Why is fibre important?
Fibre keeps your digestive system healthy and helps to prevent constipation. It does this by making your stools softer (and so easier to pass), and moves waste through your body more quickly.
What’s more, fibre can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. It may even help to protect you against bowel cancer. Pretty impressive!
There are two different types of fibre – soluble and insoluble; both of which are essential and should be included in your diet. Many high-fibre foods will contain both types of fibre. But as a general guide, fruit, vegetables and oats are good sources of soluble fibre; and wholegrains and cereals are sources of insoluble fibre.
How much should I eat?
It’s recommended that adults should be eating 30g of fibre a day, but on average most people tend to eat much less than this. For children, the daily recommended amount is obviously less, and increases as they grow and develop through childhood. See my recent blog on fibre intake in children for more information.
Upping your fibre intake
Here are some quick and easy meals that will up your fibre intake.
- Breakfast: a bowl of bran flakes with milk – 8g of fibre.
- Lunch: baked beans on two slices of wholemeal toast – 11.5g.
- Dinner: baked potato (with the skin on) with tuna – 6.5g.
For snacks, a piece of fruit, such as a banana, an apple or a handful of strawberries, all offer 1.5-2.5g of fibre. Hummus with vegetable sticks is also a great high-fibre (and healthy) snack.
Recipe: Chicken and chickpea curry
Chickpeas and rice are great sources of fibre. Below is a delicious, simple curry recipe you can try at home. It’s healthy, hearty and offers around 10g of fibre per portion (if served with wholegrain rice).
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2 – 3 people
- 1 tbsp of rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 small red pepper, sliced
- 1 small fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 chicken fillets, each cut into 4 – 6 chunks
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp each of ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric powder
- 150ml of reduced-salt vegetable stock
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 300g can of chickpeas in water, drained and rinsed
- 100g of fresh spinach
What you do:
- Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and red pepper, soften for 5 minutes.
- Add the chilli, garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken and cook until sealed all over.
- Stir in flour and ground spices, cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the stock, add the tomatoes, tomato purée and chickpeas, mixing well.
- Bring to the boil, stirring, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach at the last moment and cook until wilted.
- Serve immediately with wholegrain rice or a jacket potato.
Other high fibre recipe ideas
All the recipes below are high in fibre and healthy options for dinner. So, now it’s autumn, cosy in at home and try some of these delicious meals, safe in the knowledge you’re getting a good intake of fibre.