What is fibre?

Fibre is the indigestible parts of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes. It is type of a carbohydrate that helps keep our digestive systems healthy.

There are three different types of fibre which all have different functions and health benefits.

Bowl of high fibre cereal with blueberriesSoluble fibre helps to slow the emptying process in our stomachs, which helps you feel fuller. It also helps to lower cholesterol and stabilise your blood glucose levels.

Soluble fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, oats, barley and legumes.

VegetablesInsoluble fibre absorbs water to help to soften the contents of our bowels and support regular bowel movements. It also helps to keep us full and keep the bowel environment healthy.

Insoluble fibre is found in wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat bran and the skin of fruit and vegetables.

Brown rice

Resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine and instead proceeds to the large intestine where it can assist in the production of good bacteria and improves bowel health.

Resisitant starch is found in undercooked pasta, under ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potato and rice.

Why is fibre important?

Dietary fibre is important for our digestive health and regular bowel movements.

Fibre also helps you feel fuller for longer, can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and can assist in preventing some diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.

High fibre, wholemeal breads

How much fibre do I need?
(over 18 years)
Acceptable intake
Males 30g per day
Females 25g per day

Eating a variety of plant-based foods will help you get enough fibre each day. This includes:

  • choosing wholegrain, wholemeal and/or high fibre varieties of grain-based foods like bread and pasta
  • enjoying a variety of wholegrains, such as rice, oats, quinoa, barley, polenta and buckwheat
  • having two pieces of fruit and five servings of vegetables a day.

You can also boost your fibre intake with:

  • a sprinkle of bran or psyllium husk on cereal, muesli or yoghurt
  • a small handful of nuts and seeds as a snack
  • adding legumes to meals.
Sources of fibre
Food Serving size Fibre content
Wholemeal pasta 1 cup 7.9g
Carrot (skin on) 1 cup 6.9g
Kidney beans 100g 6.5g
Corn 1 medium cob 5.9g
Rolled oats 1/2 cup 4.5g
Wholemeal biscuit 2 biscuits 4.2g
Broccoli (skin on) 1 cup 3.8g
Lentils 100g 3.7g
Sweet potato (skin on) 1 cup 3.7g
Brown rice 1 cup 2.7g
Almond 30g (25 almonds) 2.6g
Dried apricot 30g (5 dried apricots) 2.5g
Wholegrain bread 1 slice 2.4g
Banana 1 medium 2.3g
Apple 1 medium 2.2g
Psyllium husk 1 tablespoon 2.2g
Popcorn (air popped) 1 cup 1.2g

Produced by Nutrition Australia Vic Division, October 2014.
© 2014. The Australian Nutrition Foundation (Victoria) Inc. t/a Nutrition Australia Vic Division.  All rights reserved.