Western diets are known to be low in fibre in comparison to other diets worldwide, this is partly due to the ready availability of convenience and over processed foods at our disposal.

So, what is fibre? Fibre is the part of food that cannot be digested by the body. It is found in fruits, vegetables including the skin and stalks. It is in seeds and bran used in wholemeal breads and cereals.

It is important in the diet to create bulk or roughage to pass along the digestive tract and for healthy bowel health. It contributes to a healthy gut, and therefore, is important for our digestive health and regular bowel movements. Fibre also helps you feel fuller for longer, can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and can assist in preventing some diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.

There are 2 types of fibre soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre attracts water and turns into a gel like substance. Soluble sources include oats and oatmeal, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), barley, fruits and vegetables (especially oranges, apples and carrots).

Insoluble fibre does not absorb or dissolve in water. It passes through our digestive system in close to its original form. Good sources of insoluble fibre include beans, whole wheat or bran products, green beans, potatoes, cauliflowers, and nuts.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 25-30g of fibre per day for female adults and 30-35g for male adults.

Not only is important in the diet for optimal health but it is useful to increase fibre when dieting and as calories are decreasing as it is low calorie and adds volume to the diet and along with a high protein diet will help keep you fully and satisfied.

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