Fibre is a non-digestible group of substances found in plant foods which can't be completely digested by human digestive enzymes. As it is not absorbed by the body, fibre therefore acts as a bulking agent to the body and helps remove waste.

Health benefits

There are many health benefits offered by a diet rich in fibre, these include:

  • reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • reducing the risk of some cancers, especially colorectal cancer
  • helping to control and maintain a healthy weight
  • preventing constipation and other bowel disorders
  • improving gut health

Recommended daily intake

Fibre RDA

The recommended daily intake of fibre varies with age:

  • 2 to 5 year olds – 15g per day
  • 5 to 11 year olds – 20g per day
  • 11 to 16 year olds – 25g per day
  • 16 year olds and above – 30g per day

Many people do not meet their recommended daily intake of fibre. To ensure people do, they should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, base all meals on starchy foods and regularly consume wholegrain foods and high fibre snacks.

Types of fibre

There are two main types of fibre:

  • soluble
  • insoluble

It is important to include both types of fibre in your diet as they help your body in different ways.

Ways to increase fibre in your diet

There are various strategies you could employ to increase the amount of fibre you consume:

  • start the day with a high fibre breakfast cereal – e.g., bran flakes
  • go for wholemeal breads
  • choose wholegrains – e.g., wholewheat pasta
  • go for potatoes with skins – e.g., a baked potato
  • for snacks try fruit, vegetable sticks, oatcakes or unsalted nuts
  • include plenty of vegetables with meals
  • have some fresh or dried fruit for snacks or a dessert