Study Finds New Reasons You Should Eat Your Fibre

By Jiri Kaloc

We all know that fibre is beneficial for regular pooping and happy microbes in the gut. New research from the University of Minnesota found an even bigger reason to include enough fibre in your diet! Let’s take a closer look.

Fibre from plants comes with other healthful compounds

The researchers found that plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains contain insoluble dietary fibre that comes with unique healthy bioactive compounds. These bioactives like Quercetin, Resveratrol, Catechins, Anthocyanins, Lutein, Lycopene, and Beta-Carotene have been linked to lower incidences of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes – benefits that go far beyond what we knew about fibre consumption itself.

A new way to get fibre with bioactives

If you’re having issues getting enough fibre from your regular diet, supplements may be a good option. The researchers suggested a new way to supplement fibre. Food production byproducts such as peel, hulls, pulp or pomace are generally high in fibre as well as these beneficial bioactives and therefore could be used to fortify processed foods to increase their nutritional value. This would be a sustainable, economical, and potentially tasty way to improve your diet.

Fruits and nuts
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains contain insoluble dietary fibre that comes with unique healthy bioactive compounds. © Profimedia

“The suggestion to eat more fruits and vegetables isn’t a novel idea but it’s something most people still struggle to do. If we can offer widely accessible fibre-fortified products that have been developed to enhance rather than negate bioactive content, we can provide consumers with increased nutritional value,” said Jan-Willem Van Klinken, co-author of the study.

Fibre intake recommendations

Until there are more foods fortified with fibre and bioactives, your best bet is to include enough plants in your diet. How much is enough? According to the European Food Safety Authority, adults should get 25 g of fibre per day. The average European eats 21 g of fibre per day so most people would benefit from eating more of it. Here are a few tips to help youboost your fibre intake.

  • Oatmeal breakfast. Oatmeal is high in fibre and it goes well with fruit, nuts, and seeds. It’s a great way to get a lot of fibre early in the day.
  • Go whole grain. Start buying wholegrain variants of your favourite bread, rice, and pasta and your fibre intake will go up. This is an easy win.
  • High-fibre snacks. Pack a few pieces of fruit when you leave for work, carry around a pack of nuts or a trail mix on the go, cut up crunchy carrots or celery to dip in peanut butter when at home.
  • Regular legumes. Aim for at least one meal that includes beans, peas, lentils or chickpeas per day. They’re fibre powerhouses and you’ll find a lot of tasty recipes that use them.