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Getting Enough Fibre

Overview

Why is fibre important?

Eating a diet high in fibre is thought to help prevent constipation and its related problems. It may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and help control blood sugar levels. And it may help you reach and stay at a healthy weight.

What is the recommended daily amount of fibre?

In general, experts recommend that men ages 19 and older try to get 38 grams of fibre a day. Women ages 19 and older should try to get 25 grams a day. If you have questions about how much fibre you need, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian.

How can you get more fibre?

Increase the amount of fibre in your diet slowly so that your stomach can adjust to the change. Adding too much fibre too quickly may cause stomach upset and gas.

If you need help changing your diet, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

  • Choose whole grain breads and cereals.
    • Look for ones that have at least 4 grams of fibre in each serving.
    • Buy bread that lists whole wheat (or other whole grains), stone-ground wheat, or cracked wheat as the first ingredients.
  • Eat brown rice, bulgur, or millet.

    Choose these instead of white rice.

  • Eat several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day.

    Good choices include berries, apples, figs, oranges, pears, prunes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, corn, peas, and beans.

  • Eat cooked dry beans and other legumes.

    Beans (navy, pinto, black, kidney, lima, white, great northern), split peas, lentils, and chickpeas are good sources of fibre.

  • Check labels to find the amount of fibre in packaged foods and fibre supplements.

    For example, bran has a lot of fibre. But many bran products, such as muffins and waffles, contain very little bran. Check the labels for the actual fibre content.

  • Drink plenty of water every day.

    High-fibre diets need lots of water to work properly. If your diet has enough fibre in it, your stools should become softer, larger, and easier to pass.

Some doctors recommend adding bran to your diet to help boost your fibre intake. If you do this, start slowly with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) a day. Gradually increase the amount to 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) a day.

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

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