The Life­sav­ing Food 90% Aren’t Eat­ing Enough Of

Fiji Sun - - Sun Spectrum -

If I of­fered you a su­per­food that would make you live longer, would you be in­ter­ested?

Nat­u­rally chances it of re­duces de­bil­i­tat­ing the as well heart as life-long at­tacks dis­eases and strokes such as type-2 And it di­a­betes. helps keep your weight, blood down. pres­sure and choles­terol lev­els

I should men­tion it’s cheap and widely avail­able in the su­per­mar­ket.

What is it?

Fi­bre - it’s not the sex­i­est thing in the world but a ma­jor study has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing how much fi­bre we really need to be eat­ing and found there are huge health ben­e­fits.

“The ev­i­dence is now over­whelm­ing and this is a game-changer that peo­ple have to start do­ing some­thing about it,” one of the re­searchers, Prof John Cum­mings, tells 0.

It’s well known for stop­ping con­sti­pa­tion - but its health ben­e­fits are much broader than that.

How much fi­bre do we need?

The re­searchers, at the Univer­sity of Otago, in New Zealand, and the Univer­sity of Dundee say peo­ple should be eat­ing a min­i­mum of 25g of fi­bre per day.

But they call this an “ad­e­quate” amount for im­prov­ing health and say there are ben­e­fits for push­ing past 30g (1oz).

Is that all? Well, a ba­nana on its own weighs about 120g but that’s not pure fi­bre. Strip out ev­ery­thing else in­clud­ing all the nat­u­ral sug­ars and wa­ter, and you’re left with only about 3g of fi­bre.

Most peo­ple around the world are eat­ing less than 20g of fi­bre a day. And in the UK, fewer than one in 10 adults eats 30g of fi­bre daily. On av­er­age, women con­sume about 17g, and men 21g, a day.

What other foods have more fi­bre in them?

You find it in fruit and veg­eta­bles, some break­fast ce­re­als, breads and pasta that use whole-grains, pulses such as beans, lentils and chick­peas, as well as nuts and seeds.

What does 30g look like?

Elaine Rush, a pro­fes­sor of nu­tri­tion at Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, has put to­gether this ex­am­ple for get­ting into the 25-30g camp: half a cup of rolled oats - 9g fi­bre | two Weetabix - 3g fi­bre | a thick slice of brown bread - 2g fi­bre

| a cup of cooked lentils - 4g fi­bre

| a potato cooked with the skin on - 2g fi­bre | half a cup of chard (or sil­ver­beet in New Zealand) - 1g fi­bre

| a car­rot - 3g fi­bre | an ap­ple with the skin on - 4g fi­bre

But she says: “It is not easy to in­crease fi­bre in the diet.”

Prof Cum­mings agrees. “It’s a big change for peo­ple,” he says. “It’s quite a chal­lenge.”

Are there any quick and easy tips? The UK’s Na­tional Health Ser­vice has a page full of them.

They in­clude: ■ cook­ing po­ta­toes with the skin on | swap­ping white bread, pasta and rice for whole­meal ver­sions | choos­ing high-fi­bre break­fast ce­re­als such as por­ridge oats | chuck­ing some chick­peas, beans or lentils in a curry or over a salad | hav­ing nuts or fresh fruit for snacks or dessert | con­sum­ing at least five por­tions of fruit or veg­eta­bles each day.

What will the ben­e­fit be?

Well, after analysing 185 stud­ies and 58 clin­i­cal tri­als, the re­sults are in and have been pub­lished in the Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal.

It sug­gests if you shifted 1,000 peo­ple from a low fi­bre diet (less than 15g) to a high-fi­bre one (25-29g), then it would pre­vent 13 deaths and six cases of heart dis­ease.

That’s dur­ing the course of these stud­ies, which tended to fol­low peo­ple for one to two decades.

It also showed lower lev­els of type2 di­a­betes and bowel can­cer as well as lower weight, blood pres­sure and choles­terol lev­els.

And the more fi­bre peo­ple ate, the bet­ter.

What is fi­bre do­ing in the body? There used to be a view that fi­bre didn’t do much at all - that the hu­man body could not di­gest it and it just sailed through.

But fi­bre makes us feel full and af­fects the way fat is ab­sorbed in the small in­tes­tine - and things really be­come in­ter­est­ing in the large in­testines, when your gut bac­te­ria get to have their din­ner.

The large in­testines are home to bil­lions of bac­te­ria - and fi­bre is their food.

It’s a bit like a brew­ery down there, ad­mit­tedly one you wouldn’t want a pint from, where bac­te­ria are fer­ment­ing fi­bre to make a whole load of chem­i­cals.

This in­cludes short-chain fatty acids, which are ab­sorbed and have ef­fects through­out the body. “We have this or­gan set up to di­gest fi­bre, which a lot of peo­ple just don’t use very much,” says Prof Cum­mings.

Why is this rel­e­vant now?

The fact that fi­bre and whole­grains and fruit and veg­eta­bles are healthy should not come as a sur­prise.

But there is con­cern peo­ple are turn­ing their back on fi­bre, with the pop­u­lar­ity of low-carb di­ets. Prof Nita Forouhi, from the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, says: “We need to take se­ri­ous note of this study.

“Its find­ings do im­ply that, though in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in the com­mu­nity at large, any di­etary regimes that rec­om­mend very low­car­bo­hy­drate di­ets should con­sider the op­por­tu­nity cost of miss­ing out on fi­bre from whole-grains.

“This re­search con­firms that fi­bre and whole-grain in­takes are clearly im­por­tant for longer term health.” The study has been done to help the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion come up with of­fi­cial guide­lines for how much fi­bre peo­ple should be eat­ing to boost health and they are ex­pected next year.

Anal­y­sis from BBC Re­al­ity Check One of the suggested ways of boost­ing the amount of fi­bre in your diet is to switch from white bread to brown or whole­meal. This is what has been hap­pen­ing to sales of those prod­ucts, based on a suc­ces­sion of gov­ern­ment sur­veys of house­hold spend­ing since 1974.

From the mid-seven­ties to the mid-eight­ies, white bread fell while brown and whole­meal rose. Since then, white bread sales have con­tin­ued to fall, but brown and whole­meal bread sales have been fall­ing for most of that pe­riod, although at a slower rate.

So it looks as if while over­all de­mand for bread has been fall­ing, a higher pro­por­tion of bread sold has been higher fi­bre.

Whole wheat pasta has made less of an im­pact on sales than higher fi­bre breads, with a sur­vey for the British Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tion find­ing that pasta ac­counted for less than 1 per cent of the oc­ca­sions on which peo­ple were con­sum­ing whole grains. Source: BBC News

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