However, 90% of the world’s population don’t eat enough of it. According to a study from the University of Otago in New Zealand, people should be eating a 25 – 30g of fibre each day but most people around the world are eating less than 20 g.
Fibre is famously known for reliving constipation but there are much more health benefits such as reducing the chances of debilitating heart attacks, strokes and as type-2 diabetes. It also keeps weight, blood pressure and cholesterol down. The Lancet Medical Journal analysed from 185 studies and 58 clinical trials that if you shifted 1,000 people from a low fibre-diet (<15 g) to a high fibre-diet, it would prevent 13 deaths and six cases of heart disease.
Fibre helps us feel full and aids in the absorption of fat in the small intestine. In the large intestine, there is a population of gut bacteria that ferments the fibre as a source of their food. The survival of these bacteria is essential for a balanced and healthy gut.
The importance of eating fibre should be emphasised in today’s world where low-carbohydrate diets are becoming increasingly popular. Research confirms the fibre is important for long-term health so cutting out fibre from the diet is not recommended.
It is commonly misunderstood that bananas have a great source of fibre however, out of the 120g that a banana weighs, only 3 g of fibre is present. Foods that have a greater source of fibre than bananas are breakfast cereals, whole-grain breads and pasta, nuts, seeds and pulses such as beans, lentils and chickpeas.
So what does 25-30g of fibre look like? Here are a list of examples that Elaine Rush, a professor of nutrition at Auckland University of Technology put together:
- Half a cup of rolled oats
- Two weetbix biscuits
- One thick slice of brown bread
- One cup of cooked lentils
- One potato cooked with skin on it
- Half a cup of silverbeet
- An apple with the skin on it