Dietary fibre isn’t exactly the most exciting term in the wellness world. Unlike trendy buzzwords like keto and paleo, it can conjure up images of tasteless grains, and the type of brown-bread sandwiches you hated as a kid.

But fibre it isn’t as bland as you think – and there’s good reason why all of us should take conscious steps to make sure we’re getting enough.

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A recent study published in The Lancet study found people who routinely eat lots of fibre have significantly lower rates of diseases like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, compared with those who consume much lower amounts. Yet, the British Nutrition Foundation says that in the UK, most people still don’t fall within the government guidelines for daily fibre intake.

Lots of us aren’t eating enough fibre
Lots of us aren’t eating enough fibre (iStock/PA)

So, why is fibre so important, and what can we do to make sure we’re regularly topped up? We asked some health experts for their top tips…

How much fibre should I be eating?

“We recommended that adults in the UK eat 30g of fibre a day, but on average we’re eating much less – about 20g per day,” says Bridget Benelam, nutrition communications manager at The British Nutrition Foundation (nutrition.org.uk).

It can be tricky to tell if you’re deficient in fibre, but she says the biggest clue will often be your bowel movements. “A lack of fibre can affect different people in different ways, but suffering from constipation can be a major indicator that you are not getting enough.”

It’s not all about toilet habits though. “Even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms, it’s worth thinking about upping your fibre intakes,” Benelam adds, “as we know that fibre is really important for our long-term health.”

What exactly is fibre?

Dietary fibres are found in the indigestible parts of plants, such as the leaves, stems and roots. “Fibre is basically carbohydrates that are found in plant-based foods, like fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains,” explains Dr Naveen Puri, lead physician at Bupa Health Clinics (bupa.co.uk).

Puri explains that fibre is unique because it stays in your digestive tract for nearly the entire digestive process. “Fibre isn’t broken down and absorbed in your small bowel like other types of food, but passes undigested into your large bowel. In this way, it helps to keep your digestive system in good working order.”

Some key examples of high-fibre foods
Some key examples of high-fibre foods (iStock/PA)

It’s often referred to as two different types – soluble and insoluble. “Soluble fibre is generally thought to have more effect in your small bowel, and insoluble fibre in your large bowel,” Puri continues.

“However, many scientific organisations argue that this picture is no longer clear-cut and, as a result, these terms are being phased out. You may still see these terms being used, but what’s really important to remember is to eat a variety of different fibre-containing foods.”

Why is fibre important for health?

Experts say fibre is responsible for keeping us full throughout the day, keeping our digestion regular, and even protecting us from some major health issues down the line. It’s also very important for general gut health and microbiome, which supports multiple functions throughout the body and brain.

“Fibre has lots of important roles in our body, including keeping our bowels regular and our microbiome healthy, reducing the amount of saturated fat we absorb from our diet, regulating our blood sugars and keeping us feeling full after meals,” says dietitian Sophie Medlin (@sophiedietitian).

Fibre is important for all-round good health
Fibre is important for all-round good health (iStock/PA)

She explains that a high-fibre diet is linked with a reduced chance of developing many common problems such as diverticular disease and irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, diabetes and even weight problems.

As well as protecting your health, it can also make going to the toilet more comfortable too. “Fibre bulks up stools, makes them softer and easier to pass, moving waste through the digestive tract more quickly,” says Puri.

How can I eat more fibre?

Here, experts share some simple strategies for boosting your fibre intake.

1. Prioritise breakfast

“Kick off the day with a high-fibre breakfast like porridge, Shredded Wheat or whole-wheat cereals,” advises Puri.

Not only will this set you on track to hitting your nutrition goals, but it will help keep you full until lunchtime.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Snack on fruit

Getting your five-a-day is a great way to keep on top of your fibre intake. “Replace unhealthy snacks with fresh fruit and veg, oatcakes or unsalted seeds and nuts,” suggests Puri.

3. Switch to brown versions

As a general rule, white carbs are lower in fibre than their brown or wholemeal alternatives.

“For example, wholemeal or granary bread typically has higher fibre than white bread,” notes Puri. “Similarly, brown rice and pasta will normally be higher in fibre than the white alternatives, so consider making the swap next time you’re at the supermarket.”

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Leave the skins on your spuds

If you’re cooking potatoes, Puri says leaving their skins on will increase the fibre content on your plate. Simply give them a scrub before cooking.

5. Sprinkle some seeds

“Seeds are high in fibre, and you can sprinkle them onto soups, salads, breakfasts and avocado,” says Medlin, who adds that they give a delicious nutty crunch to dishes too.

6. Pulse it out

High fibre foods Piles of a variety of healthy organic legumes.

In recent years, there’s been a general shift towards having more meat-free days, both for environmental and health reasons – and beans and pulses are a great way to bulk out plant-based meals.

“Pulses like beans, chickpeas and lentils are good fibre providers. You could try using these instead of meat in dishes like stews or curries,” says Benelam.

Bottom line? Many of us need to eat more fibre and have fewer added sugars in our diet, so prioritising wholefoods over processed convenience foods is a good aim. If you’re struggling to follow a high-fibre diet or concerned you’re not getting enough, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist.

Best-selling fibre supplements

Want to increase you fibre intake? Check out our list of best-selling fibre supplements

SaleBestseller No. 1
Psyllium Husks Fibre Supplement – 1400mg per Serving – Naturally High in Soluble Fibre – 180...
  • ✔︎ WHY BUY NUTRAVITA’S PSYLLIUM HUSK CAPSULES? - Our Psyllium Husk supplement contains 100% pure, high grade psyllium husk powder that is derived from the seeds of Indian Plantago ovata plant,...
  • ✔︎ NATURAL SOURCE OF SOLUBLE FIBRE - Not all fibers are the same. Psyllium or Ispaghula is a form of soluble fiber often referred to as bulking fibre because of its excellent water solubility. It...
  • ✔︎ PURE PSYLLIUM HUSK POWDER IN EACH CAPSULE - Our fiber supplement has NO fillers or excipients, NO magnesium stearate or silicon dioxide, just 100% psyllium husk fibre to promote regularity and...
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Psyllium Husk Capsules - 1300mg Fibre Supplement - 180 Vegan Capsules with Added Peppermint & Ginger...
  • ✔︎ WHAT IS PSYLLIUM HUSK? - Psyllium is a bulk-forming fibre. This means it soaks up water in your gut and makes bowel movements much easier and can help promote regularity. It can be added to...
  • ✔︎ WHY ADD PEPPERMINT AND GINGER? – We have extensively researched the perfect combination of ingredient to complement the excellent dietary fibre that is Psyllium Husk. We have found that...
  • ✔ QUALITY VEGAN INGREDIENTS – You can rest assured that every supplement we produce is vegan and made with the highest quality ingredient and standards. Our capsules are HPMC, a plant-based...
Bestseller No. 3
Psyllium Husk Capsules 700mg - 240 Vegan Capsules - 1400mg Per Serving - Natural Prebiotic Fibre...
  • ✔ A THIRD MORE - Enjoy incredible value for money with our Psyllium Husk capsules, providing 33% more capsules per bottle than most other brands. We offer a full 4 month supply of premium, high...
  • ✔ NATURAL SOURCE OF FIBRE - Dietary fibre offers a range of health benefits. However, not all are the same and some people are intolerant to some varieties such as Bran. Psyllium (also known as...
  • ✔ VEGAN & KETO FRIENDLY - We have ensured that our Psyllium Husk capsules are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans and allow for those following a Keto, Paleo, Coeliac or low-carbohydrate diet...
SaleBestseller No. 4
Psyllium Husk Fibre Supplement Capsules - 1000mg Supports Daily Rhythm for Effective Cleanliness -...
  • 🌱 NATURAL SOURCE OF FIBRE - Fibre Boost Psyllium Husk capsule offers a range of health benefits within the body also known as Ispagula. Giving you a soluble fibre thats made from the husks of...
  • 🌱 HIGH IN SOLUBLE FIBRE - Time to restore & maintain regularity. Fibre Boost also has prebiotic effects that can help promote the importance of digestive health in each of us along with help...
  • 🌱 WHY BUY PHARMTECT FIBRE SUPPLEMENT? - In Fibre Boost we use 100% pure, high grade Psyllium Husk Fibre powder that is derived from the seeds of Plantago Ovata plant & is encapsulated in an easy to...
Bestseller No. 5
Organic Psyllium Husks - Fibre Supplement 1400mg per Serving - 180 Capsules - Natural Prebiotic...
205 Reviews
Organic Psyllium Husks - Fibre Supplement 1400mg per Serving - 180 Capsules - Natural Prebiotic...
  • EXTRA FIBRE THE EASY WAY – Odourless, flavourless, easy-to-swallow and high strength, these SuperSelf psyllium husk capsules are designed to make increasing your dietary fibre easy. Suitable for...
  • PURE NATURAL PREBIOTIC – Encourage gut flora health with this high strength prebiotic. Dietary fibre supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria known as probiotics. Each serving contains 1400mg of...
  • CERTIFIED ORGANIC – A natural product, psyllium husk supplement contains soluble fibre derived from the seeds of a herb known as ispaghula or plantago ovata. Used in traditional remedies from the...
Bestseller No. 6
Organic Prebiotic Fibre Supplement - 3000 mg Fibre - Award Winning Gut Health Fibre Powder of 9...
  • LOVED BY OVER 10,000 CUSTOMERS - Love Thy Gut is an AWARD WINNING, 100% organic prebiotic fibre powder & gut health supplements for women, that is designed to provide high fibre content, gut loving...
  • PREMIUM INGREDIENTS WITH PROVEN BENEFITS: Unlike single ingredient products like inulin, Love Thy Gut brings together diverse sources of dietary fibre from inulin, baobab, flaxseed & berries to...
  • WOMAN FOCUSSED: It has taken over a year and 1000’s of (wo-)man hours in research, testing & sourcing the most potent plants around the world to create a blend that supports the healthy lifestyle of...
Bestseller No. 7
Psyllium Husk Capsules. 700mg Psyllium Husk Powder Per Capsule, 120 Vegan Capsules. Natural Fibre...
  • ★ 120 VEGAN CAPSULES OF PSYLLIUM HUSKS: Easy-to-swallow capsules which can swallowed whole for convenience or split and sprinkled into water. A highly effective, natural source of fibre that is...
  • ★ BENEFITS: Helps to restore and maintain regularity and thanks to it's prebiotic effects can help to promote overall digestive health in people with conditions such as IBS, colitis and crohn's
  • ★ RESTORE YOUR NATURAL RHYTHM: Acts as a gentle colon cleanse to aid in the reduction of bloating & constipation. Commonly used as a natural laxative, it can also relieve diarrhoea

Last update on 2021-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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