Fibre helps reduce the risk of heart disease and bowel cancer, yet only one in 10 of us gets enough of it. Here’s how to up your intake
1 Know what’s in your food
Fibre refers to indigestible carbohydrates — the part of plant foods our bodies can’t break down. UK guidelines say that adults should get 30g a day, yet most of us don’t.
Understanding what’s in your food can help — a typical apple contains 2-3g of fibre, a sesame bagel is about 4g, and half a can of chickpeas about 7g.
Check food labels where possible, as fibre levels vary from brand to brand.
2 Top up your meals
Add a handful of raisins or nuts to breakfast cereals, seeds to salads, and chickpeas or lentils to a stew. Bulking meals out with vegetables also helps.
3 Swap the juicer for a blender
It’s better to eat fruit whole, as juicing not only removes fibre — it makes the sugar in fruit much more readily available. Go for a blender to keep the fibre in there, and use low-sugar fruit or just vegetables.
4 Choose healthy wholegrain
Some simple substitutions can boost your fibre intake without you having to rethink your diet.
By moving to bran flakes from rice puffs for breakfast, wholemeal rather than white bread for lunch, and brown rice instead of white for dinner, you’ll raise your fibre intake by several grams.
5 Take it slowly
To avoid digestive problems such as bloating, gas and diarrhoea, increase your fibre intake gradually, and drink 8 to 10 cups of fluids a day.