Dietary fibre is one of the primary reasons that make whole plant foods good. Increasing evidence found that sufficient fibre intake may improve digestive health and lower the risk of chronic illnesses.

Most of the positive health effects of fibre are mediated through the gut microbiota, which is the millions of bacteria living in the gastrointestinal system. This article discusses what you need to know about dietary fibre and its importance and benefits.

What is Dietary Fibre?

Dietary fibre, which is also known as bulk or roughage, are parts of plant foods that the body cannot absorb or digest. Unlike other food elements, such as proteins, fats or carbohydrates, which the body can easily break down, fibre is not digestible and will pass through the stomach, small intestine and colon intact.

Fibre is typically categorised into two categories, which includes:

  • Soluble Fibre

This fibre category can dissolve in water, forming a gel-like substance. It can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It is commonly found in peas, beans, barley, oats, apples, carrots, citrus fruits and psyllium.

  • Insoluble Fibre

This fibre type promotes peristalsis, a series of movements that pushes foods through the digestive tract. It also helps add bulk to the stool. Hence, people who suffer from constipation may benefit from insoluble fibre. Good sources of this fibre class are beans, nuts, wheat bran, whole-wheat flour and vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower.

The amount of soluble and insoluble fibre in plant foods differs. Consuming a wide variety of high-fibre foods ensures you get the greatest health benefit.

Health Benefits and Importance of Dietary Fibre

Dietary fibre offers numerous potential health advantages. Below are some of its importance and benefits.

  • Feeds Beneficial Gut Bacteria

Around five hundred unique species of bacteria inhabit the intestine, totalling around one-hundred trillion cells. These intestinal bacteria are known as gut flora. Amazingly, gut flora has a mutually beneficial relationship with humans; humans offer food, shelter and a safe home for the bacteria, and in return, the bacteria will take care of certain things the body cannot perform. Some of the various types of bacteria are vital for many health aspects, including blood sugar control, weight control, brain function, and immune function.

Similar to any other organism, bacteria need to eat to survive and get energy. The dietary fibre feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut, functioning as prebiotics. Hence, fibre helps prompt the growth of these bacteria.

  • Normalises Bowel Movements and Maintain Bowel Health

One key benefit of dietary fibre is relieving constipation. It increases the stool’s size and weight and softens it, making it easier to pass. People with loose or watery stools may also benefit from fibre as it helps solidify the stool and make it bulkier. A high-fibre diet also helps keep a healthy bowel system and reduce the risk of haemorrhoids.

  • Promotes Weight Loss

Some types of fibre can help in weight loss by suppressing appetite. Fibre can absorb water in the gut, resulting in slower nutrient absorption and an increasing fullness feeling. Some studies found that increasing dietary fibre intake can lead to weight loss by automatically lowering calorie intake.

  • Control Blood Sugar Levels

Fibre, particularly soluble fibre, helps slow sugar absorption and improve blood sugar levels. A balanced diet that incorporates insoluble fibre may also lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Lower Cholesterol Levels

Viscous soluble fibre can help lower blood cholesterol levels by reducing LDL or bad cholesterol levels. One review involving sixty-seven controlled studies found that consuming two to ten grams of soluble fibre everyday lowered, on average, LDL cholesterol by 2.2 mg per dL and total cholesterol by 1.7 mg per dL.

  • Lowers Risk of Colorectal Cancer

According to the National University Cancer Institute Singapore, colorectal cancer is the leading killer in Singapore, affecting almost one-thousand nine hundred cases every year. Several studies have associated a high intake of fibre-rich foods with a decreased risk of colon cancer.

  • Recommended Fibre Intake

Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. Consuming sufficient amounts of dietary fibre can promote good health. The Singapore Health Promotion Board recommends women in Singapore consume about twenty grams of dietary fibre every day. On the other hand, Singaporean men are advised to consume about twenty-six grams of dietary fibre daily. These quantities equate to approximately two servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

The best fibre choices to include in your diet are fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, beans, nuts and seeds. Sourcing for organic dietary fibre sources from a reliable organic store in Singapore also helps you leverage the goodness of a toxic-free, nutritious diet. Add fibre gradually in the diet and drink plenty of water to prevent intestinal gas, cramping and abdominal bloating.


Dietary fibre or roughage cannot be digested by the body and will pass through the digestive tract and out of the body intact. It offers multiple potential health benefits, including promoting digestive health and controlling blood glucose levels. To get the best health benefit, consume various high-fibre, organic foods from a reputable organic shop in Singapore.

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