The NHS website suggests fibre can help us feel full, which means we're less likely to eat too much, so eating enough fibre can be important for weight management. Eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
A diet rich in fibre can also help digestion and prevent constipation.
You may have heard of the terms ‘soluble fibre’ or ‘insoluble fibre’– these are words that are sometimes used to describe the types of fibre in our diet. Although scientific organisations argue that these terms are no longer really appropriate, you may see these terms being used, with soluble fibre including pectins and beta glucans (found for example in foods like oats and fruit) and insoluble fibre including cellulose (found for example in wholegrains and nuts). What is important to remember is that fibre-rich foods typically contain both types of fibre.
In the UK adults are advised to consume 30 g of fibre a day, however, on average we are only eating 18 g per day.
Potatoes in their skins, wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals, brown rice, and wholewheat pasta, as well as fruit and vegetable, pulses, nuts and seeds, are all good sources of fibre. Just to give you an idea of the contribution potatoes can make to your daily fibre intakes:
A medium baked potato with its skin contains around 5g of fibre (about 16% of the recommended daily intake for an adult, about 20% for an adolescent and 25% for a primary school-aged child).
In fact, they’re pretty amazing! Potatoes pack quite a nutritional punch, seeing as they are naturally fat-free, a source of fibre, potassium, salt free, low in sugar and naturally saturated-fat free
The UK’s Eatwell Guide recommends that a healthy, balanced diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, basing meals on higher fibre versions of starchy carbohydrates (such as potatoes in their skins), some lower fat dairy foods or fortified dairy alternatives, some good quality protein foods (such as beans, pulses, eggs, fish and lean meat), and a small amount of unsaturated fats or oils.
Healthy eating involves eating the right amounts from each food group, maintaining a healthy weight, and of course enjoying your food.