Why Increase Your Fibre Intake

Why Increase Your Fibre Intake

What is Dietary Fibre?

Primarily present in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, fibre is known for its capability in alleviating or preventing constipation. However, fibre-rich foods offer additional health advantages, including aiding in weight management and reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

Dietary fibre, alternatively termed roughage or bulk, includes the indigestible portions of plant-based foods. Unlike fats, proteins, or carbohydrates, which are broken down and absorbed by the body, fibre remains undigested, travels through the stomach, small intestine, and colon before being eliminated from the body mostly intact.

Fibre is divided into two types: soluble fibre and insoluble. Soluble fibre, when mixed with water, creates a gel-like substance that aids in lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It is abundant in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium.

Insoluble fibre facilitates the passage of material through the digestive tract and enhances stool volume, offering relief to individuals dealing with constipation or irregular bowel movements. Whole-wheat flour, nuts, beans, and vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes are rich sources of insoluble fibre.

What are the Benefits of a High-Fibre Diet?

  • Helps to lower cholesterol: The soluble fibre present in beans, oats, flaxseed, and oat bran has been shown to potentially reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing levels of “bad" cholesterol. Additionally, research indicates that consuming high-fibre foods may offer additional heart-health advantages, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
  • Regulates bowel movements: Dietary fibre enhances the weight and volume of your stool while also softening it. This increase in stool bulk makes it easier to pass, reducing the likelihood of constipation. If you experience loose, watery stools, fibre can assist in solidifying them by absorbing water and adding bulk to the stool.
  • Assists in controlling blood sugar levels: For individuals with diabetes, fibre, especially soluble fibre, can delay the absorption of sugar and contribute to better blood sugar control. A well-balanced diet containing insoluble fibre may also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Helps maintain bowel health: Consuming a diet rich in fibre could potentially decrease the likelihood of developing haemorrhoids and diverticular disease, which involves the formation of small pouches in the colon. 

Foods High in Fibre

Some popular foods that are both nutritious and high in fibre include: 

  • Avocado
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Raspberries and strawberries
  • Kidney beans
  • Oats
  • Artichokes
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds

It’s also important to note that tinned fruits and vegetables will be lower in fibre, along with white breads and pastas, and pulp-free juices.

Fibre Supplements

Although it’s best to source your fibre from an abundance of different foods, for some people it can be difficult and just be more convenient to add a fibre supplement to your daily routine. Some popular varieties can include inulin, psyllium, methylcellulose and guar gum.

What Happens to Fibre in the Gut?

When soluble fibres enter the gut, they undergo a transformation, turning into a viscous, gel-like substance. This quality is beneficial as it aids in the absorption of cholesterol, sugar, and fat, preventing their absorption into the bloodstream. The viscosity of soluble fibre is due to its composition of simple sugars, which link together to form long chains called polysaccharides. The longer the polysaccharide chain, the more tangled it becomes, resulting in increased viscosity.

However, some fibre supplements can become overly viscous in the stomach, leading to issues like constipation and bloating. This is where Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum (PHGG) stands out. PHGG is renowned for its shorter polysaccharide chains, significantly reducing the risk of excessive thickening in the gut and subsequent discomfort. Its unique composition ensures effective fibre supplementation while maintaining digestive ease. 


A high fibre diet is beneficial to your health but adding too much too quickly can result in excess gas, bloating and cramping. Increasing your fibre intake gradually allows your digestive system time for its natural bacteria to adapt to the change. Drinking enough water is also important as fibre works best when absorbed.

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