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A bowl of high-fibre cereal for breakfast can help keep you regular, but new research reveals how much it can do to ward off heart disease, some cancers and diabetes.
A study commissioned by the World Health Organisation, published last week, showed that people who eat lots of high-fibre and wholegrain foods are at a much lower risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Increase - Day - Amount - Bananas - Salad
For every 8 g increase in fibre a day — the amount in, say, two bananas, or a chicken salad sandwich — the researchers found that total deaths and incidence of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer fell by up to 27 per cent. There was also protection against stroke and breast cancer.
The authors of the study, published in The Lancet, believe we should all eat 30g of fibre a day — but 91 per cent of us do not consume anywhere near that amount.
Experts - Importance - Fibre - Diet - Health
Some experts believe that the importance of having adequate fibre in the diet has been drowned out by other health messages.
‘People have become very focused on cutting back on sugar and salt, and the importance of having adequate fibre in the diet seems to have become overlooked — but it is arguably as important, if not more so, for good health,’ says Professor Nita Forouhi, a public health physician and clinical scientist at the Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.
Fibre - Part - Plant - Foods - Vegetables
Fibre is the indigestible part of plant foods, found in vegetables, fruits, grains and beans. The richest sources include wholegrain bread and cereals, and fruit and vegetables such as berries, pears, oranges, broccoli and sweetcorn.
It speeds up the transit of waste through the colon, protecting against constipation and colon cancer. The fibre in oats, meanwhile, can cut cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
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