A guide to high-fibre foods

In today’s fast-paced, modern world of convenience foods, ready meals and Deliveroo, the "standard Western diet” often falls short of providing the essential nutrients our bodies crave. One vital component that can often get overlooked is dietary fibre. 


As a nutritionist who specialises in digestive and women’s hormonal health, I’m excited to guide you through the wonders of high-fibre foods, and how you can ensure you’re meeting your daily fibre needs for optimal health and wellbeing.

Learning from the dietary wisdom of our ancestors

It might surprise you to learn that our ancestors consumed a staggering 100-150 grams of fibre per day – which is about ten times more than the standard Western diet! Their diets, rooted in whole, unprocessed foods, laid the foundation for robust digestive health and overall well-being.

In the UK, the recommended daily dietary intake for fibre is 30 grams per day, although most people struggle to get even 20 grams. Below I will explain how you can easily incorporate it into your diet, but first, let’s explore why fibre is so crucial for our health.

Why fibre matters

One of the biggest benefits of fibre is to your digestive system – think of it as fibre’s best friend! It keeps things moving smoothly, helps you stay regular, and even supports the growth of good bacteria in your gut, keeping your digestion in top shape.

However, the benefits of dietary fibre extend far beyond aiding digestion. Fibre plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy weight, managing blood sugar levels, and supporting heart health.

For women’s hormonal health, in particular, fibre promotes a balanced gut microbiome, which facilitates the elimination of excess hormones and contributes to stable blood sugar levels. Additionally, a fibre-rich diet has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.

Types of fibre: Soluble vs. insoluble

Before we delve into high-fibre foods, let's understand the two main types of dietary fibre: soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. This type of fibre is renowned for its ability to lower cholesterol levels and stabilise blood sugar. Foods rich in soluble fibre include oats, barley, beans, lentils, and certain fruits such as apples and citrus fruits.
  • Insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the stool, promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Whole grains, vegetables, and the skins of fruits are excellent sources of insoluble fibre. 

Embracing a variety of both soluble and insoluble fibre is key to reaping the full spectrum of benefits.

Which foods are highest in fibre?


Beans and legumes are not only rich in protein but also brimming with fibre. These nutritional powerhouses, including lentils, chickpeas, and various beans, offer substantial amounts of fibre per serving. Incorporate them into soups, stews, or salads for a hearty and nutritious meal.

Typical fibre portion sizes:

  • 1 cup of cooked lentils: 16 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked split peas: 16 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans: 15 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas: 12 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked kidney beans: 11 grams

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are tiny powerhouses packed with a surprising amount of fibre. Despite their small size, they offer a substantial amount of this essential nutrient and are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds are among the highest in fibre, with chia seeds being particularly high.

Typical fibre portion sizes:

  • 30 grams (one handful) of chia seeds: 10 grams
  • 30 grams (one handful) of flaxseeds: 8 grams
  • 30 grams (one handful) of sunflower seeds: 5 grams
  • 30 grams (one handful) of almonds: 3.5 grams
  • 30 grams (one handful) of pistachios: 3 grams

Whole grains

Make the switch from refined grains to whole grains for an instant fibre boost. Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and oats are versatile options that can easily become staples in your diet.

Typical portion sizes:

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa: 5 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice: 4 grams
  • 1 cup of oats: 4 grams
  • 1 slice of wholewheat bread: 2-3 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked wholewheat pasta: 6 grams


Berries, apples, pears, and oranges are not just delicious – they're fibre-packed wonders. Enjoy them as snacks, add them to smoothies, or include them in your breakfast for a burst of natural sweetness and fibre. Not only will they increase your daily fibre intake, they will also provide essential nutrients and antioxidants.

Typical fibre portion sizes:

  • 1 whole avocado: 9-10 grams
  • 1 cup of raspberries: 8 grams
  • 1 medium-sized pear: 6 grams
  • 1 medium-sized apple: 4 grams
  • 1 cup of strawberries: 3 grams


Load your plate with a rainbow of vegetables – I usually recommend half a plate to my clients. Broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes are excellent choices. Incorporating a variety of these fibre-rich vegetables into your meals can significantly contribute to meeting your daily fibre needs while providing a range of essential vitamins and minerals.

Typical fibre portion sizes:

  • 1 medium-sized artichoke: 7 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts: 6 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli: 5 grams
  • 1 cup of raw or cooked carrots: 4 grams
  • 1 cup of cooked spinach: 4 grams 

How to get the recommended 30 grams/day

Now that we've explored the diverse world of high-fibre foods, let's discuss how to ensure you're meeting the recommended daily intake of at least 30 grams.

  1. Start your day right. Kickstart your morning with a fibre-rich breakfast. A bowl of oats topped with berries and nuts or whole grain toast with avocado are delicious choices.
  2. Snack smartly. Swap processed snacks for fibre-rich alternatives. A handful of nuts, and seeds, combined with a piece of fruit can satisfy your cravings while contributing to your daily fibre intake.
  3. Embrace whole foods. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. Choose whole fruits over fruit juices, and replace refined grains with their whole counterparts.
  4. Sample daily meal plan. Below is a sample meal plan that includes well over the recommended daily amount of 30 grams of fibre:


  • Oats (1 cup): 4 grams of fibre
  • Chia Seeds (1 tablespoon): 5 grams of fibre
  • Raspberries (1 cup): 8 grams of fibre
  • Almonds (1 handful): 3.5 grams of fibre
  • Total: 20.5 grams


  • Quinoa (1 cup, cooked): 5 grams of fibre
  • Black Beans (1 cup, cooked): 15 grams of fibre
  • Mixed Vegetables (1 cup, cooked): 5-7 grams of fibre (depending on the mix)
  • Total: 25-27 grams


  • Grilled Chicken Breast (200 grams): 0 grams of fibre
  • Brown Rice (1 cup, cooked): 4 grams of fibre
  • Steamed Broccoli (1 cup): 5 grams of fibre
  • Total: 9 grams

Total for the day: Approximately 55.5-57.5 grams of fibre.

This is just a sample, and there are many ways to reach the 30 grams of fibre goal throughout the day. It's important to note that individual dietary needs and preferences vary, so you can adjust portions and food choices according to your preferences while keeping an eye on the fibre content in each meal.

Embarking on a journey toward better health isn’t always about a drastic overhaul; sometimes, it's the small, intentional changes that make the most impact. Incorporating high-fibre foods into your daily diet is one of these small yet impactful steps towards optimal health. 

By following the wisdom of our ancestors and embracing a diverse array of fibre-rich foods, you'll not only meet the recommended daily intake, you'll exceed it. Your journey to health starts with the choices you make every day.

Looking for some support?

If you're seeking personalised guidance in navigating dietary changes or have specific health goals in mind, feel free to reach out. Visit my profile for more info, or book a free 30-minute consultation.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SE12 & SE3
Written by Emma Mukasa, IBS, Gut & Women's Health Nutritionist, BA(Hons), Dip CNM
London SE12 & SE3

Hi! I am a registered Nutritional Therapist & Health Coach with a passion for helping people with their digestion, weight and hormone balance. I commit 100% to helping my clients achieve their health and wellness goals and have helped numerous people.  I offer a FREE No-Obligation 30 M...

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