Although fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet, most of us are simply not getting enough! Experts recommend that we eat 30g of fibre a day, which isn’t so hard to do but in spite of all the reasons why we should eat more, men need 50% more and women need to increase their intake by an alarming 75%.
So why does fibre matter? Not only does fibre help to keep our digestive systems and bowels working efficiently, it also contributes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and promoting healthy gut bacteria. Eating fibre filled foods can help us to feel fuller for longer, prevent constipation and there is also evidence to show that diets rich in fibre may help to reduce risk of colon cancer and cardiovascular disease too.
Where can fibre be found? The good news is that fibre is found in a host of everyday foods – including bread, wholemeal cereals like oats, as well as fruit and vegetables and beans and pulses.
Here are my top tasty tips for getting more fibre into your diet – easily!
Don’t avoid bread
All breads, including white bread, contain fibre. Don’t always reach for the salad over the sandwich at lunchtime. Tuck into a sandwich filled with salad instead!
Get your 5-a-day
There are so many ways to get your 5 a day and more of fibre filled fruit and veg! Swap sweetened yoghurt for a piece of fruit with natural yoghurt as a dessert, or replace some of the meat in your chilli or Bolognese with beans. You can also add frozen veg to lots of dishes from omelettes to risottos.
PS don’t forget to keep the skin on your fruit and vegetables – just wash don’t peel!
Be a star baker
Baking at home is a simple and tasty way to boost fibre intake and it can be achieved in both sweet and savoury treats. The easiest way is to swap white flour for wholemeal flour, though for cakes and sweet treats you might prefer 50% white and 50% wholemeal. Seeds (such as chia seeds, poppy seeds), unsalted nuts and dried fruits are all typically high in fibre and can boost your fibre intake when baking and snacking too.
Start the day the right way
Choose a wholegrain cereal such as wheat biscuits or porridge, then top with seeds, chopped nuts and fresh fruit
Put your finger on the pulse
Stir cooked lentils into your soup for a fibre and protein boost
While 30g may seem like a lot of fibre to eat in a day, it is actually really easy. Here’s just one example of a day’s menu that would give you 30g of fibre.
Breakfast (7g fibre) Two wheat biscuits, 200ml almond milk and topped with 1 small banana and a small handful (25g) of chopped walnuts.
Snack (2g fibre) 1 medium apple
Lunch (11g fibre) Sandwich made with 2 medium slices of wholemeal bread, a handful of salad leaves & 125g of falafel
Snack (5g) Handful (80g) of carrot buttons with 1/4 tub of hummus
Evening Meal (5g) Fajitas made with 1 x tortilla wrap with chicken, a pepper & 1/2 onion.
TOTAL = 30g fibre
If you are looking to increase the amount of fibre in your diet, increase your intake gradually; as going from no fibre to a lot of fibre could be a strain on your digestive system and cause discomfort. Fluid should also be increased in order to prevent constipation: Fluid helps waste products to move through the digestive tract more easily and creates a softer stool, which makes it easier to pass.
About the author
Nichola Ludlam-Raine is a registered dietician with a passion for promoting easy to understand nutrition and diet tips and promoting healthy eating messages in a readable and accessible manner.
Nichola is one of the founding dietitians of the UK strand of RDs4Disclosure, promoting ethical and transparent social media messaging and blogging.Last modified: December 22, 2020