If you’re turning your nose up at beans and broccoli for fear of that universally-hated bloat, we’ve got bad news for ya. Eating fibre to reduce bloating is a winning strategy and keeping regular by eating a balance of fibre-rich foods is going to be a much better strategy than chomping on prunes after a week of nothing but pasta and pizza.
In fact, on average we take in 60 per cent or less of what’s recommended. A high-fibre diet has many essential benefits including improving your digestive system and reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases in the long term.
One of the barriers to increasing intake may be the lurking myths which discourage people from focusing on high-fibre foods. Kellogg’s Nutrition and Public Affairs Manager as well as Registered Dietitian, Linda Drummond, shares the facts to clear up some common misconceptions…
Fact: It’s best to eat your fibre
The World Health Organisation recommends a daily intake of at least 25g per day for adults*. This requirement can be met by taking small steps to increase food sources each day. Fibre-rich foods offer additional intrinsic nutrient benefits such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
The naturally occurring combination of these nutrients can never be perfectly replicated or manufactured. Despite supplements being available on the market, experts agree that when looking for particular nutrients, food sources are the best choice.
To meet the daily recommendation, choose a high-fibre breakfast every morning, eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day and replace animal protein sources with a vegetable source such as beans or legumes regularly.
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Fact: Not all fibres are created equal
Skipping this essential part of your diet? Read these facts and you may consider adding a few apples and bran flakes to your breakfast…
There are many different types of fibre from different food sources, which play unique roles in the body, contributing to overall well-being. Wheat bran, composed mostly of insoluble fibre, is the most effective cereal to promote regularity. Apples, barley, carrots, legumes and oats are rich in soluble fibre, which has a cholesterol-lowering effect.
Other benefits of a high-fibre diet include helping to achieve normal blood sugar levels and to assist in the maintenance of a healthy body weight. By including a variety of different sources and types of it in your diet, it’s possible to improve several functions of the body.
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Fact: It isn’t just for constipation
The benefits of regular and adequate intake, nutrition experts all over the world agree that most carbohydrate-based foods eaten on a daily basis should be a source. In fact, the South African Guidelines for Healthy Eating, which provide nutrition messages to the general public, recommend that everyone should have an intake of at least 25g per day to ensure healthy functioning of the gut, as well as decreased risk for lifestyle-associated chronic diseases.
Increasing the intake (particularly wheat bran) prevents food from lingering in the digestive system, which can cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable. By absorbing water and creating bulk, it speeds up the passage of food through your system, helping to prevent constipation.
Fibre helps food move through the digestive system and plays a bulking role so that undigested food can be more easily eliminated. Fibre plays a vital role in helping keep the walls of the digestive tract healthy. A high-fibre diet can help to reduce that bloated feeling.
When beginning to increase your intake, do so slowly to allow your body to become accustomed to the change. This will help to ensure that you do not experience bloating with a sudden increase in fibre intake.
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Fact: There are risks associated with following a low-carb diet
One of the risks of following a low-carb diet is that it would be even more difficult to meet one’s requirements, as the major sources of fibre are also sources of carbohydrate. By not meeting your requirement, there is a risk that you may experience digestive discomfort and constipation, as well as an increased chance of developing chronic diseases in the long-term.