Want To Live Longer? Eat More Fibre.
If you’ve given Veganuary a miss this year, it’s not too late to make a far easier change to your diet, which could really improve your health in the long term. A modest increase in fibre consumption can reduce the risk of many major diseases.*
When most people think of fibre they normally think of boring food such as All Bran. However fibre is actually present in many delicious foods that can easily be incorporated into your diet.
Feeling peckish? – Snack on nuts instead of muffins A 30 gram serving of pecans contains 3.2 grams of fibre while a similar serving of cashews contains 2 grams.
Don’t peel your fruit and vegetables. A pear contains roughly 5.5 grams while an unpeeled kiwi contains 3 grams. You are allowed to peel your bananas(!) however and each one typically contains 2.5 grams.
Don't peel your fruit and vegetables
Replace white bread with wholegrain or seeded (1 slice of wholegrain bread contains 3 grams).
Replace white pasta with wholemeal pasta (1 cup of wholemeal pasta contains 4.5 grams).
Baking cakes? Replace one third of flour with quick oats (1/2 cup of quick oats contains 4 grams).
Replace a third of meat with lentils. When making lasagne or meatballs, replace a third of the mince with lentils or uncooked oats (a 40 gram serving contains 4 grams of fibre).
Replace a third of your meat with lentils
If your diet doesn’t contain much fibre at present, it’s worth increasing the amount of fibre slowly. Add one portion (eg. piece of fruit) a day, then after one week add another portion until you’ve reached your daily target of 30 grams or more. If you go from little fibre to too much too quickly, you may feel bloated and gassy.
It's also important to drink more water. Fibre needs water so keep hydrating as you increase your fibre-rich foods.
Take the time to season your food and think about texture. If you make your food tasty, which is often more to do with flavour and texture than anything else, you’re more likely to stick to your new healthier way of eating.
Good luck and do let us know how you get on by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that Claire is not a professional nutritionist so these tips are based on tried-and-tested methods and may not work for everyone.
*According to the Lancet a mere 8 gram increase in fibre in your daily diet can result in a 19% decrease in the risk of heart disease; a 15% decrease in type II diabetes; and an 8% decrease in the risk of colon cancer. The national fibre recommendation for adults is 30 grams per day.