Five simple methods to increase your fibre intake.
Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and helps with digestive health, weight control and overall health. You may be aware fibre is good for your health.
But do you know the best way to increase fibre intake?
Below we’ve provided five simple methods that will help you and your family reach those fibre targets.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially those with skins or seeds.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks.
- Try a high fibre addition to your meals such as flaxseed or psyllium husk.
- Record the amount of fibre you are eating by using an app such as myfitness pal
- Try a variety of high fibre foods to find what you like.
Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially those with skins or seeds.
Soluble fibre such as pectin, found in pears, apples, and prebiotics like inulin, galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and fructooligosaccharides (F.O.S.), are able to dissolve in water and form a gel-like substance, softening stools.
Insoluble fibre like cellulose, predominant in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, which adds bulk to stools, supporting bowel movements.
Dietary fibre is found in plants and represents a range of carbohydrates that are indigestible by human enzymes. They go through the gastrointestinal tract mostly intact until they reach the colon where they’re either fermented by gut bacteria or used to bulk the stool. The form of fibre that can be utilised by the gut microorganisms for fuel and growth is defined as ‘prebiotic’.
"Prebiotics are specific types of fibre that encourage the growth and activity of good bacteria in the gut. They are found mainly in foods like Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, bananas, oats, and wheat."
Fruits and vegetables are a great way to increase fibre intake for both soluble and insoluble fibre. Buying organic produce also helps as you’ll be avoiding harmful pesticides.
Many fibre-rich foods are also high in protein, iron, antioxidants and vitamins.
For example, 100 grams of broccoli contains 9 grams fibre compared to 80 grams of white bread which only has 2.4 grams fibre5.
If your family are resistant to eating fibre-rich food at the beginning, try adding them into baked goods such as muffins or banana bread for extra fibre.
It’s important to remember there is no specific fibre intake that is healthy for everyone – it’s unique to each individual due to different lifestyles and medical history
However, there are general guidelines on fibre intakes depending on age group:
0-2 years - 11g fibre/day
3-5 years - 13g fibre/day
6-11 years - 19g fibre/day
12-19 years - 25g fibre/day
20-50 years - 30g fibre/day
51+ years - 21g fibre/day
Make sure to consult a doctor or nutritionist if you’re unsure about your specific fibre needs.
Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks.
One of the best ways to hydrate your body is by drinking water. Not only does it help with fibre intake, but it’s great for overall health. Aim to drink 2 litres of water per day. If you find it difficult to drink plain water, add some fruit or cucumber slices to give it some flavour.
Water helps fibre travel through your digestive system – fibre needs water to move out of your body.
Sugary drinks come with a lot of disadvantages. Sugary drinks supply more calories than needed and add to calorie intake for the rest of the day, which can contribute to weight gain. In addition, this type of fibre is quickly fermented in the colon leading to gas and bloating. Avoid sugary drinks such as sodas, fruit juice, energy drink or other sweetened beverages to help control fibre intake and your waistline.
If you’re craving a sweet drink, try a tasty fibre powder such as Lepicol. Lepicol is a sugar-free fibre supplement that can be added into shakes, smoothies or even taken with water as a fibre-rich drink. It’s non-GMO and made from natural ingredients including chicory root extract and white bean extract which provides 4 grams of fibre per serving3.
Try a high fibre addition to your meals such as flaxseed or psyllium husk.
Oats are a great food to increase fibre intake as they are high in beta-glucans, a type of soluble fibre. Also adding Lepicol to your oats also gives you an extra 4 grams of fibre, totalling 8 grams per serving!
To make fibre-rich oatmeal, cook 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup water or milk. stir in a spoonful of honey and Lepicol fibre powder, then top with your favourite fruits and nuts.
If you’re looking for a fibre-rich pre-workout snack, try mixing some fibre powder into your yogurt.
Greek yogurt is a high protein food that is great for snacks and pre-workouts. It also contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support gut health.
To make a fibre-rich yogurt snack, mix 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with 1/4 teaspoon flaxseed. stir until the powder is fully dissolved and enjoy!
Add fibre to your typical sandwich with a fibre-rich spread like hummus or avocado.
Both hummus and avocado are high in fibre and healthy fats. They’re also a great source of vitamins and minerals.
To make a fibre-rich sandwich, spread 1 tablespoon of hummus or avocado onto two slices of whole wheat bread. Add your favourite toppings such as cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce or sprouts.
Try incorporating fibre-rich foods into your evening meal. One way to do this is by making a fibre-packed salad.
Salads are a great way to get in a variety of vegetables, which all contain fibre. Also, adding flaxseed or Lepicol, mixed seed and nuts to your salads gives you an extra 4 grams fibre – a total of 8 grams fibre per serving!
To make a fibre-rich salad, toss together 1 cup of spinach leaves, ¼ cup cucumbers and ¼ red pepper. Top with 1 tablespoon of your favourite salad dressing and 1/4 teaspoon Lepicol fibre powder.
Dinner is a great time to add fibre-rich foods to your menu. There are many different recipes that include fibre-rich ingredients such as lentils, beans, quinoa and sweet potatoes.
One example is this black bean quinoa salad. It’s simple to make and contains fibre-rich ingredients like black beans, quinoa and tomatoes. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free!
If you’re looking for a fibre-rich snack, try making fruit muffins using fibre powder as one of the ingredients.
Fibre is often found in baked goods such as breads and muffins that are high in carbohydrates. To make these snacks healthier, try adding fibre powder to your recipes which will increase the fibre content without changing the taste too much.
To make fibre-rich fruit muffins, mix together 1 cup all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon fibre powder. Stir in ¼ cup (frozen or fresh) blueberries and ¼ sliced apple until fully combined. Divide the mixture evenly between 2 muffin cups and bake at 375° for 15 – 18 minutes.
There are many delicious fruit and vegetable desserts that you can make at home. One example is this baked apple recipe which uses cinnamon and raisins – both of which are high in fibre.
Baked apples are a healthy and fibre-rich dessert that are simple to make. To make them, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Cut 1 large apple into 8 thin slices and spread out on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons raisins. Top each apple slice with the mixture then bake for 25-30 minutes until the apples are soft. Enjoy!
While you don’t need fibre in every meal, aim to have some high fibre foods every day to reach your recommended intake. These five simple tips will help you do just that!
Record the amount of fibre you are eating by using an app such as myfitness pal
If you’re not sure how much fibre you are currently eating, or if you want to track your progress, there are a few apps that can help. It is important to increase fibre gradually if you’re not used to eating a lot of fibre, this will help minimize gas and bloating.
myfitness pal is one of the most popular apps to track fibre intake, calories, exercise and other nutrients. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. Simply enter the food you ate into the app and it will tell you how much fibre, protein, carbs and other nutrients are in it. This is a great way to see where you need to make changes in your diet.
If you’re looking for an app specifically designed to track fibre intake, try Fibre Tracker. It’s available for free on Android devices. This app tracks your daily fibre intake and lets you set goals to help you reach your recommended amount.
As mentioned earlier, if you’re not used to eating a lot of fibre it’s important to increase your intake gradually. This will help minimize gas and bloating. Start by adding an extra serving of fibre-rich food to your day, then gradually increase the amount until you reach your recommended intake.
This gradual increase will also help you get used to the changes in your digestive system and minimize any discomfort.
Try a variety of high fibre foods to find what you like.
There are plenty of high fibre foods that you may not have tried before, so mix it up and find what works for you.
Quinoa is a great source of fibre, but it can be expensive. To make quinoa more affordable, try using bulgur wheat as an alternative. Bulgur wheat has more fibre than quinoa but costs less per serving.
If you’re looking for fibre-rich snacks, consider fruit and nut mix. Fruit contains fibre and will keep you feeling full longer compared to fresh fruit which does not have as much fibre content.
Include fibre-rich whole grains in your diet to get fibre from carbs. Whole grains are foods that have been processed less than other grain products and can include oats, barley, brown rice and quinoa.
Since most fibre is found in the skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables, try eating these parts when possible. This goes for potatoes as well – if you use the skin to make fries or potato chips you’ll be getting more fibre! Note: some vegetables such as carrots don’t need their fibre-rich skins eaten since they easily digest into fibre when cooked.
30g of high fibre
- 2 tablespoons Chia seeds - 10g
- 2 tablespoons Flax - 5g
- 3 bananas - 9g
- 2 Apples 5g
- A handful of nuts - 2g
- A handful of blueberries - 3.7g
- A handful of raspberries - 4g
- A cup of almond milk - 1.2g
Why should I eat that much fibre?
This includes IBS, constipation, leaky gut. There are huge advantages to improving overall health by focusing on the gut. Fibre reduces constipation and getting rid of waste from our bodies on a regular basis.
Our precious gut flora is the first defence for pathogens. Prebiotics, in particular, arabinogalactans and GOS (galactooligosaccharides), can strengthen the innate immune system, through modulating the microbiome, reducing inflammation, and improving the response to antigens by immune cells (e.g. natural killer [NK] cells, macrophages). Allowing faster recovery from bacterial and/or viral infections such as the common cough or cold.
Once you start eating more fibre, you will be already supporting your blood sugar and insulin levels. Adding fibre-rich foods can lower the glycemic index of meals, which helps to prevent an initial sharp increase in blood sugar levels, followed soon by a crash. Research shows that a high intake of resistant starch at 48-66g/day can significantly attenuate insulin and glucose responses after a meal, thus improving insulin sensitivity.
So, as you can see, there are many ways that you can increase your fibre intake. Incorporating some of these tips into your daily routine will help improve your overall health. And remember, fibre can be found in a variety of plant-based foods.
If there's anything we missed or if you have any other questions about fibre, leave us a comment below.