A high-fibre diet can help reduce cholesterol, lessen the risk of diabetes and protect against being overweight.
Fibre is an important part of a balanced diet. Dietary fibre can be found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats as well as in beans, fruit, vegetables and nuts. Fibre can’t be completely broken down by the body, which helps it move the food quickly through the gut, keeping the digestive system regular.
Aim for at least 18g of fibre daily. Most people in the UK don’t eat enough. A low intake of fibre is associated with constipation and gut diseases such as bowel cancer. A diet high in fibre tends to also be more filling so you can reduce the number of calories you eat at a meal and have less snacks between meals.
Which foods contain fibre?
All plant-based foods, such as fruit and vegetables (particularly when eaten with their skins on) contain fibre, although there are also plenty of other sources. These include: -
* Wholemeal and wholegrain bread
* White breads with added fibre
* Wholegrain breakfast cereals such as bran flakes
* Beans, lentils and pulses
Try these easy ways of boosting your fibre intake: -
* Choose wholegrain bread and pasta and brown rice rather than white versions
* Switch to a breakfast cereal which is a source of fibre or one with wholegrains – porridge or muesli are great choices – add your favourite fruits instead of sugar to add sweetness and boost the fibre
* Instead of drinking fruit and vegetable juices, try to eat your 5-a-Day whole and with the skins on
* Experiment with beans, chickpeas and lentils in your food. Rich in fibre, they’re also cheap to buy and a great alternative to meat or to make meat go further. For lots of great recipe ideas, check out the Real Food recipes, including our delicious Chickpea and spinach curry
* Snack on dried fruits, raw vegetables, nuts and seeds. Not only are they a great way of managing your weight, but they’re full of fibre
* Always check the labels – foods that are classed as a source of fibre must contain at least 3g fibre per 100g and high-fibre must contain at least 6g of fibre per 100g
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