Are You Getting Enough Fibre?

Are You Getting Enough Fibre?

by | Dec 2, 2021

Many of us are not getting enough fibre in our diets, and that can lead to some serious health issues. Fibre is essential for digestion, and a low fibre diet can cause problems in the digestive tract. Adding more fibre to your diet is especially important for older people, as the digestive system slows down with age. So, what are the benefits of increasing your daily fibre intake?

As well as keeping the digestive system happy and healthy, it also stabilizes glucose and cholesterol levels. Many countries with high fibre diets have lower rates of bowel cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Not having enough fibre in your diet can lead to conditions such as constipation, haemorrhoids, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

There are two types of fibres we need…

1. Soluble fibre – this includes pectins, gums and mucilage, which are found mainly in plant cells. One of its major roles is to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Soluble fibre can also help with constipation.

2. Insoluble fibre – this includes cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, which make up the structural parts of plant cell walls. A major role of insoluble fibre is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as haemorrhoids. Good sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods.

Here are five simple ways to increase your fibre intake:

1. Eat a healthy breakfast, such as homemade granola that contains barley, wheat or oats.

2. Swap out your white bread and pasta for wholemeal or multigrain breads and brown rice.

3. Add an extra portion of salad or vegetables to every meal.

4. Snack on fresh fruits such as berries and apples and dried fruits such as figs, prunes and dates.

5. Add a portion of legumes and beans to your lunches and evening meals.

Please note: A high-fibre diet may not prevent or cure constipation unless you drink enough water every day, and it may cause abdominal discomfort or constipation.

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