helps to delay the rate of digestion and absorption1, which helps to reduce food intake at meal times and to reduce hunger levels between meals.
3. Helps reduce the risk of bowel cancer
Fibre is broken down by ‘friendly’ bowel bacteria to produce butyrate, which plays a role in protecting against cancer development. Many studies also show that people consuming high fibre diets are less likely to develop bowel cancer.
4. Helps lower blood cholesterol
When consumed as part of a low fat diet, soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol levels by increasing the removal of bile acids (made from cholesterol) from the body. This may therefore help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. Helps people with diabetes to control blood sugar levels
Soluble fibre helps slow the release of glucose from carbohydrate foods into the bloodstream, which helps to control blood sugar levels.
The recommended fibre intake is 30g per day for adult males and 25g per day for females. For children and adolescents, fibre recommendations vary with gender and age.
How to boost your fibre intake
1. Read labels to help you choose foods that contain fibre. Claims for fibre are regulated by an industry Code of Practice.
2. Choose bran or wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread, pasta or brown rice
3. Include more fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds in your diet e.g. add fresh or dried fruit and nuts to your breakfast cereals, snack on fruit, raw vegetable sticks or a few nuts
4. Leave the edible skin on fruit and vegetables
5. Add beans and lentils to your soup, casseroles or salads