Dietary Fibre Reduces Inflammation

by Ashleigh Feltham,  Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist

The benefits of giving your body enough dietary fibre are extensive. Some of the many reasons include supporting your gut health and function, promoting a healthy weight, keeping your blood sugar levels stable and helping to lower your blood pressure. Another reason to add to this extensive list could be helping to reduce inflammation in your body.

Firstly, it’s important to clarify that inflammation is a necessary bodily function. Without inflammation, your body would not heal itself properly after an injury or sickness. Inflammation is also a normal part of exercise. When you train, muscle fibres tear, and inflammation is an important part of muscle growth and repair.

Dietary Fibre Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation can become a problem when it is occurring over the long term, also called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause a list of unwanted outcomes, including chronic diseases like type two diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

When your body is in a state of inflammation, it releases C-reactive protein. The liver creates C-reaction protein and releases it into the blood. Chronic high levels of C-reactive protein are also linked to an increased risk of heart disease in the future.

One review of seven studies investigated the effects of dietary fibre and C-reactive protein. The studies were at least two weeks in duration. Six of the seven studies concluded that when dietary fibre intake was higher, C-reactive protein levels were 25-54% lower. The amount of dietary fibre that was linked to these impressive results was 3.3-7.8g of dietary fibre per megajoule. One megajoule is equal to 238,846 calories.

Dietary Fibre Reduces Inflammation

It is important to mention that dietary fibre cannot cause these effects alone. The researchers noted that the dietary fibre was part of a combination of inflammation-reducing components. This included weight loss as well as a healthy composition of types of fat. This meant a modification of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats, which all affect inflammation responses in your body differently. Too much saturated fat in your diet and an imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 polyunsaturated fats can increase the state of inflammation in your body. Omega-3 fat in contrast is linked to reducing inflammation in the body.

The reasons behind this reduced inflammation is not yet fully understood, and more research is needed to investigate the mechanisms. However, one of the proposed reasons is the positive effects of dietary fibre in promoting weight loss. Excess energy within fat cells excretes compounds that promote inflammation in the body.

Dietary fibre slows the rate of sugar release into the bloodstream, reducing the amount of insulin and thereby reducing inflammation. Other proposed mechanisms include altering how your body makes and replaces insulin, glucose, interleukin-6, adiponectin, triglycerides and free fatty acids.

This research emphasises the need to meet your daily dietary fibre needs. You are not alone if you think you lack enough dietary fibre each day. It is estimated more than 50% of children and more than 70% of adults are not meeting their recommended dietary fibre targets each day.

An adult requires 25-38g of dietary fibre each day. Fibre-rich plant foods include wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. Aim for half of each meal consisting of produce and include more plant sources of protein to achieve this daily target.

Dietary Fibre Reduces Inflammation

Take home message:

If you are one of the many people not getting their recommended daily dietary fibre needs, now is the time to start adjusting your diet to reduce inflammation and allow your body to function at its best for life.



  1. Fayet-Moore, F., Cassettari, T., Tuck, K., McConnell, A., & Petocz, P. (2018). Dietary Fibre Intake in Australia. Paper I: Associations with Demographic, Socio-Economic, and Anthropometric Factors. Nutrients, 10(5), 599.
  2. North, C., Venter, C. & Jerling, J. The effects of dietary fibre on C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker predicting cardiovascular disease. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 921–933 (2009).
  3. Ellulu, M. S., Patimah, I., Khaza’ai, H., Rahmat, A., & Abed, Y. (2017). Obesity and inflammation: the linking mechanism and the complications. Archives of medical science : AMS, 13(4), 851–863.