How much fibre do we need per day?
UK government guidelines tell us that adults should be getting 30g fibre a day. However, 9 in 10 people in the UK are not meeting this with most adults eating an average of 18g a day.
According to the latest health research, a fibre-rich diet has benefits ranging from lowered cholesterol, weight loss, happier gut bacteria, boosted mood and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
So, there are plenty of reasons to get serious about including fibre-rich foods in your daily diet.
When can I get fibre?
Our lives can be so hectic that selecting food for their nutrients can become an afterthought. Luckily, including fibre each day should be as simple as making a few tweaks to your existing choices.
How to include fibre in your breakfast
You may crave toast first thing, but it’s time to step away from the white sliced supermarket loaf, which has only around 1g of fibre per slice (and can be low on nutrients too). This type of bread leaves you feeling unsatisfied and likely to be hungry again by the time you arrive at work.Wholemeal bread which has 3g fibre per slice is a better high-fibre breakfast alternative. Even better would be rye bread, with 4.4g fibre per slice. Top with peanut butter (8.5g fibre per serving) and a small sliced banana (1.4g fibre) and you will be well on your way to meeting your 30g daily fibre target.
Another great breakfast option for a high-fibre day is oats. Blood sugar and insulin spikes after eating can cause the body to begin storing fat. Oats contain a type of soluble fibre called beta-glucans, which slow down your digestion and prevent raises in blood sugar and insulin levels after eating. Make a quick pan of porridge on the hob or spin for three minutes in the microwave, sprinkle with chia seeds, almonds or fresh or dried fruit for an extra fibre boost.
How to include fibre in your lunch
Lunch can be a tricky one where fibre is concerned. Many of us eat lunch during our work break, with errands and life admin often taking priority. Take the initiative beforehand and prepare a simple pasta and vegetable salad that you can take to the office in a BPA-free lunch container.White pasta may be delicious but it’s not great in the fibre department – there’s only around 1g of fibre per serving. Wholewheat pasta has an impressive 8g per serving, or you could try chickpea or spelt pastas which are also fibre-rich compared to white.
How to include fibre in your dinner
You may find that dinner is the time when you can really get creative with your fibre goals.
Many delicious and healthy grains are high in fibre, such as bulgur wheat, quinoa and wholewheat couscous and pulses e.g. lentils and chickpeas. Use these as the base for stews, curries and robust salads.
How to include fibre in your snacks
Forget salty, fatty snacks like crisps or biscuits. Make sure you’re smashing your daily 20g fibre target with delicious munch-able snacks such as carrot sticks and hummus with 8g fibre per serving or an apple with 3g fibre.
A few dried figs, dates, or prunes are great portable fibre powerhouses that taste amazing. Beware of the high natural sugar content in dried fruit, however. It’s best to measure out a portion beforehand and keep in a reusable container for when you’re on the go to prevent eating too many.
Last updated: 18 March 2020Sources
Nutrition Research Reviews (2017), 30, 149–190, Dietary fibre in Europe: current state of knowledge on definitions, sources, recommendations, intakes and relationships to healthhttps://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/ https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/fibre/fibre-swaps