10 foods that are surprisingly high in fibre
Fibre is the much less talked about ingredient to good health. It’s benefits to health are almost endless, including lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and several cancers.
Time to give it some more attention, wouldn’t you agree?
Dietary fibre can be described as the edible portion of plants, that goes through our stomach and small intestine undigested. Instead it makes its way to the large
intestine where it is broken down by bacteria.
Dietary fibre comes in 3 different types:
1. Soluble fibre
2. Insoluble fibre
3. Resistant starch
This type of fibre dissolves in water, making a gel-like consistency. It slows movement through the large intestine, where stools are made. It can help with both constipation and diarrhea, as well as helping to reduce cholesterol levels.
Examples include: Oats - Bananas - Chis seeds - Pysllium (which is the main ingredient in Metamucil) - Legumes and lentils
This type of fibre may be known more as ‘roughage’. It does not dissolve in water and gives bulk to stools, helping them move through the gut. Examples include: - Fruit and vegetables (peel and seeds have the most fibre) - Nuts and seeds - Wholegrain foods like bread, pasta and brown rice
This type of fibre feeds the good bacteria in our gut.
Examples include: Unripe banana (the very starchy ones) - Oats - Legumes
How much fibre is needed in a healthy diet?
The recommended fibre intake is: 25g for women per day 30g for men per day In addition to the health benefits, meals high in fibre are broken down slower than those lower in fibre, so you feel fuller for longer.
The good news is it’s not all “rabbit food” that you need to eat! Here is a list of high fibre foods that may well surprise you:
1. Chickpeas – half a cup of chickpeas has around 5 grams of fibre, getting you well on your way to your daily target. Great on salads and in curries, or why not try roasting them with a little olive oil and salt for a delicious high fibre snack.
2. Porridge – delicious and versatile, oats contain 5 grams of fibre in a 40g serve. Top with fruit to up the fibre even more.
3. Quinoa – with 4 grams of fibre in a 50gram serve, this nutrient powerhouse is easy to team with other high fibre foods, like stir fried vegetables.
4. Popcorn – 2 cups of air popped popcorn has 3 grams of fibre. It’s also a low calorie and tasty snack choice.
5. Psyllium husk – this little wonder food has lost popularity in recent times, but is still readily available and cheap. One tablespoon contains a whopping 5 grams of fibre, and can be easily sprinkled onto cereal or added to smoothies.
6. Beetroot – as with most vegetables, this one is high in fibre with 5 slices containing 3 grams of fibre. Add it to your salad sandwich for extra nutrients, colour and flavour.
7. Pears – with the skin on, pears have 6 grams of fibre per pear. The perfect snack whole or delicious and warming when cooked.
8. Chia seeds – these contain over 5 grams of fibre per tablespoon. Not just for muesli, these are great sprinkled over salad and added to smoothies.
9. Baked beans – this may come as no surprise, but these are very high in fibre! Half a can (approximately 200g) of baked beans contains a huge 10 gram of fibre. In a wholegrain bread toastie, these make for a super-nutritious meal.
10. Sweet potato – one small sweet potato contains 4 grams of fibre. Try roasting sweet potato chips, or adding baked sweet potato cubes to salad.
Prepared by Kara Vogt – Accredited Practicing Dietitian