High-fibre foods

Fibre is the part of a plant that your body cannot or can only partially digest. It has a number of positive health effects. Fibre can be found in grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit, for example. Eating fibre, whilst also making sure you drink enough, is beneficial for bowel movements. In addition, fibre helps you feel full (for longer), meaning that it can help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight. It is recommended that you eat 30 to 40 grams of fibre each day. Making sure you drink enough, preferably water, is also important. Examples of foods that are high in fibre include wholemeal bread, breakfast cereals, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, beans, pulses, raw vegetables, green leafy vegetables (preferably al dente), unpeeled fruit, such as berries, blackberries and apples, and dried fruits.

Eating high-fibre foods and your health

There are a number of health effects associated with eating foods that are high in fibre.

High-fibre foods reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease

Constipation is a risk factor for Parkinson’s. Fibre, which is beneficial for bowel movements, can help to prevent constipation. You should therefore include sufficient fibre in your diet and also vary the high-fibre foods that you eat.

To maintain good bowel movements, it is also important to drink enough (water), as otherwise the fibre can lead to constipation.

High-fibre foods reduce the risk of a stroke

The risk of a stroke may be reduced by eating foods that are high in fibre every day. Dietary fibre has a protective effect with regard to the risk factors associated with having a stroke.

It lowers your blood pressure, for example, helps to prevent you from becoming overweight (fibre makes you feel full) and has a positive effect on your cholesterol level. Important sources of dietary fibre include wholegrain cereals and fruit.

High-fibre foods reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases

The risk of cardiovascular diseases may be reduced by eating foods that are high in fibre every day. Dietary fibre has a protective effect with regard to the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases.

It lowers your blood pressure, for example, and helps to prevent you from becoming overweight (fibre makes you feel full). Some fibres, in particular beta-glucans found in oats and barley, also have a positive effect on your cholesterol level, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Pectin, which is naturally present in apples, also lowers cholesterol. Every extra 7 grams of dietary fibre consumed per day reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 10%. Important sources of dietary fibre include wholegrain cereals and fruit.

High-fibre foods reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

Eating a good amount of dietary fibre reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. There are a number of explanations for this. Firstly, fibre helps you feel full for longer, which reduces your risk of becoming overweight. Overweight is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Carbohydrates are also absorbed more slowly from high-fibre foods, meaning that blood glucose and insulin levels can be better regulated. As a result high insulin spikes are prevented and insulin sensitivity is improved.

You should therefore eat sufficient wholegrain cereals, green leafy vegetables and fruit, such as forest fruits, apples and pears.

High-fibre foods reduce the risk of breast cancer

There are indications that the risk of breast cancer is reduced by eating sufficient dietary fibre. Important sources of dietary fibre include wholegrain cereals and fruit.

High-fibre foods reduce the risk of bowel cancer

The risk of developing bowel cancer can be reduced by eating foods that are high in fibre every day. Fibre is beneficial for bowel movements, which is a protective factor for bowel cancer. It is important not just to eat sufficient fibre, but also to vary the fibre that you eat.

To maintain good bowel movements, it is also important to drink enough (water), as otherwise the fibre can have the opposite effect and lead to constipation in the bowels. The risk of bowel cancer can be reduced by 10% for every extra 10 grams of fibre consumed each day. Fibre derived from grains seems to be responsible in particular for this effect.

iGene Passport

iGene offers you an insight into your personal risks of developing conditions and tells you whether eating high-fibre foods may be particularly important for you to help prevent certain conditions. In addition, an iGene Passport provides you with information on what else you can do to reduce any risks. Here we focus on behaviour that will help you maximise the benefits to your health. In the publication below you can read more about what iGene can do for you.

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