Fibre intake is often low in individuals especially those who struggle to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables in a day. Fibre is an important nutrient in the diet and below are a few ways to help you meet your daily fibre intake.
WHAT IS FIBRE?
Firstly, what is fibre? Fibre as defined by WHO includes all carbohydrates that are not digested or absorbed in the small intestine. It is recommended to have a daily intake of 25-35g of fibre, but many adults barely reach 20g a day and therefore have a low intake . Fibre intake in youths have also been reported as low with research finding 9 out of 10 children failing to reach the recommended fibre intake . As a result, many people including athletes need to focus on increasing their fibre intake for heath benefits. Yet, when increasing fibre intake, it is important to ensure you have a high fluid intake otherwise gastric problems such as constipation may arise. Also, consuming high fibre foods before training may cause a lot of gastric issues in certain athletes, so this should be avoided before training and competition, but fibre eaten afterwards will help to restore food intake.
WHY IS FIBRE IMPORTANT?
Fibre is essential in the diet to aid normal functioning of the digestive system. Too much or too little fibre can cause gastric issues. Dietary fibre has shown to be important in the development and management of various diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and associated with mortality .
WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR FIBRE INTAKE:
Fibre intake is essential in the diet to maintain adequate digestive functioning, but it has to be adequately timed around performance to prevent stomach pains or gastric issues in youth athletes. High fibre foods should be favoured after training and on rest days to prevent having a negative impact upon sports performance.
 Gill SK, Rossi M, Bajka B, Whelan K. Dietary fibre in gastrointestinal health and disease. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2020 Nov 18:1-6.
 Moshfegh A, Goldman J, Cleveland L. What we eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: usual nutrient intakes from food compared to dietary reference intakes. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2005 Sep 15;9.
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