Fibre: How much do you need to maximise health and longevity?

Posted by Bulk Nutrients in Wellness

Estimated reading time: 3mins

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How much fibre do we need to eat per day for optimal health?

Firstly, fibre comes in two varieties: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre is not absorbed in our digestive tracts, but its role is vital in ensuring bowel movements to avoid constipation. Soluble fibre is metabolised by bacteria that sits in the large intestine. In short, it's healthy and good for us!

Further to this, evidence suggests that by getting enough dietary fibre we're protecting our colons, breasts and ovaries too!

A woman studying the fibre content of a bunch of fruits and vegetables.
Fibre is found in foods like cereals, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Previous fibre recommendations have been to consume 14 grams of fibre per 1000 calories eaten. So if you're eating 2000 calories per day you'd consume 28 grams of fibre per day.

But recent reviews state that the ideal fibre intake should be more like 50 g/d to maximise health.

So now we know we need to eat 50 grams of fibre a day, but where do we get it from?

Healthy meal plans: What foods are the highest in dietary fibre?

Fibre is found in foods like cereals, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Take a look at the table below adapted from this study and this research to see how your favourite foods stack up:

SourceTotalInsolubleSoluble
Grains
Barley17.3--
Corn13.4--
Oats10.36.53.8
Rice (dry)1.310.3
Rice (cooked)0.70.70
Wheat (whole grain)12.610.22.3
Wheat germ1412.91.1
Legumes & pulses
Green beans1.91.40.5
Soy15--
Peas, green frozen3.53.20.3
Kidney beans, canned6.34.71.6
Lentils, raw11.410.31.1
Lima beans, canned4.23.80.4
White beans, raw17.713.44.3
Vegetables
Potato, no skin1.310.3
Bitter gourd16.613.53.1
Beetroot7.85.42.4
Fenugreek leaves4.94.20.7
Ladyfinger4.331.3
Spinach, raw2.62.10.5
Turnips21.50.5
Tomato, raw1.20.80.4
Green onions, raw2.22.20
Eggplant6.65.31.3
Cucumbers, peeled0.60.50.1
Cauliflower, raw1.81.10.7
Celery, raw1.510.5
Carrot, raw2.52.30.2
Broccoli, raw3.2930.29
Fruits
Apple, unpeeled21.80.2
Kiwi3.392.610.8
Mango1.81.060.74
Pineapple1.21.10.1
Pomegranate0.60.490.11
Watermelon0.50.30.2
Grapes1.20.71.1
Oranges1.80.71.1
Plums1.60.70.9
Strawberry2.21.30.9
Bananas1.71.20.5
Peach1.910.9
Pear321
Nuts and seeds
Almonds11.210.11.1
Coconut, raw98.50.5
Peanut, dry roasted87.50.5
Cashew, oil roasted6--
Sesame seed7.795.891.9
Flaxseed22.3310.1512.1

Further to this table; one of the best sources of fibre you can get is in Chia seeds, which boast a tremendous 30-34 grams of fibre per 100 grams!

A jar full of Chia seeds.
Chia seeds might be the best source of fibre there is.

By going off the information above, you can reach your 50 grams a day variety hypothetically with the below example:

Breakfast: 1 cup of spinach = 4 grams of fibre, 6 egg whites, a tablespoon of olive oil.

Lunch: Chicken salad (200 grams of Garden salad) = 3.6 grams of fibre.

3pm snack: 1 unpeeled apple = 2 grams of fibre. Also, 100 grams of chia seeds = 30 grams of fibre.

Dinner: 200 grams of fish (salmon, barramundi, whatever you prefer). Add 100 grams of broccoli = 3 grams of fibre.

Before bed: Bulk Nutrients Tri Fibre supplement = 5.8 grams

Total = 48.4 grams of fibre.

You can see that comes very close to 50 grams of dietary fibre a day! And you can consume your 50 grams of dietary fibre a day however you want; having an extra half scoop of your Bulk Nutrients fibre supplement, or by simply eating another 60 grams of broccoli or another apple. The freedom is yours.

Muscular man performing sit ups on a yoga ball at the gym.
Fibre also helps us lose weight and help us keep it off.

Fibre for fat loss

The other benefit of fibre is how it assists in weight loss, specifically:

Fibre won't only help us maintain a healthy waistline but also improve our general health and well-being. Having a solid dietary strategy for 50 grams of dietary fibre daily, with or without a fibre supplement for ease of adherence, is critical for all of us for our health and fitness goals!

References:

  1. Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis RH Jr, Ferreri S, Knudtson M, Koraym A, Waters V, Williams CL. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutr Rev. 2009 Apr;67(4):188-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x. PMID: 19335713.
  2. Dhingra D, Michael M, Rajput H, Patil RT. Dietary fibre in foods: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2012 Jun;49(3):255-66. doi: 10.1007/s13197-011-0365-5. Epub 2011 Apr 12. PMID: 23729846; PMCID: PMC3614039.
  3. Farhath Khanum M, Swamy S, Sudarshana Krishna KR, Santhanam K, Viswanathan KR. Dietary fiber content of commonly fresh and cooked vegetables consumed in India. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2000;55:207–218.
  4. Holscher HD. Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes. 2017;8(2):172-184. doi:10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756
  5. Jebb S. Dietary determinants of obesity. Obes. Rev. 2007;8:93–97. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2007.00326.x.
  6. Kulczyński B, Kobus-Cisowska J, Taczanowski M, Kmiecik D, Gramza-Michałowska A. The Chemical Composition and Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds-Current State of Knowledge. Nutrients. 2019;11(6):1242. Published 2019 May 31. doi:10.3390/nu11061242
  7. Menni C., Jackson M.A., Pallister T., Steves C.J., Spector T.D., Valdes A.M. Gut microbiome diversity and high-fibre intake are related to lower long-term weight gain. Int. J. Obes. 2017;41:1099. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.66.
  8. O'Keefe SJD. The Need to Reassess Dietary Fiber Requirements in Healthy and Critically Ill Patients. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2018;47(1):219-229. doi:10.1016/j.gtc.2017.10.005
  9. Schakel SF, Pettit J, Himes JH. Dietary fiber values for common foods. In: Spiller GA, editor. The CRC handbook of dietary fiber in human nutrition. 3. London: CRC; 2001.
  10. Shankar S, Lanza E. Dietary fiber and cancer prevention. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 1991 Feb;5(1):25-41. PMID: 1851150.
  11. Yang J, Wang HP, Zhou L, Xu CF. Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: a meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18(48):7378-7383. doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i48.7378

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