Get rough with your diet

Eating more dietary fibre is one of the nutrition guidelines that many New Zealanders are not following.

Eating more dietary fibre is one of the nutrition guidelines that many New Zealanders are not following. New Zealanders only eat an average of 20g per day of fibre while the nutrition guidelines recommended 25-30g daily. The two types of fibre needed for good health have slightly different actions in the body. Soluble fibre (pectin, gums, oats, legumes and fruit) lowers blood cholesterol levels, assisting with reducing the risk for heart disease, and slows digestion, helping control diabetes (this slows the rise in blood glucose levels). Insoluble fibre (found in lignin, bran and wholegrains) swells in the gut and bulks up the mass, speeds up the passage through the gastrointestinal system, reduces the strain of having a bowel motion and reduces the risk of developing diverticulosis.

Fibre makes food more filling, so that you eat less (it also takes longer to chew. making meals last longer) and this assists weight control. Studies showed diners ate less at lunch if they had oat fibre for breakfast. Fibre also relieves constipation (enhances the flow of waste) and reduces the intestinal risk of disease (such as cancer) as there is less time in the gut for undesirable forms to have contact with the lining of GI tract. Fibre’s role in weight control has been well recognised; including more whole fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds is more filling, reducing the total energy intake of a meal or a day.

Fibre content of some common foods:

½ c sunflower seeds 4.5g

½ c walnuts 3.0g

½ c peanuts 6.3g

½ c almonds 5.7g

½ c cashews 4.4g

1 cup frozen vegetables 8.6g

1 cup canned tomato in juice 6.6g

1 cup taro leaves 7.1g

1 cup cooked silverbeet 5.6g

1 cup cooked potato 2.8g

1 cup cooked peas 8.5g

1 cup cooked lentils 4.0g

1 cup cooked kumara 6.0g

1 cup cooked sweet corn 7.9g

1 cup cooked cauliflower 2.5g

1 cup cooked carrots 5.0g

1 raw capsicum 1.2g

1 cup cooked cabbage 2.2g

1 cup cooked broccoli 5.2g

1 cup cooked beetroot 3.4g

1 cup baked beans 16.3g

1 cup porridge 2.1g

1 cup muesli porridge 7.9g

1 cup averaged muesli cereals 12.2g

1 cup bran cereal 15.0g

Check breakfast cereal and bread labels as levels vary widely.

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