According to a survey by bread brand Kingsmill, in Britain almost 80% of us have no idea that the recommended daily fibre intake is 25 grams. As a nation we are also clueless as to which foods it is found in.
This means a great number of us are likely to be lacking in a very important food source that is essential for smooth digestion and for the prevention of gastric and intestinal problems. Lack of fibre can also contribute to constipation, which is thought to affect around one in five people.
Fibre is made up of plant foods that cannot be broken down and digested when passed through the digestive system. There are two groups – insoluble and soluble fibre, both of which have their own individual benefits. These include helping to lower cholesterol (soluble fibre) and helping to eliminate waste from the body smoothly and efficiently (insoluble fibre).
In order to make sure your digestive system is in optimum working order, you need to incorporate more fibre into your diet. This should be done gradually to prevent bloating and wind.
Here are some handy tips to help you on your way:
- Start your day with a high-fibre breakfast cereal (bran is a good option) or wholemeal toast with a healthy addition of fruit.
- Boost the fibre in your soups, casseroles and salads by adding a spoonful of beans or lentils.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Doing so will not only help you to get your five-a-day but will provide an additional source of fibre – both insoluble and soluble.
- Dried fruits such as apricots and prunes make the perfect snack alternative to crisps and sweets, and are also high in fibre-rich goodness.
- Beans on wholemeal toast makes an excellent high-fibre lunch.
- Eat the skins of jacket potatoes and fruits such as apples and pears to get double the dose of fibre.