Dietary fibre has many health benefits. It can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, and also help weight control. Fibre is also important for digestive health - insoluble fibre bulks up stools and makes waste move through the digestive tract more quickly, which is better for the gut and can help to prevent constipation. Soluble fibre may also help this process by making the stools softer and easier to pass. Some types of fibre can be fermented by gut bacteria, producing substances that appear to be good for gut health. Providing ‘food’ for gut bacteria can also help increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut.
To increase your fibre intake you could:
1. Choose a high fibre breakfast cereal e.g. bran flakes, or porridge
2. Go for wholemeal or granary breads instead of white bread
3. Choose wholegrains like wholewheat pasta, bulghur wheat or brown rice
4. Go for potatoes with skins e.g. baked potato or boiled new potatoes
5. For snacks try fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes, unsalted nuts or seeds
6. Include plenty of vegetables with meals – either as a side dish or added to sauces, stews or curries
7. Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads
8. Have some fresh or dried fruit, or fruit canned in natural juice for dessert.