Articles,  Nutrition

Are you working out your bowel muscles?

So you go to the gym or keep active for your health. What about keeping your bowels healthy and fit.

Why is it Important?

Dietary fibre is important for good health. It plays an important part in bowel health assisting in:

  • keeping your bowel habits regular
  • shown to reduce the risk of bowel cancer
  • helps lower blood cholesterol
  • regulate blood glucose levels and
  • helps with weight control

Those following a gluten free diet

A diet that is GF can possibly become low in fibre as high fibre grains like wheat, rye, barley and oats are no longer allowed. Fortunately with a little bit of planning and preparation you can meet your dietary fibre requirements on a GF diet.

What is Dietary Fibre?

Dietary fibre also referred to as roughage is the segment of plants that can not be broken down. There are three main types:

  • Soluble Fibre
  • Insoluble Fibre and
  • Resistant Starch

Where is it Found?

Fibre is found in a range of foods including fruits, vegetables, bran or husk of cereal grains, nuts and seeds, legumes and lentils, skins of fruit and vegetables.

Table 1: Types of dietary fibre

Type of Fibre Description  GF Sources
Soluble Forms gel solution in gut

Short chain fatty acids and gas produced

By-products may help:

  • relieve constipation and
  • decrease any pressure in large intestine, possibly resulting in a reduction in abdominal pain

Lowers blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels

Legumes (peas, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, baked beans)

Some fruits (prunes, plums, berries, bananas, apples, pears)

Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatos, onions)

Psyllium husks, chia, rice bran, soy flour and soy grits


Insoluble Undergoes minimal change in gut Helps regulate bowel function forming larger bulkier stools.  


Outer husk of cereal grains – wholegrain gluten free breads and cereals, brown rice

Fruit (avocado, bananas, skin of tomato)

Vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, celery, potato skin)

Nuts and seeds

Corn bran

Resistant Starch Starch and starch products that escape digestion

Helps increase stool mass and promote intestinal health.


Seeds, legumes


Raw potatoes

Firm banana

Brown rice, wild rice

Peas, corn


High amylose maize called High-maize® is one of the richest sources.

Cooked and cooled potato, rice and pasta.


Table 2: How much dietary fibre should you get?

Gender Age (yrs) Dietary Fibre Amount (g/day)
Boys & Girls 1-3 14
Boys & Girls 4-8 18
Boys 9-13 24
Boys 14-18 28
Girls 9-13 20
Girls 14-18 22
Males 19> 30
Females 19> 25

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) Nutrient Reference values for Australian and New Zealand. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Services 2005.

Table 3: Dietary fibre of some foods

Foods Serve Size Dietary Fibre (g)
Zehnder™ GF Farmer’s Bread 1 slice 1.0
Zehnder™ Multiseed Bread 1 slice 1.4
Zehnder™ Multiseed Rolls 1 roll 1.9
Schar™ Ciabattina Grain Rolls 1 roll 4.5
Gluten Free Fruit Bread 1 slice 1-2
Gluten Free Plain Bread 1 slice 1-2
Tortilla, corn flour 1 medium 1.2
Taco, corn 1 regular 1
Breakfast Cereals
Cornflakes 1 cup 1
Cornflakes with psyllium e.g. Freedom Foods™ 1 cup 2.6
GF Muesli e.g. Freedom Foods™, Nu-Vit™, Abundant Earth™, Brookfarm™ Macademia Muesli, Carman’s™ Deluxe Fruit Muesli 1/3 cup 3-4
Mixed flake and fruit e.g. Basco Apricot and Apple, Freedom Foods™ Berry Good Morning 1 cup 2-4
Rice porridge with dried fruit e.g. Lowan’s™ 50g 4
Puffed rice 1 cup 0.3
Rice flakes with psyllium e.g. Freedom Foods 1 cup 2
Orgran™ Multigrain O’s with Quinoa 25g 2.5
Other Grains
Buckwheat kernels, boiled 100g 5
Millet, cooked 1cup 2.5
Polenta, cooked 1cup 2.3
Quinoa, boiled 100g 6
Other Grains
Soy grits 3 tbsp 6.6
Chickpea flour (Besan) 1 cup 9.8
Quinoa, flour 1 cup 8
Soy flour 1 cup 7
Amaranth flour
Buckwheat flour
Gluten Free Pasta and Rice
GF Pasta, cooked 1 cup 3.0
Orgran Multigrain Pasta with Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 3.8
Foods Serve Size Dietary Fibre (g)
Pasta, cooked e.g. Bi-Aglut™ 1 cup 4.3
Rice brown, cooked 1 cup 3.0
Rice white, cooked 1 cup 0.8
Rice, wild, cooked 1 cup 2.5
Rice Noodles, boiled 1 cup 1.1
Buckwheat Noodles (Soba), boiled 1 cup 2.8
Gluten Free Crackers
Rice cake 2 0.8
Corn Crispbread 2 slice 0.3
Rice Crackers ~15 crackers 0.6
Apple raw, unpeeled 1 medium 4
Avocado 1 6.8
Banana raw, peeled 1 medium 2.3
Blackberry 1 cup 12.0
Blueberry 1 cup 2.5
Canned fruit, drained 1 cup 4.8
Date, dried 4 1.9
Dried mixed fruit 1Tb 0.8
Grapes 1 cup 4.4
Kiwi fruit, peeled 1 medium 3
Nashi Pears, unpeeled 1 3.9
Orange, peeled 1 medium 3
Passionfruit 1 medium 2.5
Pear, unpeeled 1 medium 4.2
Prunes, dried 5 3
Rockmelon 1 cup 2.0
Strawberries 1 punnet 5.3
Sultana, dried 1/2 cup 3
Artichoke, globe, raw 1 10.7
Beans, green, cooked 1 cup 3.5
Beetroot, canned 5 slices 4
Foods Serve Size Dietary Fibre (g)
Broccoli, boiled 2 florets 3.9
Brussel Sprouts, cooked 4 3.9
Cabbage, cooked 1 cup 4.2
Capsicum, red, raw 0.5 cup 1.1
Carrot, boiled ½ cup 2.4
Cauliflower, boiled 4 florets (108g) 3.0
Celery, raw 1 med stalk 0.6
Foods Serve Size Dietary Fibre (g)
Corn on cob 1 medium 3
Cucumber, common, unpeeled 1 medium 3.7
Eggplant, raw 2 slices 2.3
Fennel, bulb, raw 1 3.9
Green bean, boiled 100g 2.5
Lettuce, iceberg, raw 1 cup 0.9
Mushrooms, common, raw 0.5 cup 0.6
Mixed vegetables, frozen, boiled 1 cup 6
Parsnip, peeled, boiled ½ cup 2
Peas Green, boiled 1 cup 10.5
Potato, unpeeled 1 average 3.3
Potato, peeled 1 average 2.3
Pumpkin, peeled, boiled ½ cup 1
Spinach, English, raw 1 cup 0.6
Swede, peeled, boiled 1 small 4.3
Side salad 1 cup 1-2
Tomato, raw 1 medium 1.5
Vegetable Soup 1 cup 5.2
Zucchini, unpeeled, boiled 1 medium 1.4
Nuts and Seeds
Almond, raw 2 Tb, 20 2.1
Cashew, raw 2 Tb, 15 1.3
Peanut, raw 2 Tb 1.4
Chia seeds 1 Tb 5.4
Linseed (Flaxseed) 1 Tb 3
Pumpkin seeds 1 Tb 1
Sesame seeds 1 Tb 1.5
Sunflower seeds 1 Tb 1.5
Peanut butter 1 Tb 2
Tahini 1 Tb 2.7
Fibre Supplements
Psyllium Husks 1 Tb 4.8
LSA Mix 1 Tb 1.9
Rice bran 1Tb 2
Legumes and Lentils
Baked beans, canned in tom sauce 1 small can 5.8
Four Bean Mix, canned, drained 1 cup 12.4
Refried Beans, canned 100g 5.3
Chickpea, canned, drained 100g 4.7
Lentil, dried, boiled 1/2 cup (100g) 3.7
Red Kidney Beans, canned, drained 1 cup 12.3
Tofu, firm, cooked 1 cup 26.4
Foods Serve Size Dietary Fibre (g)
Tofu, silken/soft, cooked 1 cup 5.8
Hummus 1 Tb 1.5
Gluten Free Snacks
Popcorn 25g (3 cups) 3.7
Corn Chips 1 small pkt 1.3
GF Muesli Bar 1 bar 2.9
GF Fruit filled baked bar e.g. Leda™ 1 bar 3.0
Sesame Snap 1 bar, 40g 2.2

Sources: Figures adapted from FoodWorks Professional Edition, Version 6, © 2009 (Xyris Software, Brisbane, Australia) and manufacturer’s analyses

10 Tips on how to Boost your Dietary Fibre Intake on a Gluten Free Diet

Tip 1: Read food labels and choose foods that contain fibre.

Table 4: Food Claims and Definitions

Food Claims Definition
Very high in fibre  / excellent source of fibre At least 6 g / serve
High fibre  / good source of fibre At least 3 g / serve
Provides fibre  / source of fibre At least 1.5 g / serve

Tip 2: Select high fibre options such as multigrain or fruit bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice

Tip 3: Leave edible skin on fruit and vegetables

Tip 4: Add legumes and lentils to your soups and casseroles

Tip 5: Add seeds, nuts, other fibre options like rice bran, psyllium, dried fruit to your homemade breads, breakfast cereals, yoghurt, biscuits, cakes etc.

Tip 6: Choose fibre rich cereals for breakfast such as muesli, puffed brown rice and other high-fibre  breakfast cereals

Tip 7: Choose whole fruits instead of juice

Tip 8: Snack on dried fruit, vegetable sticks, nuts and seeds

Tip 9: If cooking/baking gluten free using soy flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour and cornmeal (polenta) will help boost the fibre content

Tip 10: Include legumes and lentils in your diet e.g. baked beans on toast, beans on corn chips, chickpeas in salad, hummus on crackers

Table 5: Low fibre versus high fibre nutrition sample menu


Low Fibre Menu Plan



Fibre (g)



High Fibre Menu Plan






Scrambled Eggs &  Bacon 2 x White Bread

250 mL Fruit Juice










Poached eggs &  ham

2 x Wholegrain Bread

1 Orange








Chocolate Muffin






Banana Muffin with bran and nuts

1 glass low fat milk









White Bread S/wich

Cheese & Turkey

Cranberry Sauce










1 cup Brown rice


0.5 cup Corn

Side Salad










1 row Rice Crackers






Vegetable Sticks with Hummus






1 cup cooked White Pasta

Tomato Based Pasta Sauce











1 cup cooked Multigrain Pasta

Tomato Based Sauce

0.5 cup Vegetables



















Total 10.1 29.5


Don’t forget

  • Increase your fibre intake gradually, your body needs time to adapt. If you increase your intake too quickly it can cause bloating and a lot of wind!
  • Don’t go overboard! A high fibre diet is good for health, but going over the top e.g. >40 g/day can reduce your body’s absorption of important minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium from your food.
  • You need to consume adequate fluid in order to help the fibre work best in your digestive system. There is no one specific guideline for fluid as it is individual however a good aim is approximately 6-8 glasses a day.

Try our Untoasted Muesli Recipe to boost your fibre at brekky!


Serves 29

  • 1kg rolled oats
  • 3 cups cranberries or dried banana
  • 3 cups almonds, dry roasted are nice for that extra crunch
  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon

Optional: if you don’t require low FODMAP ingredients, you can increase the dried fruit quantity and variety such as adding in sultanas, goji berries


Mix ingredients together and keep in an airtight container.


Serve with milk and yoghurt and some fresh fruit on top.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serve, 65g

  • Energy 1297 (kJ) 310 (cal)
  • Protein 8.7 (g)
  • Carbohydrate 23 (g)
    Fat 19 (g)
  • Fibre 7.3 (g)



Stephanie Gaskell is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, an Accredited Sports Dietitian, and a competitive Ultra Trail Marathon Runner. She is available for Phone and Skype Consultations, and has published the FODMAP™ & Gluten Status Sports Supplement Guide.

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