Dietary Fibre

Dietary Fibre is a form of carbohydrate. It is the edible portion of plant foods and is resistant to digestion in the small intestine. It can be classified as Soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. Dietary Fibre forms an important component of our daily balanced diet and helps maintain normal digestive system.

Dietary Fibre is one of the most important nutrients that is known for its disease preventive and curative properties. Diets with a high content of fibre tend to have a positive effect on health like-

  • Lowers variance in blood sugar level
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Lowers total and LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases.
  • Adds bulk to stool and increases the frequency of bowel movements (improved laxation)
  • Increased mineral absorption in the intestinal tract.
  • Reduced calorie intake due to the feeling of satiety (as fibre promotes a feeling of fullness).
  • Considered to be Anticarcinogenic by preventing carcinogens from entering cells.

Naturally occurring fibre (often referred to as "intrinsic") occurs in foods such as -

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains- whole wheat, millets, brown rice etc.
  • Cereal bran
  • Flaked cereal- oats
  • Dried beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts & Seeds

Some of the high Fibre fruits include Apple, Citrus fruits, Pears, Avocado etc. Vegetables such as Peas, green beans, Potatoes, Cauliflower, Amaranth, Drumstick leaves, Carrot, Brinjal etc., are good sources of Fibre.

According to the recent RDA (2020) the daily Dietary Fiber intake varies with Age, Gender & Physical activity as follows-

Age Category of Work Dietary Fiber (g/d)
Man Sedentary 30
Moderate 40
Heavy 50
Woman Sedentary 25
Moderate 30
Heavy 40
Children 1-3y 15
4-6y 20
5-7y 26
Boys 10-12y 33
13-15y 43
16-18y 50
Girls 10-12y 30
13-15y 36
16-18y 38

(*RDA for Indians-ICMR-NIN-2020)

Increasing the amount of Fibre in your diet should be done gradually, a sudden increase can cause unpleasant abdominal discomfort such as bloating and flatulence. Individuals with abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea or any other gastric issue should consume Fibre mindfully under the supervision of a healthcare professional such as a doctor or Nutritionist.

Dairy products like eggs, milk, cheese, curd, yogurt, paneer, buttermilk as well as meat and its products such as chicken, fish, mutton, prawns etc are low in Fibre when compared to cereals, pulses, legumes, grains, vegetable and Fruits.

  • Choose Fibre rich Whole grains & Multigrain cereals like Whole wheat, oats, millets, brown rice etc.
  • Try to include fruits and vegetables in every meal of the day in the form of salad, sabji, curry, soups, smoothie & juice.
  • Snack on high Fibre fruits, dried fruits, nuts & seeds throughout the day.
  • For breakfast switch from white bread toast, white pasta, rice-based dishes to whole grain breads, wheat pasta, oats, multigrain bread, and millets as they have higher Fibre content.
  • Consume vegetables in raw, steamed, stewed, baked & grilled form
  • Relish desserts and baked foods made with whole wheat, oats, bran, barley, wheat semolina, Vermicelli, nuts and seeds, for example oat meal cookies, multigrain crackers, whole wheat brownies etc.
  • Try to include legumes and pulses in your diet in the form of lentil soup, gravies, side dishes, sprouts salad, boiled chickpea, kidney beans salads.
  • Include porridges made with multigrain and millet like finger millet, Foxtail millet, Jowar, Bajra & oats.