Making the most of fibre
At Bowel Cancer UK we believe fibre is an important
part of a bowel-healthy
diet. It adds bulk to your poo
and makes it easier and more comfortable to pass waste. We should
aim to get 18g a day in our diet.
Fibre can be insoluble
(which helps keep a healthy bowel and avoid constipation by helping
food move through the gut) and soluble (which helps to promote
healthy gut bacteria and lower cholesterol by slowing down
Good sources of insoluble fibre are wholegrains
Wheat and spelt, brown rice, raisins, root vegetable skins,
seeds and nuts.
Soluble fibre sources include:
Oats, berries, apples, celery, carrots, cucumber, beans, peas,
lentils and chickpeas.
So how much fibre does our food contain? Are you eating the best
types of food so you get enough fibre? Check out this helpful
fruit, pulses and vegetable
If you want to increase the amount of fibre in your diet, you
should do so slowly, especially nuts and beans. If you find that
too much fibre causes pain, wind or bloating, reduce it by a small
amount until your body adjusts and gradually increase it over
Make sure you drink plenty of water - around 1.5 litres per day.
Fibre attracts water to help bulk it up so it's very important to
ensure your body has enough.
We strongly recommend exercise as part of a bowel-healthy
lifestyle as this can help to keep your poo moving through
regularly and potentially stack the odds
against bowel cancer.
Knowing what's normal for
you is important so why not keep a bowel habit and symptom diary. This can help
you explain any symptoms to
a health professional, as well as keep a record of any reactions
you may have to foods.
Before making any dramatic changes to your diet, you
should consult a healthcare professional. If any symptoms persist,
please see your doctor.
Source: British Dietetic Association, 2012. http://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/index.html
People with existing bowel conditions or a history of bowel
cancer may not be able to tolerate some high fibre foods. For
specific information please see our factsheets.
While a high fibre diet can improve bowel health, it is not a
guarantee against bowel cancer. Find out more about bowel
cancer, family history or if you are concerned about
please call our Bowel Cancer Information and Support Service on
0800 8 40 35 40.
Please take part in the NHS Bowel Screening
Programme if you are in the eligible age range. Bowel screening
detects cancer at early stages, before symptoms are
obvious, and early detection saves lives.
Find out more about Channel
4's Food Hospital and The Fibre Challenge.
You can also download a handy app to check out the
assortment of fibre foods to add to your diet, print-out our stool
chart and monitor the effects of eating extra fibre over the next