The Facts and Figures on Fibre

Fibre is a substance found in foods of plant origin. Unlike other dietary components, it is resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestine. According to the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI), almost 80 % of Irish adults do not eat enough fibre. National guidelines recommend a daily intake of 24 – 35 g of fibre to keep our digestive system working at its best. Lower intakes can lead to problems like constipation, bloating and digestive discomfort.

There are two types of fibre and we need both to maintain optimal digestive health. The two main types of fibre are soluble fibre and insoluble fibre and it is best to get a mixture of both in the diet every day, ideally to a ratio of 1:3.

Soluble fibre dissolves in water as it moves through your digestive tract and can help improve your health by slowing down the rate at which your intestine absorbs glucose and cholesterol. Therefore, soluble fibre can help regulate your blood levels of these nutrients which can be useful in the management of diabetes or reducing risk of cardio vascular disease (CVD). Examples of food that contain soluble fibre are oats, peas, beans, citrus fruits, banana, apple, and root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water, meaning that it passes through your gut without being broken down, thus helping to add bulk to stools. This type of fibre is found in wholegrain cereals, bran, cauliflower, green beans, nuts and seeds.

As a food business owner you have a significant role to play in helping to increase fibre intake in the Irish population. Here are some helpful tips to do so:

  • Add seeds to your salads, soups and freshly baked breads - pumpkin, chia, sunflower, linseeds/flaxseeds are all great sources of insoluble fibre.
  • Use wholemeal or multigrain breads and brown rice (white equivalents are a poor source of fibre).
  • Try to use brown pasta instead of refined flour-based white pasta.
  • Offer more fresh fruit as a dessert or breakfast option on your menu. Be creative and slice apple or strawberries into a salad. A piece of fruit provides around 2 g of fibre and remember that most of it is in the skins.
  • Use nuts to replace croutons in salads or soups and add them to steamed vegetables (toast nuts to enhance the flavour).
  • Consider legumes or even ancient grains like quinoa, bulgur, buckwheat, amaranth and millet. They are easy inclusions to your menu as mains, salads or side dishes, and cost-effective too. 

healthpro works closely with restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, hotels and bars nationwide, helping these food providers to make a significant contribution towards the goal of increasing the fibre intake of consumers, thus helping to improve digestive health. healthpro Menu Mentoring® has enabled thousands of menu items across the country to be accurately rebranded as "High-Fibre” options. Get in touch with us today on +35386 4119222 or emailing to find out how your business can be a leader in this important area of public health and in turn benefit from a unique marketing opportunity.

Published on 5 June 2018 | Back to June Articles