6 Of The Best High Fibre Foods For A Healthy Gut
6 Of The Best High Fibre Foods For A Healthy Gut
A healthy and balanced lifestyle involves eating a wide variety of nutritious food. Part of this also means trying to include high fibre foods into your diet, in order to help your digestion and ensure it functions efficiently. What exactly does this mean though and why should we try to eat food that is high in fibre?
What is Fibre?
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is found only in plant foods — it refers to the part of the food that can't be digested by your body. There are two different types of fibre that exist and most plant foods contain a combination of both. By including these into your diet, your digestive health can be improved in a variety of ways.
This type of fibre attracts water to it. When soluble fibre comes into contact with water in the digestive tract, it dissolves into a thick and sticky gel-type liquid. This then slows down the digestion process and can help you feel fuller for longer.
Soluble fibre is found in some fruits and vegetables, legumes, as well as grains such as oats or barley.
Insoluble fibre does not absorb or dissolve in water. Instead, it bulks up the content of the bowels and speeds up the process of waste passing through the gut. This helps support regular bowel movement and, in turn, can help maintain a healthy digestive system.
This kind of fibre is found in wheat, corn, rice bran, cereals, pasta, nuts, seeds and the skins of fruits and vegetables.
Why is fibre important?
A diet high in fibre is important because it helps keep your digestive system functioning effectively by removing waste from your body. In the long-term, if an individual does not consume enough fibre in their diet they may be at risk of developing health issues such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, heart disease and cancer.
What are some high fibre foods?
As already mentioned, fibre only exists in plant foods and usually contains a combination of both forms of fibre. It’s important to try and include a range of plant foods into your diet so that you are getting both soluble and insoluble fibre!
Keep this list of high-fibre foods handy and slowly add more of them into your meals.
Most fruits are good sources of fibre. In particular, berries are one of the most fibre-dense foods relative to their energy. Add some to your oats for breakfast in the morning for a high-fibre and delicious start to your day!
Green leafy vegetables are especially high in fibre compared to other vegetables. One cup of most types of cooked leafy greens equates to around 4 or 5 grams of fibre. If you struggle to eat enough greens, just throw some in a green smoothie and you’ll barely be able to taste it!
3. Nuts and seeds
Adding nuts or seeds to breakfast cereals or in your smoothie is an easy way to up your fibre intake. Two tablespoons of most nuts equal around 4 grams of fibre. Nuts also offer a range of other health benefits, if consumed in moderation.
4. Whole grains or wheats
Including wholegrain breads, brown rice, oats, barley or rye into your diet can help you maintain a healthy daily intake of fibre. There’s a huge variety of ancient grains and modern grains to choose from, so that you never get bored!
Adding beans, like red kidney beans or lentils, to meals can add extra fibre into your meal. Legumes are also a great source of nutrients if you only consume a plant-based diet.
Avocado is a healthy fat that is also an excellent source of fibre. It has many health benefits so can be a great staple to include into your diet — just be mindful of your serving size, as you can still overdo fat even when it's good for you! Try out these 5 variations of avocado toast to provide your body with a double fibre dose of wholegrain bread and avocado.
How much fibre should I eat per day?
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia recommends that a female over the age of 18 eats a minimum of 25 grams per day, so this may be a good amount to aim for.
It’s important to remember that this can be easily achieved when you are aiming to eat healthy food regularly! By ensuring you have a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains, it should be quite easy for you to meet the daily recommended amount of fibre without a lot of extra effort or planning.
Maintaining a diet that includes this recommended amount of fibre is also important because the types of foods that are fibrous are often denser and can be lower in kilojoules (calories), which can help you maintain a healthy weight range.
Other ways to increase fibre intake
If you’re not sure whether you’re getting enough fibre in your diet, try out some of these ways to top up your fibre intake:
- Adding one extra serve of vegetables to each of your meals, to make up your five serves per day.
- Try to choose high-fibre snacks like a piece of fruit, chopped vegetables or a small handful of nuts.
- Opt for high-fibre breakfasts, such as oats or wholegrain cereal with some fruit.
- Choose seeded or wholegrain bread and rice options instead of refined, starchy carbohydrates (like white bread or white rice).
- Incorporate legumes into your meals, such as adding lentils to soups.
- Eat whole foods rather than relying on fibre supplements so that you can reap the nutritional benefits of the food as well.
It’s important to keep in mind that while the recommended daily intake of fibre is desirable, consuming an excessive amount or increasing your fibre consumption too quickly may exacerbate digestive symptoms. This is especially true if you are prone to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Eat high fibre foods and help your health
If you want to increase your fibre intake, it is suggested that you do so gradually over a period of time. Start by swapping one or two snacks around for some of the suggestions above, then build your consumption levels up slowly.
It is also really important to drink a lot of water every day and exercise regularly in order to help your digestion and for your digestive tract to function as effectively as possible!
Remember, every person is different so listen to your body and how it feels — if your digestive system isn’t functioning as well as it could, your body is likely to send you signs that your gut health is out of balance, so make sure you understand what to keep an eye on.
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* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.