June 18, 2024

Fibre keeps you “regular” of course, but did you know it also feeds gut bacteria, regulates appetite and slows digestion, keeping blood-sugar levels steady? Our ancestors, whose diets contained a wide variety of plant foods, are thought to have consumed as much as 100g of fibre a day, but today the average intake is just 19g. The NHS recommends 30g a day, so most of us could do with a push on fibre. But how much is 30g? Will one Weetabix do? How about a couple of slices of wholemeal bread? Here are three easy ways to get your 30g a day.

Start off with a fibre-rich breakfast

You need to get your fibre tally off to a good start in the morning to stand any chance of clocking up the requisite 30g. Weetabix isn’t actually a bad choice – each biscuit contains 2g of fibre – but if you are trying to avoid processed foods, thankfully there are lots of breakfast-friendly foods that also happen to be fibre-rich: oats (40g serving/8g fibre); berries (50g/3-4g fibre); bananas (1 medium/3g); spinach (100g raw/2.2g); wholegrain bread (3g per slice); and unsweetened nut butter (1 tbsp/1.5g).

A simple solution is to make your own muesli, a serving of which will provide 12g of fibre. This recipe makes 10 x 55g servings. Combine 300g of rolled oats, 100g of psyllium husk (available in health-food shops or online), 50g of flaked almonds, 50g of mixed seeds and 50g of raisins. Will keep for 3-4 weeks in an airtight container.

Add more fibre to your meals

With more than a third of your 30g already in the bag at breakfast, how can you cram more fibre into your other meals? A quick win is switching to wholegrain versions of pasta and rice: 75g of uncooked wholegrain pasta contains 6.5g fibre (compared with regular pasta at 3.7g) and 75g of uncooked brown rice has 4.3g (regular contains 3.5g). If you love your potatoes, by keeping the skin on you will increase your fibre intake from 1.8g to 4.7g for one medium-sized tatty.

Legumes are another great source of fibre that can easily be incorporated into meals. Half a can of mixed beans has a whopping 8.5g fibre, 80g of frozen peas has 5g fibre and 100g of cooked lentils has 8g. You can add tins of various beans to soups, curries or stews. Tinned lentils are an excellent alternative to meat in a bolognese, and adding beans to salads lends much-needed texture and protein.

Top up with nuts 

If nuts aren’t your go-to snack, this is one simple change you can make to benefit your general health – studies have shown that people who eat nuts daily live longer, healthier lives – as well as increase your fibre intake. The perfect nutritionally balanced snack, alongside fibre, nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, plant protein and healthy fats.

Make up a nut mix, keep it in an airtight container and have it at the ready for when the munchies strike. The best mix is one that contains a range of nuts as each has different nutrients, and choose unsalted ones as too much salt in the diet is a risk factor for high blood pressure. A 30g portion of nuts provides 3g of fibre and to make it extra tasty, add some dark chocolate chips for a healthy “Snickers” flavour. Finally, don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Fibre draws water into the bowel, so you need to keep well-hydrated for it to do its work efficiently.


Do you have any tips for boosting your fibre intake? Join the conversation in the comments

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