Let’s talk about dietary fibre! 

Let’s talk about dietary fibre! 

First things first, why is fibre important to include and be aware of in our diets? 

✓ Dietary fibre is essential for digestive health and regular bowel movements and has been linked to prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

✓ Dietary fibre assists in slowing gastric emptying and can assist in feeling more satiated for longer!! 

✓ Specific fibre types such as B-glucans can interfere with cholesterol reabsorption, helping to lower blood cholesterol levels and certain types of dietary fibres are known as prebiotics which act as fuel for the healthy bacteria in our gut!!

Key information to know about dietary fibre consumption:

  • Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is resistant to digestion
  • There are three main types of dietary fibre:
    1)  Soluble fibre - slows gastric emptying, absorbs water, softens the contents of our gastrointestinal tract (GIT) 
  1. Insoluble fibre - does not absorb in water and contributes to stool “bulk” 
  2. Resistant starch - assists in the production of healthy gut bacteria 

So how  much fibre should you be having?

The recommended daily fibre intake is 30g/day for males and 25g/day for females.

If you’re currently not consuming this amount be careful not to increase your intake too drastically to avoid GIT discomfort/a sore tummy! (including stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhea).

There isn't anything wrong with having more fibre than your daily recommended amount, however, large intakes (more than 75g/day) may lead to bowel upset and impair nutrient absorption.

So how do I get more fibre in my diet? Here are some sources of dietary fibre:

  • Eating a variety of plant based foods will assist in reaching fibre targets
  • Fruit - strawberries, apples, pears, bananas etc. 
  • Vegetables - onions, starchy vegetables (potato, pumpkin), tomatoes, celery etc. 
  • Whole grains - rice, bread, pasta, quinoa, oats, barley, rye, polenta, buckwheat etc. 
  • Legumes - lentil and bean varieties
  • Nuts/seeds - almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, walnuts, chia and flax seeds etc. 

Some ideas for simple boosts to your fibre intake can include:

  • Adding bran or psyllium husk to your cereal or yoghurt 
  • Adding lentils or beans to the protein portion of your meal 
  • The last key is to choose whole grain over refined varieties (brown vs white rice, wholemeal flour vs white flour)  
  • Plants generally have a combination of soluble fibre, insoluble fibre, and resistant starch, so make sure you are having a diversity and variety for optimal consumption!!

So remember – fibre is important and if you’re not consuming enough, be sure to increase it slowly into your diet to avoid having a sore tummy!