By Colette Dreyer, RD(SA)

Dietary fibre is an edible plant component that your body can’t digest and absorb. Dietary fibre is an essential part of a healthy diet. Dietary fibre is mainly found in legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. There are two types of fibre, known as soluble and insoluble fibre.

1) Insoluble fibre does not absorb water and contributes to the bulk of the stool. Insoluble fibre may assist in preventing constipation, ensuring regular bowl movements and may increase satiety which can play a role in weight loss. Food rich in insoluble fibre include whole wheat products, wheat bran, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, and the skin of root vegetables.

2) Soluble fibre dissolves in water, which forms a gel. An adequate amount of fibre, specifically soluble fibre intake may lower the risk of certain chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Foods rich in soluble fibre include sweet potato, oats, legumes, rice, avocado, broccoli, black and lima beans, apples, citrus fruits, barley etc.

Both soluble and insoluble fibre are important for your health. The general recommendation for total fibre intake is 25 – 30g per day, where at least 10g should come from soluble fibre.

5 Benefits Of A high Fibre Diet:

1) Maintain bowl health

2)Reduce cholesterol levels

3) Control blood glucose “sugar” levels

4) Keep you fuller for longer that helps with weight maintenance

5) Ensure normal bowl movements

Limit processed foods such as white breads and pasta, tinned fruits, processed cereals and opt for whole grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, peas. Beans and other legumes, seeds and nuts to increase your fibre intake.

Mirmiran P, Bahadoran Z, Khalili Moghadam S, Zadeh Vakili A, Azizi F. A prospective study of different types of dietary fiber and risk of cardiovascular disease: Tehran lipid and glucose study. Nutrients. 2016;8(11):686.

Visit your medical practitioner for more information on how to increase fibre in your diet.