Neill’s Flour want families across Northern Ireland to make a date of a different kind this February, as it’s time to talk about the ‘F’ word: Fibre!

Throughout February we are celebrating fibre – highlighting why having it regularly is important and helping those who may be missing out. Keavy O’Mahony-Truesdale from Neill’s Flour Sales explains: “Most of us have a general understanding that fibre-rich foods like wholegrain products, fruit and vegetables are good for us, but the advent of low (and sometimes no) carb diets has seen people move away from fibre and forget about the incredible benefits that it has to offer as part of a healthy diet. As part of our ‘Fibre February’ campaign, we’re really urging people in Northern Ireland to find out more about fibre and its long-term health benefits – and to ask themselves if they are eating enough of this ‘super nutrient’.”

Here’s a top ten of health benefits found in bread and reasons why you should be eating more of it…

  1. Dietary fibre has many health benefits. Dietary fibre can help prevent coronary heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. A study of 40,000 women in the US found that increasing fibre consumption was more important in preventing cardiovascular disease than increasing consumption of other foods, such as fruit and veg.
  2. Dietary fibre is important for digestive health. Digestive complaints such as constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn and bloating are very common and usually treatable with lifestyle measures such as increasing your fibre intake.
  3. There are two main types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Both soluble and insoluble fibre are important for good health so you need to include both in your diet. Soluble fibre helps your body make poo, and insoluble fibre helps your body get rid of the poo.
  4. Both men and women need to eat 30g of fibre a day. This means that on average men need to increase their fibre consumption by 50% and women by a staggering 75%.
  5. Most children need to increase their fibre consumption by 50%. 2-5 year olds should be eating 15g of fibre-a-day, 5-11 year olds 20g a day, 11-16 year olds 25g a day.
  6. Dietary fibre can help with weight loss. Dietary fibre can help you feel fuller for longer so can help you maintain or lose weight.
  7.  Increase fibre consumption gradually. If you plan to increase your fibre intake, it is a good idea to do it gradually, especially from foods providing insoluble fibre otherwise you may get stomach cramps. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids (8-10 glasses per day for adults).
  8. Dietary fibre can produce ‘good bacteria’. Some types of fibre can be fermented by gut bacteria, producing substances that appear to be good for gut health. Providing ‘food’ for gut bacteria can also help increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut.
  9. Even white bread contains fibre. All bread and flour products contain fibre – just in different amounts. Two slices of the following breads contain, on average the following amount of fibre: regular white sliced bread 2.2g of fibre, high-fibre bread 5.2g, wholemeal 5.0g, seeded wholemeal around 11g per two slices.
  10. Base all your meals on starchy carbohydrates. According to Public Health England and experts at the British Nutrition Foundation, in order to reach the 30g a day target for fibre we will need to base all our meals on starchy carbohydrates.

Irish Stout Wheaten Bread

Nothing beats the irresistible taste and aroma of freshly baked bread in your kitchen. This wheaten bread is fullof fibre and is delicious just out of the oven, simply cut into thick slices and serve with butter or toast it and add butter and tasty jam. Or try it with soup, chowder, smoked salmon or salads…

250g wholemeal flour | 60g strong white flour | 50g oatmeal | 1 tsp dark brown sugar | 1 tsp baking soda | 1 tsp salt | 4 tbsp treacle | 30g soft butter | 100ml Irish Stout | 200ml milk |10g oats | 10g pumpkin seeds for lining tin and sprinkling on top


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Sieve the flours, soda and salt into a bowl, add the oatmeal and sugar and mix well.
  3. Heat together the treacle and butter, when melted add the stout and milk. Stir well.
  4. Combine the dry and liquid mixes, the resulting dough will be quite wet. Pour into a pre- greased 450g loaf tin dusted with oats and pumpkin seeds, sprinkle remainder on top and bake for 1 hour.
  5. The loaf should sound a little hollow when tapped underneath, allow to cool before slicing.

Recipe courtesy of Belfast Cookery School.



Heather Black

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