Not too long ago, fibre was typecast as a mere digestive aid. So if hearing the word reminds you of those Metamucil ads or your dad’s fibre supplements, it’s not your fault. In reality, fibre is much more intricate than that.
A complex carb found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and most healthy plant-based foods, and fibre may be your secret weapon for long-term health, healthy gut, sustainable fitness levels, promotion of weight loss, and prevention of chronic disease.
Basically, including high-fibre foods in your diet is an effortless way of reaping various health benefits. Sadly, it is estimated that 95% of American adults and children don’t meet their recommended daily intake of fibre. This is strange if you consider how easily you can up your intake of this nutrient by adding some readily available foods to your diet.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), you should be aiming for these amounts of fibre per day:
- Men 50 and younger: 38 gram of fibre
- Women 50 and younger: 25 grams of fibre
- Men over 50: 30 grams of fibre
- Women over 50: 21 grams of fibre
The good news is that it is relatively easy to increase your fibre intake. Following are some of the best foods that can help you reach these goals.
Avocado is a fantastic food as it is loaded with healthy fasts instead of being high in carbohydrates. They are high in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and various B vitamins. With 10 grams of fibre per cup of raw avocado, they are one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet.
Compared to most nutritious foods, lentils are much more affordable. But the low price tag does not compromise its quality. They are very high in proteins and loaded with various essential nutrients. A cup of cooked lentils contains 12.1 grams of fibre.
Air-popped popcorn without any additions (caramel, butter, cheese, etc.) is a great food when it comes to fibre content per calorie. 100 grams of popped popcorn contain 14.1 grams of fiber, making it the best snack you can munch on if you aim to increase your fibre intake. However, steer clear of fatty additions, as they can multiply the number of calories in popcorn real quick.
This often forgotten fruit at the grocery store is one of the best fruit-based sources of fibre. Pears are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and an antioxidant known as folate – a B vitamin that makes DNA and genetic materials. It also contains essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. A medium-sized raw pear contains 5.5 grams of fibre.
You’re probably already aware that carrots are a rich source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant essential for eye health. But did you know that they are an excellent source of dietary fibres as well? One cup of raw, grated carrots provides about 3 grams of fibre. It also contains healthy amounts of vitamins A and K, B vitamin folate, and plant-based calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
Seeds may seem small and simple, but almost all pack a powerful punch of nutrition – especially fibre. Flaxseeds contain the highest amount of fibre for any seeds. A tablespoon of whole flaxseeds provides a whopping 2.8 grams of fibre. Additionally, they have high-quality protein, healthy fat, vitamins B1, B6, folate, and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. With such high nutrition content, flaxseeds are the perfect addition to your morning oatmeal or cereal.
Talking about oatmeal, oats themselves contain a high amount of fibre. One cup of oats contains 16 grams of fibre. They are also a great source of plant-based folate, healthy fat, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. By consuming oats regularly, you’ll be increasing your intake of powerful antioxidants, avenanthramides, and beta-glucan – a type of soluble fibre that is linked to lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterols and healthier blood sugar levels. Starting off your day with fibre is a great way to awaken your digestive tract, and oatmeal is the best way to do that.
Artichokes are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, in addition to calcium, magnesium, and folate. One of the most overlooked sources of fiber, one whole artichoke provides around 7 grams of dietary fibre. It is also linked with lower LDL cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol, improved blood pressure, liver health, better digestive health, and is especially useful in helping with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If this odd-looking vegetable intimidates you and you’re not sure how to cook it, you can start by simply roasting them with lemon and garlic, like in this recipe.
While compiling a list of fibre-rich foods, it is unacceptable to leave out apples. This affordable yet nutritious and filling food is one of the best sources of a particular fibre called pectin. Pectin is a natural plant-based fibre known to lower cholesterol, manage diarrhoea, improve digestive tract health, and aid in healthy weight management. A medium-sized raw apple contains 4.4 grams of fibre.
Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can consume on this planet. It’s packed with vitamin C and K, folate, B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and contains various antioxidants and potent cancer-fighting nutrients. Compared to most vegetables, it is relatively high in protein. So it’s no surprise that it also includes a healthy amount of fibre. One cup of broccoli contains 2.4 grams of fibre.
While increasing the amount of fibre in your diet, it is crucial to do it gradually, so your body gets the time to adjust. Making sure that you drink plenty of water to help make your body more adaptable to fibre.