Diet and Nutrition

Dietary Fibre and Your Body

Dietary fibre is the portion of food that cannot be digested by our bodies. Therefore, there is a misconception that dietary fibre is just food remains which provides no nutritional value. Actually, dietary fibre can be divided into two types: soluble and insoluble fibre. Both serve different functions in the body and can be obtained from different foods.

Health benefits of dietary fibre

Eating moderate amount of dietary fibre-rich foods helps prevent the development of many chronic diseases and improve body health.

  • Prevent and relieve constipation
    Dietary fibre increases faecal volume and stimulates peristalsis. It swells, absorbs water and lubricates the large intestine to soften faeces and make defecation easier.

  • Help maintain gut health
    Dietary fibre promotes the activity of intestinal bacteria to maintain gut health.

  • Prevent colon cancer
    Dietary fibre shortens the retention time of food residues in the intestine and so prevents the accumulation of carcinogens.

  • Help weight control and reduce the chance of obesity
    Eating dietary fibre-rich food requires relatively more time to chew. This can make people feel full easily, thus eating less food.

  • Help to stabilise blood glucose level and control diabetes
    Soluble dietary fibre can slow down the absorption of sugar.

  • Help lower blood cholesterol level and prevent heart disease
    Soluble dietary fibre combines with bile to enhance bile excretion and lower blood cholesterol level.

Foods rich in dietary fibre

Grains - wholemeal bread, red rice, oatmeal
Vegetables - Chinese kale, broccoli, spinach
Root vegetables - potato (with skin), sweet potato
Beans - chickpeas, red kidney bean, soya bean, red bean
Fungi - straw mushroom, shiitake mushroom, mushroom, cloud ear fungus
Fruits - orange, grapefruit, prune
Others- sesame, almond, cashew nut, peanut

Daily dietary fibre requirement

Adolescents and adults need not less than 25g of dietary fibre everyday while children need less. Add 5 to a child's age to calculate the amount of dietary fibre needed per day ( Age + 5 = grams of dietary fibre required per day ).
For example, a 6-year-old child would need 6+5=11g of dietary fibre per day.

Reference: Centre for Health Protection (Dietary Fibre)

Essential facts

  • Obtain dietary fibre from food rather than supplements (e.g. fibre tablets, powders, etc.).
  • Eat different varieties of dietary fibre-rich food as dietary fibre obtained from different food serves different functions.
  • Increase the intake of dietary fibre progressively to avoid gastrointestinal symptoms caused by a sudden intake of a large amount of dietary fibre.
  • Eat unpeeled fruits and vegetables (e.g. unpeeled cucumber, plums, apple and grapes, etc.).
  • Since the dietary fibre content in fresh fruit is higher than juice, eating fresh fruit is better than drinking juice.
  • Dietary fibre absorbs water. It is suggested to drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid per day to allow the dietary fibre function effectively.
  • Although dietary fibre is important to health, we should not neglect other food groups. A well balanced diet and regular exercise are of the utmost importance to good health.

Dietary fibre content of different food groups

Food group and amount Dietary fibre (g)
White rice (cooked) 100g 0.2
Brown rice (cooked) 100g 1.8
Wholemeal bread 100g 6.8
Breakfast cereals, whole wheat flakes 100g 11.7
Breakfast cereals, cornflakes 100g 3.6
Oatmeal (uncooked) 100g 10.6
Oatmeal (cooked) 100g 1.7
Quinoa (cooked) 100g 2.8
Fruits/ dried fruits    
Apple (with skin) 100g 2.4
Orange (peeled) 100g 2.4
Banana (peeled) 100g 2.6
Green kiwi 100g 3.0
Avocado 100g 6.7
Pear (Asian) 100g 3.6
Dried apricot 100g 7.7
Dried prune 100g 7.1
Raisin (seedless) 100g 3.7
Broccoli (cooked) 100g 3.3
Chinese kale (cooked) 100g 2.5
Spinach (cooked) 100g 2.4
Lettuce (cooked) 100g 1.9
Choy sum (cooked) 100g 1.6
Red Tomato (cooked) 100g 0.7
Carrot (cooked) 100g 3.0
Corn (cooked) 100g 2.4
Shiitake mushroom (cooked) 100g 2.1
Potatoes (baked, with skin) 100g 2.1
Sweet potato (baked, with skin) 100g 3.3
Dried beans    
Chickpeas (cooked) 100g 7.6
Soya bean (cooked) 100g 6.0
Red bean (cooked) 100g 7.3
Mung bean (cooked) 100g 7.6
Red kidney bean (cooked) 100g 7.4
Cashew nut (roasted) 100g 3.0
Peanut (roasted) 100g 8.0
Sesame (roasted) 100g 14.0
Pistachio (roasted) 100g 10.3
Almond (roasted) 100g 11.8

Recipes rich in dietary fibre

  Food type and amount Dietary fibre content (g)
Breakfast Low fat milk, 1 glass (240ml) 0
  Wholemeal bread, 2 slices (56g) 3.8
  Egg, 1 piece (50g) 0
Morning snack Raisins, 1/3 cup (49g) 1.8
  Almond, 1oz. (28g) 3.3
Lunch Brown rice, 1 bowl (195g) 3.5
  Steamed fish (120g) 0
  Broccoli (cooked), 1/2 bowl (90g) 2.9
  Banana, 1 piece (118g) 3.0
Afternoon snack Boiled corn 1/2 bowl (82g) 1.9
Dinner Brown rice, 1 bowl (195g) 3.5
  Chinese kale (cooked), 1/2 bowl (65g) 1.6
  Meat or chicken (120g) 0
  Orange,1 piece (131g) 3.1

  Total dietary fibre content 28.4
Nutrient Information Inquiry System, Centre for Food Safety


(Revised in June 2022)


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