top of page

The importance of fiber

Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. It can help to regulate digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. It can help to lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels. Foods that are high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans, apples, and blueberries.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and passes through the digestive tract relatively intact. It helps to promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include whole grains, nuts, and vegetables such as broccoli and carrots.

Eating enough fiber has many health benefits, one of the most common known benefits is that fiber helps to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. It also helps to keep our digestive system healthy by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut. Additionally, fiber can help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. If you want to lose weight, studies show that fiber can also help with weight loss, reduce blood pressure and improve the body’s response to insulin.

Despite its many benefits, studies show that the average consumption of fiber is often lower than the recommended amount of 30-40 grams per day. In the Netherlands, for example, the average intake of fiber is around 22 grams per day.

To increase your fiber intake, it is recommended to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Additionally, it is important to drink plenty of water when consuming high-fiber foods to prevent constipation and ensure proper digestion.

Here is a list of fiber rich foods per 100 grams:

  1. Split peas: 8.3 grams

  2. Lentils: 7.9 grams

  3. Black beans: 7.5 grams

  4. Almonds: 12.5 grams

  5. Chia seeds: 34.4 grams

  6. Figs: 2.9 grams

  7. Avocado: 6.7 grams

  8. Raspberries: 6.5 grams

  9. Bran flakes: 9.1 grams

  10. Broccoli: 2.6

Incorporating these fiber rich foods into your diet can help you meet that goal and maintain a healthy digestive system.

If you are looking to increase your fiber intake, it is important to do so gradually and to drink plenty of fluids. This will help your body adjust to the increased fiber intake and reduce the likelihood of experiencing negative consequences. It is also a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before making any significant dietary changes. One of the most common negative consequences of increasing your fiber intake too quickly is gastrointestinal discomfort. This can include bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and even diarrhea. This is because your body needs time to adjust to the increased fibre intake and the change in the type of bacteria that are present in your gut.

written by:

The Sweatbox dietician Ariadne Roodt


bottom of page