Why Do We Need Fibre in Our Diets?
Why we need fibre
Consuming fibre is an essential part to having a healthy diet, it helps to keep the digestive system in working order and other health benefits. Eating plenty of fibre can help to lower the risk of heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. It is found in many plant-based and foods that have carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread and fruits and vegetables. Most people aren’t getting enough fibre in their diets.
How much do we need?
Fibre doesn’t get broken down and absorbed in your small bowel like most foods, it passes into your large bowel. It helps to bulk up stools in your bowel so they can move along the digestive tract faster which therefore can help to prevent constipation. The government guidelines suggest that each day an adult should consume 30g of fibre as part of a balanced diet. Children under the age of 16 don’t have to consume as much but they still need more than they are currently having. 2-5 years should be consuming 15g a day, 5-11 years need around 20g a day, and 11-16 years should have about 25g a day. Encouraging children to have more fruits, vegetables and starchy foods can help to increase their fibre intake.
How to increase your fibre intake
It is very important to get fibre from different sources as eating too much of the same product will not provide you with a very balanced diet. To increase fibre intake you could: eat potatoes with their skins on, add pulses to your cooking such as beans and chickpeas, include plenty of vegetables to your cooking, choose a high-fibre cereal such as Weetabix or porridge oats, have some dried or fresh fruit, try granary or wholemeal breads, have some whole-wheat pasta or brown rice. These are just some things you can try to help improve your fibre intake.
Most pre packaged foods have a nutrition label on and they tell you the amount of fibre in the food, 30g a day is what is suggested for you to have. An example of a daily meals you could have that are rich in fibre: for breakfast try Weetabix with a chopped banana in, have 150ml of fruit juice, at lunch why not have a jacket potato with beans (ensuring that you eat the skin on the potato), at dinner you could have whole wheat pasta with a tomato based sauce, and as a snack try a handful of nuts such as almonds. By consuming foods rich in fibre you can help to improve your health!