Dietary fibre is an essential component of a healthy diet. High fibre foods have a wide range of health benefits. Yet, most people do not meet their adequate daily requirement of fibre.
What is fibre?
Dietary fibre is the indigestible part of plant foods. It passes through the body undigested, keeping you feeling full. It also regulates the body’s use of sugar, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. The recommended daily intake of dietary fibre is 20-30 g.
What are the benefits?
Dietary fibre is important for the health and provides numerous benefits, e.g.:
- Promote bowel movement and prevent constipation
- Help reduce weight and body fat
- Better control of blood sugar and lower diabetes risk
- Promote healthy balance of gut microbiota
- Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
Where can you get fibre?
Dietary fibre can be found in various foods including whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. These foods are also rich in other essential nutrients including phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, giving you additional benefits.
How can I increase fibre in my diet?
Achieving the recommended daily intake is easier than you think. Here are a few simple things you can do right away:
- Eat fruits and vegetables with their skins on
- Add beans or lentils to salads, soups, and side dishes
- Replace white rice, bread and pasta with brown rice and wholegrain products
- Choose breakfast cereals that list wholegrains (e.g. brown rice, oatmeal, barley) as their first ingredient
- Snack on raw vegetables or fruits, instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars
- Choose pre-packaged foods with higher dietary fibre content
Sample menu to get your recommended fibre intake
- Breakfast: 4 tbsp of barley (1.6 g), 1 medium banana (2.4 g)
- Lunch: 2 cups of brown rice (1.8 g), 1 cups of carrot (4 g), 2 small pieces of tempe (3.2 g)
- Dinner: 2 slices of high-fibre bread (2.6 g), 1 cup of baked beans (7.6 g), 1 medium potato (2.6 g)
- Snacks: 1 medium pear (4 g), ½ cup of peanut (4.8 g)
- TOTAL = 34.6 g of fibre
It is actually easy to meet the fibre intake recommendations. All you have to do is make a conscious effort to include foods high in fibre into your diet to ensure a fitter, healthier you. A little research and planning will go a long way!