What is dietary fibre?
Dietary fibre is plant material that cannot be digested by the body.
Dietary fibre helps the digestive system to move the food we eat through the intestines and push the waste material out of the body.
Foods that are rich in fibre include beans, pulses, and vegetables such as broccoli and carrots.
What is fibre?
Dietary fibre is made up of plant material, in particular cellulose from plant cell walls that your body cannot break down.
It is essential in helping our body to remain healthy because it helps to move the food we eat through our digestive system, allowing the body to absorb nutrients, whilst moving the waste products easily through our system to be excreted.
Soluble and insoluble fibre
Foods that contain a lot of fibre typically contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre dissolves easily in water and is broken down in the large intestine into a gel-like substance. One of its many benefits is to help reduce blood cholesterol.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. Instead it travels around the digestive tract absorbing fluid and picking up other waste matter. The fibre aids the journey of the waste matter through the intestines and out the other end. Not surprisingly this type of fibre helps to prevent constipation.
Fibre rich foods include oats, pulses, whole grains and vegetables.
How much dietary fibre do I need?
The amount of fibre a person needs depends on their age. For example, 11-16 year olds need about 25 grams of fibre per day.
A diet that is high in fibre can help to reduce hunger and help you to feel fuller for longer.
The correct amount of dietary fibre prevents constipation and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, bowel cancer and obesity.
Dietary fibre quiz
Test your knowledge with this quick quiz.
Discover more about this topic from around Bitesize.