How To Up Your Fibre Intake

By Ellie Smith

2 weeks ago

High-fibre foods to add to your diet – and why it’s important


Fibre might not be the sexiest nutrient around, but there’s a lot of buzz around it at the moment – a result of an ever-growing body of research demonstrating its health benefits. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to suggest eating a fibre-rich diet can help protect from diseases, control blood sugar and keep our digestive system in check. However, more than 90 percent of UK adults aren’t getting enough, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS). So how can we up our intake?

Why Is Fibre Important?

Fibre, also known as roughage, is a term used for carbohydrates found naturally in plants. It’s the part of the plant which doesn’t get digested in your small intestine (unlike other carbohydrates, such as sugars and most starches), and consequently works to keep our digestive system functioning well. 

There’s plenty of evidence demonstrating the benefits of a high-fibre diet. This 2017 review of studies, for example, found that people who eat plenty of fibre have a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also crucial for good gut health: this two-week clinical trial showed that switching to a high-fibre diet significantly increased participants’ good bacteria. Other benefits include:

  • Lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer
  • Helping manage your blood sugar levels
  • Keeping you fuller for longer
  • Lowering cholesterol levels

Carrots

How Much Fibre Do We Need?

According to the NHS website, adults should be eating 30g of fibre per day. Most of us, however, are consuming an average of just 20g each day, so we should be looking for ways to up our intake. However, if you’re not used to eating lots of fibre, it’s advised to slowly increase the amount to avoid digestive issues.

Children need less: 

  • 2 to 5 year-olds: need about 15g a day
  • 5 to 11 year-olds: need about 20g a day
  • 11 to 16 year-olds: need about 25g a day

Which Foods Are Rich In Fibre?

Fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, legumes (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, peanuts). Some of the foods containing the highest amount include:

  • Chia seeds
  • Raspberries
  • Hummus
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Potatoes
  • Rye bread
  • Black beans
  • Avocados

Avocado toast

Easy Ways To Up Your Intake

  1. Choose a high-fibre breakfast (e.g. oats or wholegrain toast).
  2. Keep the skin on your potatoes.
  3. Snack on nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetable sticks.
  4. Include plenty of vegetables with your meals.
  5. Add pulses to your salads, stews and curries.