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How fibre from wholefoods saves lives.


By: Information sourced from Science Daily

You'd be hard pushed to argue the results of a study containing data relating to 135 million- person years and 58 clinical trials involving 4,635 adult participants, although I'm sure people will try.

The study published in The Lancet, one of the world's oldest, most prestigious, and best known general medical journals found that people who eat higher levels of dietary fibre and whole grains have lower rates of non-communicable diseases compared to people who eat less fibre.

The results suggest a 15-30% decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24%. Per 1,000 participants, the impact translates into 13 fewer deaths and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease. Further study analysis revealed that increasing fibre intakes was associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol.

So how much fibre should we eat?

Scientists recommend we consume at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day. Most people worldwide consume less than 20 g of dietary fibre per day.

For every 8 g increase of dietary fibre eaten per day:

Total deaths and incidence of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer decreased by 5 - 27%.

For every 15 g increase of whole grains eaten per day:

Total deaths and incidence of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer decreased by 2 - 19%.

Intakes of more than 25g to 29 g of whole grains were associated with a 13-33% reduction in non-communicable disease risk.

"The health benefits of fibre are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism. Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels. The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer." says Professor Jim Mann.

What do we have to eat to achieve 29 g of fibre or more a day?

It's important to get dietary fibre from whole foods such as wholegrains, pulses, vegetables and fruit in preference to synthetic sources or extracted fibre in a bottle or jar from the chemist. Fibre taken in isolation may be harmful to people with low levels of iron and other minerals because phytates in fibre can bind onto minerals in the blood steam and be eliminated from the body. Naturally sourced fibre from wholefoods supply the body with other nutrients essential for good health and development .

How to achieve 35 g fibre in one day

Here is a typical day's intake using meals from The Greengrocer's Diet

Pre-breakfast
I glass green smoothie made with spinach, celery, mint and apple

Breakfast
cup muesli with fresh berries and yogurt

Lunch
Ploughman's Lunch with rye crackers and coleslaw

Afternoon snack
1 glass green smoothie made with spinach, celery, mint and apple
10 almonds

Dinner
Chicken, pine nut and coriander patties with salad
2 dates

Nutrition
Energy 6,300 kJ, Fibre 35 g

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