Are you eating enough fibre? | Eurasia Diary -

19 June, Wednesday

Are you eating enough fibre?

Landmark study finds eating high-fibre diet cuts risk of chronic diseases and early death

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Most people are aware that eating fibre helps keep you “regular” but a landmark new analysis suggests the health benefits may be far greater than previously realised.

According to a review of 185 studies and 58 clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years, high-fibre diets decreases the risk of premature death as a result of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer. 

In fact, people who ate the most fibre were found to have a 15% to 30% reducted risk of early death and chronic diseases than those who consumed the least, CNN reports.

The researchers, from the University of Dundee and the University of Otago in New Zealand, concluded that “we should be eating at least 25g to 29g of fibre a day, with indications that over 30g is even better”, says The Guardian.

Study co-author John Cummings, emeritus professor of experimental gastroenterology at the Scottish institution, told the BBC: “The evidence is now overwhelming and this is a game changer that people have to start doing something about it.”

However, the findings, which will inform upcoming World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, may alarms some Brits. NHS statistics suggest that women and men in the UK consume just 17g and 21g fibre respectively each day. 

The researchers’ conclusions will also be a blow to proponents of low-carbohydrate diets, notes The Guardian. Although sugar is a “bad” carbohydrate, fibre is found in “good” carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread and oat-based muesli, the newspaper explains.

Also known as roughage, fibre refers to the parts of plant-based foods that the human body cannot digest. Along with whole grains, dietary sources include fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses and nuts.

Lentils, kidney beans, artichokes and avocados are all particularly rich in fibre, which can aid digestion and prevent constipation, while making you feel fuller for longer.

If you’re looking to up your fibre intake, the NHS has provides the following tips:

  • Choose a higher-fibre breakfast cereal such as plain wholewheat biscuits (like Weetabix) or plain shredded whole grain. Porridge oats are also a good source of fibre

  • Go for wholemeal or granary breads, or higher-fibre white bread, and choose wholegrains such as wholewheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice

  • Cook potatoes with their skins on

  • Add pulses such as beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads

  • Include plenty of vegetables with meals, either as a side dish or added to sauces, stews or curries

  • Have some fresh or dried fruit, or fruit canned in natural juice, for dessert

  • For snacks, try fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes and unsalted nuts or seeds

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