Sue Watkins Nutritional Therapist & Wellness Coach, based in Hertfordshire

Nutritional Therapy

07773 689441
What is Dietary Fibre?
Fibre comes in many different forms but is divided into two main types, these are soluble and insoluble.  Although they work separately they are both needed to support healthy digestion.
Soluble Fibre dissolves in water and forms a layer of gel in the digestive tract.  This keeps the stool soft and easier to pass.  This type of fibre may prevent or treat constipation and can be found in the following foods:
  • Root vegetables - potatoes and carrots
  • Fruits - bananas and apples
  • Beans and Pulses - chick peas and baked beans
  • Grains - oats, rye and barley
    Insoluble Fibre this cannot be broken down in water and so it helps to bulk out the stool by holding water and easing the movement of waste through the gut which can improve transit time.  Insoluble foods include:
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wholemeal bread, wholegrains such as pasta and brown rice
  • Vegetables especially potatoes with the skins left on
  • High fibre cereal foods
    How much fibre should I include?
    Fibre is important for digestive health making it easier to pass a stool.  It can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers and even support weight control.
    An adult needs about 30g of fibre per day although many are only consuming about half of this amount.  When thinking of increasing fibre intake, build up gradually and increase water intake too (build this up to 8 glasses per day) so that the fibre has enough liquid to work effectively.
    How can I increase my fibre intake?
  • Choose porridge oats for breakfast rather than plain cereal
  • Swap granary/wholegrain bread instead of white bread
  • Keep the skins on potatoes
  • Select brown rice and wholewheat past rather than white rice/pasta
  • For your snacks choose oatcakes, rye crackers or unsalted nuts or seeds
  • Cook with pulses such as beans, chickpeas and lentils by adding to stews, salads and curries