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How can I increase fibre in my diet?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 31/01/2024
  • 2 min read

Fibre is an essential substance which is found in plants. For humans, getting sufficient fibre is essential for their health. There are many perks of eating fibre-rich foods, such as higher energy levels, boosting heart health, lowering blood sugars, etc.

According to reports, the fibre intake for women should be 25 grams daily and for men, it should be 38 grams per day.

However, most individuals don't get the recommended fibre-rich foods in a day. In this blog, we will learn how to increase fibre in our diet.

What is Dietary Fibre?

Dietary fibre is also known as roughage, which is a plant-based substance which can't be absorbed or digested by the human body compared to other components such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

These other compounds, like fats, carbohydrates, etc, get absorbed and broken down by the body easily. On the other hand, dietary fibre passes through the small intestine, colon and stomach relatively intact.

Depending on the working, fibre is classified into two types, which are:

Insoluble Fibre - This type of dietary fibre moves through the digestive tract and enhances the stool bulk. This process helps individuals who suffer from irregular stools and constipation. The fibre-rich foods that fall in this category are wheat bran, nuts, whole wheat flour, cauliflowers, beans, etc.

Soluble Fibre - Another type of dietary fibre is soluble fibre which forms a gel-like substance by getting dissolved in water. The fibre-rich foods that fall in this category are oats, peas, beans, citrus fruits, etc.

Benefits of High-Fiber Foods

Some of the benefits of consuming the best fibre-rich foods are:

Improves Bowel Health- One of the benefits of consuming high-fibre foods is it helps improve bowel health. As per the studies, it has been concluded that fibre-rich foods lower the risk of developing small pouches in colon and haemorrhoids. This disease, if spread, can lead to a chance of colorectal cancer.

Helps in Weight Loss - Many individuals use fibre-rich foods for weight loss. It has been found that high-fibre-rich foods are more fulfilling than low-fibre foods. Due to this, a person won't feel hungry and remain satisfied for extended hours, which helps in achieving the desired weight. Also, these high-fibre foods are energy-dense, which means it has fewer calories compared to other foods.

Controls Blood Sugar Levels - Another crucial benefit of high-fibre foods is they help in controlling blood sugar levels. The high-fibre foods take longer to break down, which means the glucose in food doesn't enter the bloodstream directly. Due to this, the sugar level remains consistent.

Protection Against Heart Disease - Besides this, one of the essential benefits of consuming fibre-rich foods is better heart health. It has been reported that intake of high-fibre foods prevents the risk of cardiovascular disease because of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also classified as bad cholesterol.

Recommended Intake of Dietary Fibre

Refer to the table below to understand the dietary fibre intake

<td>Age 51 or Older</td>
<td>30 grams</td>
<td>Age 51 or Older</td>
<td>21 grams</td>
<td>Aged 4 to 8 Years</td>
<td>16.8–19.6 grams</td>
<td>Aged 9 to 13 Years</td>
<td>22.4–25.2 grams</td>
<td>Aged 14 to 18 Years</td>
<td>25.2–30.8 grams</td>
Gender Age Fibre Intake
Men Age 50 or Younger 38 grams
Women Age 50 or Younger 25 grams
Children Age 1 to 3 Years 14 grams

Ways to Increase Fibre in Diets

Since fibre-rich foods are essential for the human body, there are ways to increase intake, which we have listed below.

Consume Fruit Salad - The very first way to increase fibre in your diet is to have a fruit salad as a meal. The dish is simple and contains a lot of fibre. All you need to do is cut fibre rich fruits such as oranges, apples, etc and add them to a bowl, add some yoghurt or fruit juice as a dressing and eat it. Some people also prefer to add some nuts and seeds to the fruit salad bowl. This fibre-rich food dish is the best way to start a day.

Consume Whole Orange Over Juice** - Another way to increase fibre in your diet is to have whole oranges. It is a fruit that is high in minerals and vitamins. But some people prefer to have orange juice over whole oranges. It has been found that a glass of orange juice contains 0.6 grams of fibre, but a whole orange contains around 3.7 grams of fibre, which is much more than the juice.

**Eat Skin of Pears and Apples - Most individuals who rely on fruits like apples and pears prefer to peel their skin before consuming them. The reason behind this is that the skin contains bacteria and dirt, which can be harmful to the human body. But some fruits like apples and pears can be eaten with skin as it contains more fibre. Furthermore, potato is another vegetable whose skin contains more fibre.

Eat 100% Whole Grain Bread - White bread is another thing people have been eating for breakfast for more than decades. The bread is famous because of its lighter texture and flavour. But this bread has a lot less fibre since a lot of it has been removed during the making process. But compared to white bread, whole grain bread has more fibre and has a rich flavour and texture.

Include Vegetables in Canned Soup - Individuals with busy life schedules prefer to have store-bought canned soup since it is not only the healthiest option but also convenient for people. However, to boost the fibre content in the canned soup, it is best to add chopped vegetables such as peas, carrots, potatoes, etc. and simmer them until they are soft. It is best to purchase low-sodium soups from stores by checking their labels.

Include Berries In Yogurt - Yogurts are another healthy substance that is rich in protein, calcium, etc. Most people who prefer to have yoghurt in their diets should add strawberries, raspberries and blueberries as toppings. This combination works as a superfood since it is high in fibre and other nutrients. Individuals can also add some nuts or granola to make it a high-fibre food dish and add some honey for sweetness.

Add salad as a Meal - Salad is the best option to increase the fibre intake in the body. Most individuals like to have salad as a meal, either at dinner or lunch. The best salad includes spinach, kale, white beans, chickpeas, and plant-based protein like avocados, nuts, etc. Some people also include chicken, salmon and shrimp in their salad.

Eat Whole Grain Pasta - Individuals who love to eat pasta prefer to have refined white wheat flour pasta because of its texture. However, with people becoming conscious about health, more and more whole-grain pasta is entering the market. These whole grain pasta, such as red lentil pasta, black bean pasta, etc, are not only rich in texture but also rich in fibre.

Eat Popcorn - Another popular snack food in the household is popcorn. Popcorn is a fibre-rich food. It has been reported that whole grain popcorn contains around 4 gms of fibre per ounce. For the low-calorie popcorn, it is best to air pop it in a brown paper bag in the microwave. For adding flavours, sprinkle it with cayenne pepper or cinnamon.

Eat Chia Seeds - Chia seeds are another substance that has been considered a nutritional powerhouse. The chia seeds contain vitamins, proteins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and around 10 grams of fibre per ounce. These seeds can quickly gel in water and contain 93% insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre helps in improving digestive tract movement. It also helps in reducing the risk of diabetes.

Include Legumes in Diet - Another fibre-rich food that has been part of traditional diets is legumes. Lentils, beans and dried peas are part of the legumes family and are very rich in fibre, vitamins, carbs, minerals and proteins. It has been suggested that a cup of cooked beans fulfils 50% of daily fibre intake.

Try Oatmeal - Oatmeal might seem a redundant and boring food option, but it has been called the healthiest food choice for many. But nowadays, there are various oatmeal options in the market, such as rolled oats, steel-cut oats, etc. This nutritious, rich food, generally topped up with berries, nuts, etc, works as a substantial breakfast.

Eat Brown Rice Over White Rice- Another food that has been part of everyday diet is rice. But people generally prefer white rice because of its availability. However, brown rice is a better and healthiest food choice because of its high fibre content. This rice type has a firmer texture and a nutty flavour.

Fibre Supplement - Last but not least, the best way to increase the fibre intake is to use fibre supplements to fulfil the daily requirements. There are various fibre supplements available in the market, such as guar fibre, Glucomannan, Psyllium, etc. These supplements should be consumed in moderation quantities as suggested by the health practitioners. Also they can cause sudden discomfort in starting if consumed appropriately.

Fibre Content in Different Foods

Below is the table depicting fibre content in different plant-based products.

Food Serving size Dietary Fibre in Grams
High Fibre Bran Cereal ½–3/4 of a cup 9.1–14.3
Canned Chickpea 1/2 a cup 8.1
Dry Roasted Pistachios 1 oz 2.8
Cooked Lentils 1/2 a cup 7.8
Mixed Vegetables 1/2 a cup 4
Raw pear 1 medium fruit 5.5
Baked Sweet Potato with Skin 1 medium vegetable 3.8
Banana 1 medium fruit 3.1
Baked Beans 1/2 a cup 5.2
Orange 1 medium fruit 3.1
Cooked Quinoa Half Cup 2.6

Proper Way to Include Fibre in Your Daily Diet

To fulfil fibre intake day, adding fibre-rich food to breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner is crucial.

Meal Fibre Rich Food (Fibre Content in grams)
Breakfast Two wholemeal toasted bread (6.6 grams) One sliced banana (1.4 grams) Fruit Juice (1.2 grams)
Lunch Baked Potato with Skin (4.7 grams) Salt baked beans in tomato sauce (9.8 grams) Apple (1.2 grams)
Snack 1 medium pear (5.5 grams)
Dinner Mixed Vegetable Curry (6.6 grams) Boiled Whole-grain Rice (2.7 grams) Yoghurt (0.4 grams)
Total - 40.1 grams

Symptoms and Side Effects of Overeating Fibre-Rich Foods

To increase the fibre intake, people consume too much fibre without paying attention to quantity which can cause discomfort in the body. Below are listed side effects of overeating fibre in a day.

  • Bloating

  • Dehydration

  • Stomach Cramps

  • Weight Gain and Loss

  • Nausea

  • Intestinal Blockage

If individuals start observing any of these symptoms, then it is advised to take necessary actions such as reducing fibre consumption, increasing fluid consumption, getting more exercise, etc. If symptoms are more persistent and acute, then it is advisable to consult health practitioners as soon as possible.

Fibre Supplements and Food Allergies

Some individuals who are allergic to high-fibre foods find it challenging to fulfil their daily fibre intake. In that case, it is best to consult a doctor about the allergic reaction caused by certain fibres. In such cases, doctors prescribe fibre supplements such as guar gum, psyllium husk, etc, to fulfil the daily intake. These dietary fibre supplements come in various forms, such as capsules, powder and chewable tablets. The supplements should be consumed in prescribed quantities.

Importance of Having a Medical Insurance Plan

As mentioned above, overeating fibre can lead to all these problems, which sometimes require doctor visits. A doctor's visit can put an additional burden on an individual's finances. This is the reason most people believe in buying individual health insurance or family floater schemes.

The health insurance plan offers high-quality medical coverage without derailing the individual's savings. Besides this, there have been various perks of buying health insurance, such as cashless treatment, tax benefits, hospitalisation coverage, etc.

Tata AIG offers tailor-made health insurance plans to individuals based on their requirements. We have a team of representatives guiding you when you decide to buy health insurance.

Visit the website to learn more about our medical insurance plans.

Conclusion

Dietary fibre reduces various medical problems such as cholesterol problems, heart disease, etc. Due to this, many individuals are incorporating fibre-rich content in their diets. However, fibre-rich food should be consumed in appropriate quantities as it can lead to various medical issues, such as constipation, dehydration, etc., if consumed too much.

FAQS

What foods are highest in fibre?

The foods that are highest in fibre are 1 cup of boiled split peas (16 grams), boiled black beans (15 grams), and 1 ounce of chia seeds (10 grams).

How can I boost my fibre?

Individuals who want to increase their fibre intake need to include at least five or more fibre servings daily. These servings should have fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, seeds, whole grains, etc.

Which fruit has the most fibre?

The fruits that are rich in fibre are avocado (9 grams), Guava(9 grams), 1 cup of raspberries (8 grams) and 1 cup of passion fruit (24 grams).

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