Top 7 Fibre Foods and Facts
Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is not just about what you cut out but what you put in. Fibre is a good example of an essential nutrient many of us are simply not getting enough of. This matters: good levels of fibre can help to fill you up and release energy slowly, maintain healthy digestion and help to keep you regular.
So why do so few of us fulfil the recommended intake?
A lack of information seems to be the main issue. For example, while most of us recognise the correlation between a diet high in fat and sugar and heart disease few understand the preventative role fibre can play in tackling the same disease. It's time to put fibre back on your nutritional agenda.
Here’s a rundown of some key fibre facts along with seven foods that are veritably full of it.
7 Facts on Fibre
- Fibre only naturally occurs in plant-based foods
- It is recommended that grown adults take in around 18 – 30g of fibre each day
- There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble
- Soluble fibre – unlike insoluble fibre – can be broken down by the bowel and helps reduce cholesterol and constipation
- Insoluble fibre allows foods to be properly digested and helps your bowels stay healthy
- Fibre makes you feel full, which helps when losing weight
- Too much fibre can cause flatulence and negatively speed up the digestive process.
7 Foods High in Fibre
Beans are an excellent source of fibre. Whichever way you like them – baked, thrown into a chilli, in a salad – beans are packed with the stuff. Every 100g of haricot beans contains a whopping 10g of fibre!
Soy Milk (and Cereal)
Including soy milk in your diet will do wonders for your insides. Partly this is due to lactose being hard for many to digest, but also because soy milk contains fibre – around 0.6g per every 100g. It may seem a small amount but by pouring soy milk onto your wholegrain cereal each day – also rich in fibre – you will get a head-start on your RDA.
Oats are not just something you should eat occasionally in porridge – why not make this fibre-rich ingredient a mainstay of a healthy diet? Nairn’s new and improved organic oatcakes are packed with more fibre than ever and can be easily incorporated into your diet. Try using them as a base for a canny canape or even to make this chocolate oat lime tart; or you could just enjoy them as a satisfying snack, topped with avocado or hummus. The choice is yours!
Potatoes and healthy eating can seem a world apart, but they are not actually that bad for you (though chips and potato salad for example should be consumed in moderation). They certainly provide a decent amount of soluble fibre, with a small baked potato reckoned to contain 3g, but only if you eat the fibre-laden skin. Which is the best bit, isn’t it?
If you eat rice a lot then it is a good idea to mix it up and plump for wholegrain rice at least half of the time; a small step that will pay dividends. Aside from having a lower glycaemic index than white rice, brown rice also boasts a lot more fibre – 1.8g compared to 0.4g – and has a lovely nutty flavour.
You will probably be aware of lentils’ low calorie/high nutrition status but do you have your finger on the pulse enough to know that they also provide a stellar source of fibre? The USDA puts it at 8g of fibre per every 100g – so there’s no excuse not to line your kitchen cupboards with this versatile ingredient.
Fruits like apples, pears and bananas are all high in fibre but raspberries top the lot – offering 8g of fibre per 100g. They come into season in late summer so make sure to stock up while you can – you can freeze the surplus for the winter months. Look out for Scottish Raspberries which are particularly tasty.
And the Rest...
Other foods high in fibre include vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, artichokes and carrots; nuts like walnuts and pecans and most other pulses and grains. There’s plenty of delicious and wholesome options for you to choose from.