Fibre is important for overall digestive health. It is a type of carbohydrate found in many foods, and is also available in different forms as a dietary supplement.
Aids bowel regularity. Fibre adds bulk and absorbs water1, which helps to propel your natural bowel movement and contribute to keeping you regular2.
Helps the microbiome thrive. Many fibres promote the growth of the good bacteria present in the lower portion of the digestive tract, which additionally aids in digestive balance3.
The Bristol Stool Chart can be used as a rough guide of the amount of fibre in someone’s diet. See the below information from the Continence Foundation of Australia:
Reproduced with kind permission of Dr KW Heaton, formerly Reader in Medicine at the University of Bristol. ©2000-2017, Norgine group of companies.Learn more here
Consuming fibre is key to supporting regularity with your bowel movements. Whether by dietary intake or a fibre supplement, fibre plays a role in keeping your natural bowel movement comfortable and gentle. Here are some simple tips to help you decide which type you might need more of in your diet:
Soluble fibre – Think 'movement'
Found in foods like oats and barley and ingredients including various gums, pectin and psyllium, soluble fibre is highly fermentable, which means it will hold water, thereby providing a lubricating factor that may help with constipation2.
Insoluble fibre – Think 'bulking'
Found in foods like wheat bran and cabbage and ingredients like cellulose and lignin, insoluble fibre helps to increase the bulk of bowel movements, which helps to propel full, natural bowel movement, and reduce loose stools and diarrhoea1.
The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g for men and 25g for women4. Dietary fibre is found most abundantly in whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit.
Reading nutrition labels for total fibre content and logging your food intake for a few days can help give an estimate of how many grams of fibre you are consuming. Here is a list of some common foods and their fibre content5.
If you find your diet is still falling short on fibre, you can supplement your diet with fibre supplements found in the digestive health aisle of your local store.
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that our body does not digest. Instead, fibre is fermented by bacteria in the gut6. In this way, there is a lot of overlap between foods that are high in fibre and foods that are high FODMAPs. However, there are many different types of fibres and therefore the FODMAP levels will differ. ProNourish® Natural Balance Fibre is a fibre supplement that is low in FODMAPs and can be consumed on the low FODMAP diet. Always look out for the Monash Certified low FODMAP symbol to help. It is important to eat adequate amounts of fibre-containing foods while you are on a low FODMAP diet.
1Mudgil et al. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 2013
2Giaccari S et al. Clin Ter 2001;152(1):21–5
3Carlson J et al. Anaerobe 2016;42:60–66
4National Health & Medical Research Council Australia, Nutrient Reference Values, 2017 Accessed: https://www.nrv.gov.au
5Nutrition Australia, Fibre Fact Sheet, 2014, Accessed: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/sites/default/files/Fibre-2014.pdf
6Mansueto P et al. Nutr Clin Pract 2015;30(5):665–82.