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High fibre foods

High Fibre Food

By Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses are all good sources of fibre.

But with cereal-based foods such as breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and bread, the amount of fibre depends on how much of the outer layer of the grain has been stripped away in the milling and refining process. The more processing a cereal has been through, the lower its fibre content will be. Meanwhile, it’s not just fibre that’s lost during processing. Many vitamins and minerals are also found in the outer layers of the grain, so when these are removed, these vitamins and minerals are also lost. As a golden rule, always choose brown over white. When it comes to shopping, this means bagels, croissants, cornflakes and white rice should stay on the shelf, while wholegrain bread, wholewheat pasta, branflakes and brown rice should go into the trolley.

The following foods are all good sources of dietary fibre…

  • Wholemeal, granary and softgrain varieties of bread
  • Jacket potatoes, new potatoes in their skins and baked potato skins
  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals, eg. Weetabix, branflakes, unsweetened muesli, Shreddies and porridge oats
  • Wholemeal pasta and brown rice
  • Beans, lentils and peas
  • Fresh and dried fruits – particularly if the skins are eaten
  • Vegetables – particularly if the skins are eaten
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wholemeal flour

How about adding bran to my breakfast cereal?

Bran is a rich source of fibre, but there are far more pleasurable and healthy ways to boost fibre intakes! Not only is raw bran quite unpalatable but it doesn’t provide the other nutrients found in fibre-rich foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals. Plus it can reduce the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron, calcium and zinc. For this reason, it’s no longer recommended that you sprinkle raw bran onto breakfast cereal.

Is there a simple way to tell if a food is a good source of fibre?

Looking at food labels is one of the easiest ways to identify whether or not a food contains a little or a lot of fibre. The Food Standards Agency recommends that any product claiming to be a ‘source’ of fibre should contain 3g fibre per 100g or at least 3g of fibre in the amount that could reasonably be expected to be eaten in one day. To claim that a food is high in fibre, the product must contain at least 6g per 100g or at least 6g in the amount that could be expected to be eaten each day. Otherwise, use the table below to see the fibre content of some common foods.

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