Did you know that almost 80% of Irish adults do not eat enough fibre? But most people think that they do!
Fibre has lots of benefits for us, in particular helping to keep digestion regular. Not eating enough fibre can causes lots of problems so it is very important that we all eat enough fibre everyday.
Why are so many Irish people missing out on Fibre?
Although we hear a lot about fibre many people have no idea about how much fibre they need everyday. Many people think that one bowl of high-fibre cereal in the morning is enough – but it is not even close! If you are going to get all of the fibre you need, you have to think about (and eat) fibre at every meal.
How much Fibre do we need everyday?
We need 24-35g of fibre everyday. This is the amount needed to see the best benefits as well as to keep digestion regular. The average person in Ireland eats less than 14g of fibre per day!
Look at the table below to see the amount of fibre in many foods – and then see what you need to do to make sure you are getting enough.
How can I add more fibre?
- You need to think about fibre at every meal
- Make sure you get your ‘5-a-day’ from fruit and vegetables – this will give you about 10g of fibre
- Go for a high fibre cereal for breakfast – check the labels and look for cereals with ‘6g of fibre or more per 100g of cereal’
- Add more beans – beans on toast, bean salads, chili-con-carne with kidney beans.
- Add lentils to soups, stews and casseroles. Try adding a handful of red lentils to Bolognese
- Go for brown rice, brown pasta and baked potatoes (and remember to eat the skins!).
- Make sure half of your plate at lunch and dinner comes from vegetables or salad.
- Add seeds like sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds to cereals, yoghurt and salads.
- Snack on nuts and dried fruit – go for mixed peanuts and raisins; apricots; brazil nuts and hazelnuts.
If you normally eat very little fibre, then you need to increase your fibre gradually over 2-3 weeks. It will take your bowel about six or eight weeks to get used to the extra fibre. You may find that you have some extra wind, mild cramps and changes in toilet habits until your bowel gets used to the changes.
Remember your water!
When fibre gets into your bowel, it works by soaking up lots of liquid to help keep everything soft and moving well. This means you have to increase the amount of water your drink when you increase your fibre. Aim for 1 ½ to 2 litres per day.