Fibre is an important part of our diet with numerous health benefits.
Despite this, many of us don’t get the amount of fibre we need for optimal digestive health — the average person only gets around 20-23g of dietary fibre a day, rather than the recommended 30g.
Further still, lots of people don’t know how to increase fibre intake to truly reap the benefits for their health. So what can you do to get more fibre in your diet?
In this guide, we’ll be looking at some easy ways that you can learn how to increase fibre intake — including the best sources of fibre, fibre supplements, and creating a high fibre diet plan — as well as exactly why dietary fibre is so important for you.
Why is fibre important?
Getting enough fibre helps to ensure that our digestive system remains healthy.
Here are some of the known digestive health benefits of dietary fibre:
- Aiding digestion: fibre promotes healthy bowel movements, may help reduce bloating and helps with maintaining regular bowel motions and assist with other digestive issues.
- Helping you feel fuller for longer: a high fibre diet plan may help with satiety and appetite
- Promoting good gut health: as a prebiotic, fibre feeds the ‘good’ bacteria in our gut, which is vital not just for digestive health, but also for the rest of your body
- Managing blood sugar levels: Fibre slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, helping to tackle sugar spikes. It also improves insulin sensitivity.
- Reducing the risk of cancer: further research needs to be carried out, but a fibre-rich diet has been linked to a lower risk of bowel cancer and other diseases of the colon.
- Preventing type 2 diabetes: eating plenty of fibre is thought to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
As you can see, it’s really important to make sure we have enough fibre in our diets.
How much fibre per day is needed?
Now you know why fibre forms such a vital part of our diet and just how important it is to our health, but how much fibre per day do you need?
The recommended daily intake of fibre for adults over 18 years old is around 30g for men and around 25g for women.
The recommended amount of dietary fibre for children varies depending on age. Young children aged between four and eight years old will need around 18g, children from nine to 13 years old will need between 20-24g, and older children between 14 and 18 years old need around 22-28g.
What can you do if you want to learn how to increase fibre intake?
Tips on how to increase fibre intake
Learning how to increase fibre intake doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are some easy-to-follow tips that will help bump up your fibre intake straight away:
- Choose brown or wholemeal pasta and rice over white alternatives
- Choose wholegrain breads and cereals such as rolled oats and multigrain bread
- Try and consume at least 5 vegetables and 2 fruits per day. Where possible, consume with the skin on. Add legumes, beans and other pulses into main meals
- Swap highly processed, high-sugar snacks like chocolate, cookies and cake for wholegrain bread and crackers, unsalted nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables
- Sprinkle mixed seeds, whole nuts, nut meals or nut butters over yoghurt, cereals, salads, and soups
When you’re trying to increase fibre intake, it can feel daunting to make lots of changes to your diet. Our advice? Start gradually, make small and easy changes, and take your time.
Good sources of fibre
Here are some of the best sources of fibre:
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds are all good sources of fibre. In particular, chia seeds are high in fibre, containing 33g of fibre per 100g.
- Whole grains: picking whole grains over refined grains (which have been stripped of their husks) will help to top up your fibre intake. Oats, barley, bulgur wheat, quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice are good sources of fibre.
- Pulses: beans of any kind, chickpeas, lentils, and other types of pulses are all good sources of fibre and can be easily added to soups, salads, casserole and pasta dishes
- Fruit and vegetables: because fibre comes from plant-based sources, all fruit and vegetables contain fibre. When choosing fruit and vegetables, aim for a variety of colours and try to consume the skin where possible.
It’s important to incorporate a range of these different fibre sources into your diet. Doing so will provide you with enough fibre to reach your recommended intake.
If you’re finding it hard to reach your fibre goals every day, it is possible to add supplements to your diet.
There are a few different types of supplements that you can use:
- Unprocessed bran: this is one of the cheaper sources of fibre, but while it is easy to add to various meals and recipes, it isn’t suitable for everyone.
- Fibre tablets and capsules: these generally contain a natural form of fibre from sources such as pectin (found in citrus fruits), cellulose, or psyllium (also known as ispaghula), which is made from plant husks.
It is important to note that you should use these products to supplement your existing fibre intake, and they should be used as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
How to make a high fibre diet plan
Below is an example of simple ways to increase your daily fibre intake to ensure you are meeting the recommended daily requirements to support good health.
- Breakfast: a bowl of porridge topped with chia seeds, honey, and 1 chopped banana, with super-charged a smoothie using, mixed berries, and milk
- Snack: a small handful of unsalted nuts
- Lunch: a quinoa-based salad topped with vegetables of your choice — we suggest tomatoes, avocado, kale and spring onion, with feta and sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top
- Snack: carrot and cucumber sticks with Hummus
- Dinner: Bean and Brown Rice salad using a mix of chickpeas and kidney beans, cherry tomato, avocado and spinach
Don’t worry — you don’t have to create a six-month fibre journey! Take it week by week to gradually increase your fibre intake over time.
Creating a weekly dietary fibre plan will get you mapping out meals and snacks for the week, and help you learn how to increase fibre intake and hit those fibre goals as you go along.
BOOST OPTIMUM contains 2.2g of fibre per serve. It contains probiotics and prebiotics to help in the normal function of digestive system.
BOOST OPTIMUM is a delicious adult nutritional supplement that contains high quality protein, Probiotics and Prebiotics, Vitamins and Minerals to address nutritional needs of adults. BOOST OPTIMUM may help improve your nutritional status and physical performance when combined with physical exercise in as early as 6 weeks*.
*P. Abizanda et al. / JAMDA 16 (2015) 439.e9-439.e16. The ACTIVNES Study