I recently read an article in the BBC News (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46827426) that describes fibre as the ‘life changing food that 90% of us aren’t eating enough of’. This took me by surprise as fibre hasn’t been something that I have thought that much about. Fibre is well known for stopping constipation but it also lee[s your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels down, reduces the chances of debilitating heart attacks and strokes as well as reducing life-long diseases such as type-2 diabetes and colon cancer.
According to this article, the researchers, at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, and the University of Dundee say people should be eating a minimum of 25g of fibre per day. But they call this an "adequate" amount for improving health and say there are benefits for pushing past 30g (1oz).
So how do you get 30g of fibre a day?
A plant based diet definitely provides ample opportunity to eat fibre as high quantities of fibre are found in many fruit and vegetables. They are also found in whole wheat products such as brown rice and wholewheat bread. Here are some easy tips:
Eat lots of fresh fruit, ideally with the skin on whenever you can.
Eat lots of vegetables
Eat plenty of grains and pulses.
Choose 100% wholewheat bread.
Choose brown rice.
Choose high fibre cereal.
Snack on nuts.
Rule of thumb = 1/2 cup chopped veggies - 4g and 1 serving fruit 3g.
To break this down further:
An apple with the skin on - 4g
1 tangerine - 3g
1 cup of raspberries - 8g
1 cup of blueberries - 3g
1 cup strawberries - 3g
Half a cup of rolled oats - 9g
2 slices wholemeal bread topped with 1 banana -8g
Handful of almonds - 3g
1 sweet potato - 3g
1 cup of cooked lentils - 4g
1 cup brussel sprouts - 6g
1 cup chickpeas - 12 g
1 carrot - 3g
1 cup black beans - 15 g
! cup cooked brown rice - 2.5g
1 cup cooked pasta/white rice - 1g
1 bowl of high fibre cereal - 5g
1/2 avocado - 6g
1 tablespoon chia seeds - 10g
So the next time you are planning your meals for the week or grabbing a snack, think about your daily fibre intake. Consider switching to brown rice and wholewheat bread, don’t peel your apples and reach for a handful of almonds rather than a high sugar, low fibre alternative. Take a moment to read the labels on any processed food and you will soon start to have an awareness for the fibre intake of each item you are eating.