It is well documented that the majority of kids and adults eating a typical animal-focused western diet do not get the recommended dietary intake of fibre (25-35g) whereas a balanced plant-based (all plants contain some fibre) diet guarantees you will be hitting your daily fibre requirements.
Anderson JW et al summarises the importance of making sure we get adequate fibre in our diets:
Dietary fiber intake provides many health benefits. However, average fiber intakes for US children and adults are less than half of the recommended levels. Individuals with high intakes of dietary fiber appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Increased intake of soluble fiber improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals. Fiber supplementation in obese individuals significantly enhances weight loss. Increased fiber intake benefits a number of gastrointestinal disorders including the following: gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids. Prebiotic fibers appear to enhance immune function. Dietary fiber intake provides similar benefits for children as for adults (1).
Most vegans eating whole foods (not processed packaged meals) get 35-50g of fibre/day. Fibre for plants is basically the same as bones is for animals… it’s the ‘structural’ component that holds every plant together & has been shown in many studies to:
✔ Reduce cardiovascular disease – 1 study in particular found an additional 10g of fibre/day reduced coronary events by 14% + coronary death by 27% (2). Its theorised that this protective cardiovascular effect may be a result of viscous fibre binding to cholesterol containing bile + then helping carry it out when you go to the toilet. ⠀
✔ Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by delaying the absorption of fat + carbs from the small intestine thus affecting insulin levels (3).
✔ Reduces weight + obesity.
✔Keeps you regular, helping to prevent constipation and haemorrhoids.
Remember, adequate fibre intake is just 1 benefit of switching to an all plant-based diet.
I have created the below diagram to show you the common plant-based foods I eat regularly (that I recommend you and your family consume too) and how much dietary fibre they are loaded with in a typical serving. I also went further and have added in the calories of this typical serving to help you easily add these into your meals while understanding the total caloric energy that each are providing you with and balance across your day according to your energy demands.
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