Fibre intake is one of the most important topics to address when evaluating your overall health. It is a plant-based nutrient that helps your gut remove the waste in your digestive system. Fibre also keeps you satiated for longer, which can benefit weight management.
However, a 2008 study found that most people do not meet the minimum daily requirement of fibre intake. Though there are many ways to increase your fibre intake, adding high-fibre fruits to your diet is perhaps one of the easier ways to achieve optimal fibre intake.
You can eat the most fibre-rich fruits to increase the amount of fibre in your diet without relying on supplements. Berries and tropical fruits are excellent, natural sources of dietary fibre.
However, not all fruits are equal in terms of their fibre content. Plus, the recommended daily fibre intake varies based on age and gender. Therefore, you need to boost your fibre intake effectively and safely without going overboard.
Importance of Fiber for Your Body
It is perhaps one of the essential benefits of increasing fibre intake. Fibre is supposed to absorb water in the gut, which speeds up the movement of stool from the intestine.
However, choosing the right kind of fibre is essential to ease constipation. Fibres not acted upon by bacteria are likely more effective. Studies have shown that soluble fibres are more effective for relieving constipation.
Feed Good Bacteria
Billions of bacteria reside in your gut. However, this is not a cause of concern as most of them are not harmful. On the contrary, some of them benefit your body and perform functions that the body cannot achieve by itself. Like every other lifeform, these bacteria derive energy to function from the food they eat.
The human body lacks the enzymes required for digesting dietary fibre effectively. As a result, this fibre reaches the gut essentially the same in its nutritional content. The gut bacteria feed on this undigested fibre.
Helpful in Weight Loss
As mentioned above, the human body does not have the enzymes to digest dietary fibre effectively. As a result, it takes longer for your body to digest the fibres than other nutrients like carbohydrates.
It means that fibre occupies the space in your gut and soaks up water. Research suggests that this leads to a feeling of satiety. As a result, you decrease your calorie intake, which is consequently helpful in losing weight.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Most high-fibre foods have a lower glycemic index. A low glycemic index means the food gets broken down at a slower pace and releases glucose slowly. It prevents harmful spikes in blood glucose levels just after meals.
Helps Control Cholesterol
Heart conditions like heart attack and stroke are the leading cause of death worldwide. However, some observational studies say that people who regularly eat high-fibre diets have a lower risk of heart-related ailments in the long run.
The HealthifyMe Note
Dietary fibre comes from plant cells and has two types: water-soluble and insoluble. The enzymes in the human digestive tract cannot break down fibre. Despite that, fibre is a vital ingredient your body needs for various reasons. In addition, it has some significant health benefits for your body.
Fibre should form an essential part of your meal. The amount of fibre you should eat daily changes by age and sex. To reap the benefits of regular fibre intake, you should eat the optimal amount of fibre as per your age and sex.
Following is the optimal fibre intake for children per day:
1-3 years: 19 grams4-8 years: 25 grams
Optimal fibre intake for women per day:
9-18 years: 26 grams19-50 years: 25 grams51+ years: 21 gramsPregnant women: 28 gramsBreastfeeding women: 29 grams
Optimal fibre intake for men per day:
9-13 years: 31 grams14-50 years: 38 grams51+ years: 30 grams
The HealthifyMe Note
A well-balanced diet should have plenty of whole plant foods to get the fibre your body needs to function. However, consuming too much fibre quickly over a short period can also be a problem. And although most people don’t eat enough fibre, some eat the wrong kind.
High Fiber Fruits to Add to Your Diet
Following is a list of 17 high-fibre fruits that can help you fulfil your daily fibre requirements. All these fruits are easily accessible, and you can conveniently add these to your diet.
As per USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of pear per 100 grams:
Fibre: 3.1 gramsProtein: 0.36 gramsFat: 0.14 gramsWater: 84 gramsCalories: 57 kcalIron: 0.18 mgMagnesium: 7 mgPhosphorous: 12 mgPotassium: 116 mg
Pear has many health benefits owing to its rich nutritional profile. Regularly eating pear can boost heart health, enhance gut health and even help you lose weight. It can also lower the risk of certain types of cancer and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
As per USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of strawberries per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2 gramsProtein: 0.67 gramsFat: 0.3 gramsWater: 91 gramsCalories: 32 kcalIron: 0.41 mgMagnesium: 13 mgPhosphorous: 24 mgPotassium: 153 mg
Strawberries are excellent for overall health but especially beneficial for your heart. It can make your heart healthier by reducing blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol levels. It also has anti-cancer properties.
As per USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of avocado per 100 grams:
Fibre: 6.7 gramsProtein: 2 gramsFat: 14.7 gramsWater: 73.2 gramsCalories: 160 kcalIron: 0.55 mgMagnesium: 29 mgPhosphorous: 52 mgPotassium: 485 mg
Including avocado in your daily diet can have immense health benefits. It can strengthen your heart and reduce overall body weight. It has excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Also, it is a good choice to have if you are pregnant. Avocados can make up for the increased nutrient demand during pregnancy.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of apple per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2.4 gramsProtein: 0.26 gramsFat: 0.17 gramsWater: 85.6 gramsCalories: 52 kcalIron: 0.12 mgMagnesium: 5 mgPhosphorous: 11 mgPotassium: 107 mg
The age-old saying- “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” is true. Apple has wide-ranging benefits for your entire body. For example, apples can enhance lung strength and prevent asthma. They can be good for gut health. They can also help you lose weight. In addition, they are healthy for the heart and may prevent diabetes as well.
As per USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of raspberries per 100 grams:
Fibre: 6.5 gramsProtein: 1.2 gramsFat: 0.65 gramsWater: 85.8 gramsEnergy: 52 kcalIron: 0.69 mgMagnesium: 22 mgPhosphorous: 29 mgPotassium: 151 mg
Raspberries may prove to be good additions to your fruit list. Regular intake of raspberries can enhance heart health and significantly decrease the risk of a stroke and high blood pressure. In addition, they also promote skin health and bone health.
As per USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of bananas per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2.6 gramsProtein: 1.09 gramsFat: 0.33 gramsWater: 74.9 gramsEnergy: 89 kcalIron: 0.26 mgMagnesium: 27 mgPhosphorous: 22 mgPotassium: 358 mg
Bananas are often termed the perfect food for athletes. It is because of its easily digestible carbohydrates that help in muscle recovery. Also, bananas can improve the health of essential organs like the heart, the kidney and the gut. They are also helpful in weight loss.
Fibre: 5.4 gramsProtein: 2.55 gramsFat: 0.95 gramsWater: 80.8 gramsEnergy: 68 kcalIron: 0.26 mgMagnesium: 22 mgPhosphorous: 40 mgPotassium: 417 mg
Guavas can improve your digestive health and also aid in weight loss. In addition, they may enhance the heart and overall immunity of the body as well.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of blackberries per 100 grams:
Fibre: 5.3 gramsProtein: 1.39 gramsFat: 0.49 gramsWater: 88.2 gramsEnergy: 43 kcalIron: 0.62 mgMagnesium: 20 mgPhosphorous: 22 mgPotassium: 162 mg
Blackberries can heal your wounds faster as they help in blood clotting. Also, it helps in skin regeneration. In addition, blackberries can help you prevent scurvy and enhance your overall dental health.
As per USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of kiwis per 100 grams:
Fibre: 3 gramsProtein: 1.35 gramsFat: 0.68 gramsEnergy: 61 kcalIron: 0.24 mgPotassium: 311 mg
Kiwi is rich in antioxidants and can help reduce oxidative stress. It is also a rich source of various vitamins. In addition, kiwi increases overall immune response, enhance heart health and promotes digestive health.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of oranges per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2.4 gramsProtein: 0.94 gramsFat: 0.12 gramsWater: 86.8 gramsEnergy: 47 kcalIron: 0.1 mgMagnesium: 10 mgPhosphorous: 14 mgPotassium: 181 mg
Orange is a good citrus fruit that can be a very healthy addition to your diet. Orange has antioxidants that can combat free radicals and ease oxidative stress. In addition, it improves skin quality by enhancing blood flow to the skin cells.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of pomegranate per 100 grams:
Fibre: 4 gramsProtein: 1.67 gramsFat: 1.17 gramsWater: 77.9 gramsEnergy: 83 kcalIron: 0.3 mgMagnesium: 12 mgPhosphorous: 36 mgPotassium: 236 mg
Like bananas, pomegranate can help enhance endurance and muscle recovery. In addition, it is rich in antioxidants and helps in reducing oxidative stress. When eaten regularly, it can improve heart health as well.
Mandarin Orange (Tangerines)
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of mandarin oranges per 100 grams:
Fibre: 1.8 gramsProtein: 0.81 gramsFat: 0.31 gramsWater: 85.2 gramsEnergy: 53 kcalIron: 0.15 mgMagnesium: 12 mgPhosphorous: 20 mgPotassium: 166 mg
Mandarin oranges are effective in decreasing the risk of kidney stones. They may also enhance brain health. They have properties that also help the fight against certain types of cancers. In addition, mandarin oranges can improve heart health and the overall flow of blood in the body.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of apricots per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2 gramsProtein: 1.4 gFat: 0.39 gWater: 86.4 gEnergy: 48 kcalIron: 0.39 mgMagnesium: 10 mgPhosphorous: 23 mgPotassium: 259 mg
Apricots have high quantities of vitamin A and beta carotene required for maintaining eye health. They can also enhance gut health, liver health and skin health.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of cherries per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2.1 gramsProtein: 1.06 gramsFat: 0.2 gramsWater: 82.2 gramsEnergy: 63 kcalIron: 0.36 mgMagnesium: 11 mgPhosphorous: 21 mgPotassium: 222 mg
Cherries can improve heart health. They may also be effective in healing pain from conditions like osteoarthritis. Cherries have another benefit that is especially important in today’s sleep-deprived world. They can help in improving sleep quality.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of mangoes per 100 grams:
Fibre: 1.6 gramsProtein: 0.82 gramsFat: 0.38 gramsWater: 83.5 gramsEnergy: 60 kcalIron: 0.16 mgMagnesium: 10 mgPhosphorous: 14 mgPotassium: 168 mg
Mangoes are very beneficial for your heart. They enhance heart health by lowering blood pressure and regulating pulse. They also reduce inflammation in the gut. Mangoes also improve digestive health.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of figs per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2.9 gProtein: 0.75 gFat: 0.3 gWater: 79.1 gEnergy: 74 kcalIron: 0.37 mgMagnesium: 17 mgPhosphorous: 14 mgPotassium: 232 mg
In addition to being high in fibre content, figs are a great source of calcium and potassium. Together they enhance bone health that can prevent conditions like osteoarthritis. In addition, they can strengthen the heart by regulating blood pressure. Also, they improve digestive health and ease constipation.
As per a study by USDA, the following is the nutritional profile of star fruits per 100 grams:
Fibre: 2.8 gramsProtein: 1.04 gramsFat: 0.33 gramsWater: 91.4 gramsEnergy: 31 kcalIron: 0.08 mgMagnesium: 10 mgPhosphorous: 12 mgPotassium: 133 mg
In addition to a decent amount of fibre, starfruit contains various other plant compounds. These decrease the risk of fatty liver and cholesterol. They are also effective in protecting the body against inflammation.
Precautions to Take
Although fibre is beneficial for your body, there are a few precautions that you should keep in mind.
Avoid Overeating Fibre
Adding too much fibre to your diet can do more harm than good for your body. It can cause gas in the intestine, bloating, and abdominal cramps.
All this happens when you increase fibre intake to more than 70 grams daily. Even if you eat more fibre than the optimal amount, drink enough liquid to offset the side effects.
Increase Fibre Intake Gradually
Increasing it is necessary if you have been consuming small amounts of fibre until now. However, do not suddenly increase your fibre intake. Instead, you should do it gradually over a few weeks. It allows the bacteria in your gut to adjust to the change.
If you have any chronic disease, you should talk to your doctor before starting a high-fibre diet. They can help you choose the suitable fibre per your requirement because some fibres harm people with chronic illnesses.
For example, the sugars and salts in some fibre supplements can be detrimental to people with diabetes. In rare cases, fibre supplements can even lead to blockages in the intestine.
Talk to your doctor before starting a fibre supplement if you are on medications. It is because some fibre supplements can block the absorption of some drugs.
Fibre is essential for your body. Good fibre intake has benefits, including controlled weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, and eased constipation problems.
Though optimal fibre intake varies from person to person depending on one’s age and sex, most people eat lesser amounts of fibre than needed. Including high-fibre fruits in your diet is an excellent way to increase your daily fibre intake and bring it to optimal levels. Although fibre is good for your body, you should not overeat fibre as it can have unintended side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What foods are highest in fibre?
A. Foods like oatmeal and legumes have high amounts of fibre. You can also consider adding high-fibre fruits like figs, apricots, berries, avocados, bananas, and apples to your diet.Grains like barley, whole grain varieties of pasta, brown rice, and quinoa are also ideal fibre sources.
Q. What does high fibre do to your body?
A. Overeating fibre (more than 70 grams per day) can do more harm than good for your body. It can cause gas in the intestine, bloating, and abdominal cramps. In addition, high amounts of insoluble fibre cause constipation, and high soluble fibre level causes loose stools. To combat these side effects, you can drink enough liquid even if you eat more fibre than the optimal amount.
Q. Are eggs high in fibre?
A. No. 100 grams of eggs have no significant amount of fibre. You can have eggs as a source of protein as they are rich in protein. One hundred grams of eggs have about 11 grams of protein. Plus, plant-based foods are better fibre sources than animal-based ones.
Q. Which fruit is high in fibre?
A. Figs are high-fibre fruits. They have approximately 2.9 grams of fibre per 100 grams. Other fibre-rich fruits include apples, oranges, apricots, blackberries and blueberries. You can also sprinkle pomegranate seeds to boost the fibre of any salad.
Q. Does fibre make you feel satiated?
A. Yes, fibre makes you feel full because it takes longer for your body to digest the fibres than other nutrients like carbohydrates. In addition, the feeling of satiety prevents you from overeating or snacking on high-calorie snacks. Therefore, it eventually benefits weight management.
Q. Is fibre good for weight loss?
A. Yes, fibre makes you feel full for longer. As a result, you reduce calorie intake. When you take in fewer calories, your weight automatically reduces over time. However, do not overeat fibre in the hope of faster weight loss. Too much fibre leads to multiple digestive concerns.
Q. What diseases are associated with a poor fibre diet?
A. A low-fibre diet can make bowel movement difficult and results in constipation. Fibres help in losing weight. So not taking enough fibre can cause you to put on weight. A poor fibre diet can also lead to haemorrhoids and diverticulitis. Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains solves the problems caused by a poor fibre diet.
Q. What breakfast is high in fibre?
A. You can make a high-fibre breakfast for yourself by eating oatmeal. You can add high-fibre fruits like apples, oranges, apricots, blackberries and blueberries to make your breakfast wholesome. Chia seeds with berries, legume salads, and whole-grain varieties of pancakes are high-fibre breakfast options. Nuts and seeds are also worth adding to your diet.
Q. Is there a fibre pill?
A. Yes, there are many fibre pills available on the market. These include Psyllium, Konsyl, Citrucel and Metamucil. However, it is better to increase fibre intake through natural sources like fibre-rich fruits, which also have many other benefits. Regardless of your fibre supplement and pill source, it would be best to talk to your doctor first.
Q. Is yoghurt high in fibre?
A. Traditional yoghurt is fibre-free. However, there may be certain brands that may add fibre to their yoghurt. Also, if you want to increase your fibre intake naturally, you can add fibre-rich fruits to your diet. You can also add fibre-rich nuts, seeds, and berries to yoghurt.