Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. A diet high in fibre has many health benefits. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health.
However, many people don’t get enough fibre. On average, most people in the UK get about 14g of fibre a day. You should aim for at least 18g a day. Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants. Foods such as meat, fish and dairy products don’t contain fibre. [Source: NHS Choices].
There are two different types of fibre – soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fibre (wheat, bran and wholegrain breads and cereals, certain fruits and vegetables) holds water in the digestive tract increasing bulk, stimulating the muscles of the tract, keeping them healthy.
Insoluble fibre will add bulk to food (important for weight control), reduce the risk of Colon Cancer and lower blood cholesterol.
Soluble fibre (oats, beans, legumes, certain fruits and vegetables) may be partially digestible therefore they can enter the blood and lower cholesterol levels.
Foods that contain soluble fibre include:
- oats, barley and rye
- fruit, such as bananas and apples
- root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes
- golden linseeds
Good sources of insoluble fibre include:
- wholemeal bread
- nuts and seeds (except golden linseeds)