Fibre rich foods can improve your gut health to a great extent. From maintaining body weight to preventing constipation, explore how adding high dietary fibre foods to your diet can help you develop a healthy lifestyle.
Getting enough fibre in your daily diet is essential if you want to have good gut health. Dietary fibre is a vital plant-based nutrient that adds bulk or roughage to your diet. It is an indigestible part of wholegrain cereals, pulses, fruits, and vegetables, which is required to digest food properly.
Fibre-rich foods help in maintaining gut health and offer other benefits like a decrease in blood cholesterol, blood sugar level, and fat absorption. They keep you feeling full for a long time too. According to ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and NIN (National Institute of Nutrition), Indian adults need about 30g/2000 kcal/day of dietary fibre. Foods with the most fibre are found in abundance in nature.
Types of dietary fibre
Before you learn about foods high in fibre content, understand the two types of fibre available: soluble and insoluble. They are explained in detail below.
- Soluble fibres form a gel-like material when dissolved in water. They slow down digestion and provide a feeling of fullness. Examples include beta-glucans (cereals), pectin (apples), gums (guar gum), and mucilage (flax seeds, chia seeds, figs).
- Insoluble fibres do not form a gel as they are water-insoluble, made up of non-soluble cellulose that speeds up the passage of food through your digestive tract. Examples include lignin (pears), cellulose (cabbage), insoluble pectin, and hemicellulose (beetroots).
Some of the common fibre rich foods you might know about are oatmeal porridge, cornflakes with milk, whole wheat bread, salads, green sprouts, etc.
The benefits of eating fibre-rich foods
Consumption of adequate fibre foods has plenty of benefits, including: -
Maintains body weight:Food rich in dietary fibre helps maintain the right body weight and metabolism.
Controls cholesterol level and fat absorption:The best fibre foods regulate your body’s cholesterol level by further reducing fat absorption.
Regulates bowel movement that aids gut health:Foods that have high fibre content may promote healthy gut microbiota that aids in digestion.
Maintains body’s glucose levels:Foods high in dietary fibre help maintain your body’s insulin level as they are low in glucose content.
Lowers the risk of diseases:Fibre-enriched foods may aid in the reduction of serious ailments and long-term diseases as they contain antioxidants.
Helps you feel full:Foods with the highest fibre content add bulk to your diet and provide fullness.
Prevents constipation:Fibre-rich foods help ease bowel movements, which prevents constipation.
Promotes overall health and wellbeing:Daily intake of food rich in dietary fibre helps you maintain different body functions.
Foods high in fibre
Foods with the most fibre include a variety of vegetables, fruits and grains. Below is a list of foods high in fibre that promote a healthy life. Fibre content as per the Indian Food Composition Table (IFCT 2017) is listed below:
1. Cereals and grains:
- Whole grain cereals: 100 grams of whole wheat cereals provide 11.36 g of total fibre, as it is used frequently in Indian households. Plan your diet accordingly.
- Quinoa: 100 grams of quinoa gives you 14.66 g of total fibre. Prepare a quinoa salad for a fibre rich diet.
2. Pulses and Legumes
- Soybeans: 100 grams of brown soybean gives you 21.55 grams of total fibre. You may combine it with whole wheat cereals for good fibre content.
- Green gram sprouts: 100 grams of boiled or raw green gram sprouts add adequate fibre to your diet. They provide proteins, vitamins A, C, E, B, iron, folate, zinc, and potassium. The total amount of dietary fibre provided by green gram sprouts is 17.04 grams.
- Kidney beans/Rajma: 100 grams of rajma provides 16.57 grams of total dietary fibre.
3. Vegetables and Fruits
- Strawberries: They provide 2.5 grams of fibre (per 100 grams serving) that can be mixed with other fruits/smoothies to make it a high fibre meal.
- Pear: 100 grams of pear provide 4.48 grams of fibre. Pears are low sodium fruit and are good for fibre intake.
- Bael fruit: Being one of the fruits with the most fibre, 100 grams of bael fruit provide 6.31 grams of total dietary fibre and is highly recommended during summer days as it contains calcium and vitamins.
4. Nuts and seeds
- Almonds: 100 grams of almonds contains approx. 13.06 grams of fibre. They add a nutty flavour to your meal too and are highly nutritious.
- Peanuts: 100 grams of peanuts provide 9.5 grams of fibre, and they are rich in biotin, niacin, folate, manganese, and other nutrients.
- Walnuts: 100 grams of walnuts provide 5.39 grams of fibre in your diet. They are high in omega-6-fatty acids and contain significant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid.
- Sunflower seeds: 100 grams of sunflower seeds provide 10.80 grams of total dietary fibre. Just sprinkle some of this fibre rich food daily on your puddings, curd, yoghurt, shakes etc.
To wrap up, it is important to include fibre rich foods in your daily diet as they have multiple benefits. From maintaining weight and controlling blood sugar to preventing constipation and keeping you full for hours, foods that contain fibre are highly beneficial.
They also act as a prebiotic, which promotes good gut bacteria and helps with digestion. However, consult your doctor before taking fibre enriched foods if you suffer from any health condition or are pregnant. Having too many foods that have fibre might lead to gas in some cases. Hence, moderation is the key.