Published on February 12, 2024 at 8:00 / Updated on February 24, 2024 at 8:00

Dietary fibre is a carbohydrate that is not digested by the body. It is found in foods of plant origin.

Benefits of fibre

Fibre is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. It has many benefits. There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. These two types of fibre act in different ways.

Insoluble fibre is found in foods such as whole grains, corn, and fruit with a peel or skin. It can:

  • Reduce hunger and promote a healthy weight
  • Regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation

Soluble fibre is found in foods such as oats and avocados, as well as beans and other legumes. Psyllium (e.g., Metamucil), a soluble fibre, is also available as a dietary supplement. Soluble fibre can also:

  • Help control blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal
  • Reduce bad cholesterol

Certain fibres are also classified as prebiotics. They feed the healthy bacteria in our gut. These good bacteria help support and maintain a healthy digestive system. Inulin is a soluble prebiotic fibre that is also available as a dietary supplement.

Eating an adequate amount of fibre-rich foods can help reduce the risk of the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Colon cancer

Sources of fibre

There are a number of dietary sources of fibre. Here are a few examples:

  • Legumes (e.g., lentils, dried peas, dried beans)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Enriched cereals
  • Whole grain products (e.g., pasta, bread, quinoa, brown and wild rice, oats, barley)

In Canada, the recommended daily amount of fibre is 25 g for women and 38 g for men. However, most Canadians consume just half the recommended amount per day. There are fibre supplements available, but ideally you should get all the fibre you need through your diet.

It's recommended to increase your fibre intake gradually to reduce any unpleasant effects, such as flatulence, intestinal sounds, cramps, and diarrhea.

Tips and tricks to increase your fibre intake

Dietary fibre is a nutrient that should be prioritized. Here are some ways to increase your fibre intake:

  • When grocery shopping, read the % Daily Value (% DV) in the Nutrition Facts label on product packaging to find out whether a food is high in fibre
    • A % DV below 5% means it is low in fibre, while a % DV over 15% means it is high in fibre
  • Choose brown rice and whole grain bread and pasta more often
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake
    • Choose whole, fresh fruit
  • Snack on nuts and seeds
  • Add legumes to recipes (e.g., soups, salads, chili, sauces)
Approximate fibre content of food
FruitsFibre per portion
Fresh apricots (2)1.3 g
Fresh pineapple (125 mL)0.9 g
Peeled banana (1)3.9 g
Fresh cranberries (125 mL)2.1 g
Pitted dried dates (4 to 5)2.6 g
Dried fig (1)3.9 g
Fresh strawberries (250 mL)3.5 g
Fresh raspberries (125 mL)4.8 g
Fresh boysenberries (125 mL)5.5 g
Fresh orange (average)2.7 g
Peach with peel (1)1.4 g
Dried peach (60 mL)5.9 g
Fresh pear with peel6.3 g
Fresh apple with peel (average)3.0 g
Fresh plum (2)2.4 g
Raw prunes (4)5.2 g
Raisins8.2 g
Cooked rhubarb (125 mL)3.2 g
Fresh rhubarb in cube (250 mL)3.3 g
Canned fruit salad (125 mL)1.4 g
Fresh tomato (1)2.3 g
GrainsFibre per portion
White flour (250 mL)4.0 g
100% whole wheat flour 100% (250 mL)12.2 g
Soya flour (250 mL)10.9 g
Oat bran (30 mL)1.4 g
Wheat bran (30 mL)3.5 g
Whole grain bread (1 slice)2.6 g
Fresh white bread (1 slice)0.8 g
All-BranTM (75 mL)7.2 g
Corn FlakesTM (250 mL)0.3 g
Raisin BranTM (125 mL)2.6 g
Rice KrispiesTM (250 mL)0.1 g
Shredded WheatTM (1 biscuit)3.1 g
WeetabixTM (2 biscuits)4.2 g
VegetablesFibre per portion
Cooked beets without skin (125 mL)2.2 g
Cooked broccoli (125 mL)3.2 g
Boiled carrot (125 mL)2.5 g
Raw celery (1 stalk)0.7 g
Celeriac (125 mL)4.0 g
Boiled Brussels sprouts (3 to 4)2.4 g
Boiled cabbage (125 mL)2.3 g
Peeled cucumber (6 slices)0.2 g
Boiled spinach (125 mL)6.0 g
Boiled green beans (125 mL)2.1 g
Boiled sweet corn (1 cob)4.2 g
Boiled sweet potato (1)3.4 g
Boiled frozen green peas (125 mL)10.2 g
Canned green peas (125 mL)4.7 g
Fresh green pepper (1/2)0.3 g
Baked potato (1)2.0 g
LegumesFibre per portion
Cooked white beans (125 mL)7.0 g
Cooked mung beans (100 g)3.0 g
Cooked red beans (100 g)8.7 g
Cooked split peas (125 mL)6.7 g
Chick peas (100 g)5.8 g
Cooked yellow peas (dry) (125 mL)6.3 g
NutsFibre per portion
Whole almonds (125 mL)10.7 g
Peanuts (125 mL)6.1 g
Smooth peanut butter (30 mL)2.4 g
Shelled sesame seeds (60 mL)4.8 g
Dried sunflower seeds (60 mL)2.4 g
Hazelnuts (125 mL)3.7 g
Nuts, mixed (125 mL)2.8 g
Fresh grated coconut (125 mL)6.9 g
Dried grated coconut (125 mL)7.8 g
Brazil nuts (125 mL)6.2 g

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