20 High-Fibre Foods You Should Eat

20 High-Fibre Foods You Should Eat

Fibre plays a crucial role in helping your gut movement and removing waste from your digestive system. You can find good sources of fibre in the foods you already eat, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, as well as in supplements. Fibre doesn’t just work to keep your bowel movement regular but also provides additional health benefits. Consuming fibre-rich diets is linked to a lower risk of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Fibre is a non-caloric carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the small intestine but is essential for gut health and reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Fruits high in soluble fibre are particularly beneficial for gastrointestinal health.

Keep reading to learn more about high-fibre foods, fibre supplements, types of fibre, and the daily recommended fibre intake.

What is fibre?

Fibre, also known as roughage, is the part of daily foods that the body can’t break down. It passes through the body undigested, promoting digestive health by facilitating regular bowel movements and removing harmful substances. Fibre is found in grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans and is of two types:

1. Insoluble Fibre:

It does not dissolve in water and helps prevent constipation by adding bulk to stools. Insoluble fibre is found in whole grains, whole cereals, and vegetables like carrots, celery, and tomatoes.

2. Soluble Fibre:

It dissolves in water, helps control blood sugar levels, reduces cholesterol, and firms up loose stools. It is found in barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits like apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears.

Eating high-fibre foods can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, improve bowel health, aid in weight loss, and potentially prevent colon cancer. Natural, unprocessed foods are typically higher in fibre, whereas refined foods like white bread and pastries have little to no fibre.

Benefits of eating high-fibre foods

1. Improved Digestive Health:

Fibre adds bulk to stool, aiding regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. It may also lower the risk of diverticulosis and colorectal cancer.

3. Weight Management:

High-fibre foods are filling, which curbs food cravings and reduces overall calorie intake.

4. Lowered Risk of Heart Disease:

Soluble fibre helps lower LDL cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

5. Better Blood Sugar Control:

Sustained release of glucose from fibre-rich sources is beneficial for diabetes management and prevention.

6. Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers:

A high-fibre diet, especially from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, is linked to a decreased risk of colorectal and other digestive system cancers.

7. Improved Gut Health:

Prebiotic-containing foods are packed with fibre which supports beneficial gut bacteria, crucial for gut health and immune support.

8. Enhanced Nutrient Absorption:

Fibre-rich foods help absorb essential nutrients present in the gut.

9. Manage lipid profile:

Diets rich in soluble fibre help lower blood cholesterol, which reduces the amount of cholesterol the liver absorbs managing the lipid levels.

How much fibre do you need to get health benefits?

The amount of fibre you need to consume to achieve health benefits depends on your age, sex, and individual dietary needs. Here are the general recommendations for daily fibre intake:

General Recommendations as per RDA 2024:

  • Men (above 18 years): 30 grams/day
  • Women:(above 18 years): 25 grams/day
  • Adolescent boys: 43 grams/day
  • Adolescent girls: 36 grams/ day

The value of fibre intake may vary for different individuals in different diseased conditions.

Practical Tips to Increase Fibre Intake

1. Eat Whole Fruits & Vegetables:

Choose whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices and processed snacks.

2. Choose Whole Grains:

Replace refined grains with whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal.

3. Incorporate Legumes:

Add beans, lentils, and peas to soups, salads, and main dishes.

4. Snack on Nuts and Seeds:

These are good sources of fibre and healthy fats.

5. Include Fibre-Rich Breakfasts:

Start your day with a high-fibre cereal, such as oatmeal, or add fruits and nuts to your yoghurt. Including a good supplement like Steadfast Nutrition's Tri Fibre  can be one of the wisest choices to get the amount of fibre in your daily diet. Tri Fibre is a low-calorie blend of soluble fibres designed to enhance organ health and overall well-being. It supplies essential fibre for digestive health, promoting prolonged satiety. Tri Fibre contains resistant maltodextrin, inulin, and partially hydrolysed guar gum, all formulated to improve colon health, reduce the risk of constipation, and improve the health of good bacteria. This tasteless, odourless, and colourless water-soluble fibre is also easy to consume.

20 High Fibre Foods You Should Eat

1. Pears

Pears are a delicious and nutritious fruit, known for their high fibre content. A medium-sized raw pear provides approximately 4.48 grams per 100 grams. They are particularly rich in soluble fibre, which aids in slowing digestion and lowering cholesterol. Pair it with your favourite salads or fruit platters.

2. Lentils

Lentils are a staple in Indian cuisine, known for being economical and highly nutritious. They are an excellent source of fibre, protein, and other nutrients. Cooked lentils provide about 16.66 grams of fibre per 100 grams.

Lentils cook quickly and are perfect for soups, flours, and as a meat substitute in dishes. They are also great in traditional Indian recipes like dals and curries. For a nutritious and flavourful meal, try adding lentils to your dishes. With their high fibre content and versatility, lentils are a powerhouse ingredient in any diet.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious and versatile grain-like superfood popular among health-conscious individuals. It is rich in fibre, with about 13 grams per 100 grams, and also provides a complete source of plant-based protein. Additionally, quinoa is packed with magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and antioxidants.

Quinoa can be used as a healthy alternative to rice. This gluten-free pseudo-cereal supports brain health and muscle function, making it a valuable addition to any diet.

4. Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a nutritious, high-fibre food that offer several health benefits. They contain resistant starch, which aids in weight management, and insoluble fibres called alpha-galactosides, which can sometimes cause digestive issues like diarrhoea and flatulence. Kidney beans contain 16.7 g of fibre per 100 g.  Consuming at least a half-cup of beans is recommended by nutritionists, as it can lead to a lower intake of fat and saturated fat, while providing more fibre, protein, folate, iron, and other essential minerals. Incorporating kidney beans into your diet can significantly improve overall health.

5. Guava

Guavas are a highly nutritious tropical fruit, providing about 8 grams of fibre per serving. They are beneficial for digestive health, aiding in healthy bowel movements and reducing the risk of constipation. The high fibre content and low glycemic index of guavas help regulate blood sugar levels, making them useful in preventing diabetes. Additionally, guavas contain potassium and soluble fibre, which contribute to improved heart health. This sweet fruit is low in calories yet rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, enhancing satiety and overall nutrition. Incorporate guava into your diet for its digestive, heart, and blood sugar benefits.

6. Carrot

A hundred-gram cup of chopped carrots provides 4 grams of fibre. Adequate fibre intake from carrots can support optimal digestive function, reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, and help alleviate constipation. Eating raw carrots is a simple way to boost fibre intake and promote regular bowel movements.

7. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are a nutritious snack available all year round, offering a healthy boost of essential nutrients. They are high in healthy fats, protein, and dietary fibre while being low in carbohydrates. Sunflower seeds are calorie-dense and rich in the healthy fats monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) & polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), making them excellent for snacking or adding to salads and other easy recipes.

8. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are highly beneficial for gut health due to their rich fibre content, which includes both soluble and insoluble fibres. One cup of cooked sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fibre, covering approximately 26% of the recommended daily intake. Soluble fibre can lower cholesterol and balance glucose, while insoluble fibre promotes regular bowel movements and overall bowel health.

Sweet potatoes also contain prebiotics like oligosaccharides, which support the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

9. Wood apple

Wood apple is beneficial for digestive health due to its high fibre content, which helps alleviate issues like indigestion, bloating, and constipation. The fibre adds bulk to stool and acts as a natural laxative, easing bowel movements and managing digestive issues naturally.

Rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids, wood apple helps neutralise harmful free radicals. Its high fibre content also contributes to weight management by promoting satiety, reducing appetite, and preventing overeating. Wood apple contains carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin A, riboflavin, iron, potassium, and fibre. These nutrients, along with the fruit's antioxidant and immune-boosting properties, support overall health and may help manage blood sugar levels. The high fibre content can also reduce bloating and help eliminate excess water weight.

10. Figs

Figs are beneficial for digestive health due to their high fibre and potassium content. They help flush out excess sodium from the system and correct potassium imbalances. Figs act as a natural laxative, helping treat constipation and promoting a healthy gut environment through their prebiotic properties.

The high fibre content in figs helps with both constipation and diarrhoea by nourishing and toning the intestines. Figs also improve various constipation symptoms, including bowel movement time, frequency, stomach pain, and discomfort. Research indicates that figs are as effective as fibre supplements in relieving constipation, reducing the effort needed to pass stools, and improving the sensation of complete evacuation.

11. Blackberries

Most people do not get enough fibre, leading to digestive issues like bloating, constipation, and stomach pain. A high-fibre diet has many benefits, including lowering cholesterol, promoting regular bowel movements, managing blood sugar levels, increasing satiety, and nourishing gut bacteria.

Blackberries are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. The former helps lower LDL cholesterol and control blood sugar, while the latter prevents constipation and promotes regular bowel movements. Additionally, blackberries are rich in vitamins C, K, and E and antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may prevent diseases like cancer. They are also low in calories and carbohydrates. Among berries, blackberries have the highest fibre content - about 4.35 grams per 100 grams.

12. Jackfruit

Jackfruit contains dietary fibre with variations depending on ripeness, variety, and season. The fibre content is higher in immature fruit and varies slightly among different varieties. Jackfruit's fibre makes it a good bulk laxative, aiding smooth bowel movements, preventing constipation, and protecting the colon mucous membrane by binding to cancer-causing chemicals, minerals, and vitamins.

Both the flesh and seeds of jackfruit are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps lower LDL cholesterol and manage blood glucose levels by slowing carbohydrate absorption. Fibre intake may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. Jackfruit seeds also contain prebiotics, promoting beneficial gut bacteria.

Jackfruit is a good source of potassium and fibre, which support heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association notes that potassium helps mitigate sodium's negative effects on blood pressure. Jackfruit's low fat and fibre content contributes to healthy digestion and weight management and may reduce the risk of heart disease.

13. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a high-fibre food, offering about 4.2 grams of fibre per cup of cooked sprouts. Fibre is essential for digestive health, helping alleviate constipation by increasing stool frequency and softening stool consistency. It also provides other health benefits such as regulating blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, and supporting beneficial gut bacteria, which boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and improve mood. Including brussels sprouts along with other fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help meet these fibre needs.

While fibre is beneficial for most people, it may cause bloating and gas in those with conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis. Brussels sprouts also provide vitamins C and K, supporting overall health.

14. Soybeans

Soybeans contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, including alpha-galactosides, a type of FODMAP (certain sugars that may cause intestinal distress) that may cause flatulence and diarrhoea in sensitive individuals, particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Despite these potential side effects, the soluble fibre in soybeans is generally healthy. It is fermented by gut bacteria, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that improve gut health and may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Regular consumption of soybeans and other legumes is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, due to their rich fibre and phytochemical content. The prebiotic fibre in soybeans acts as a fuel source for beneficial gut bacteria, promoting their growth and enhancing overall gut health. These bacteria produce SCFAs, which have positive effects on the gut and general health.

15. Drumstick

Drumsticks are rich in fibre, which aids digestion, prevents constipation, and promotes gut health. Regular consumption can alleviate digestive issues and help regulate cholesterol levels, potentially preventing heart diseases like atherosclerosis and stroke. Drumsticks also contain essential B vitamins, such as thiamine and niacin, which boost digestive juice secretion, and their leaves have pectin, beneficial for gut health.

Low in calories, drumsticks are ideal for weight loss as they keep you full longer without adding many calories. They are nutrient-dense, providing vitamins A, B, C, and K, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. The fibre in drumsticks is especially beneficial during pregnancy, helping with constipation and morning sickness, and their folate content can reduce the risk of congenital disabilities like spina bifida. Additionally, moringa leaf juice can enhance breast milk secretion after delivery.

16. Lady’s Finger (Okra)

Lady's finger (okra) is an excellent superfood for weight loss due to its high dietary fibre content, low-calorie count, and negligible fat. The fibre keeps you satiated, reducing snack cravings and aiding in weight management.

High in fibre, okra offers several health benefits. It contains the fibre eugenol that slows digestion, helping stabilise blood sugar levels by slowing down sugar absorption in the blood. This makes it beneficial for managing diabetes, as it lowers glucose absorption in the intestines, increases insulin sensitivity, regenerates damaged insulin-producing cells, and boosts insulin secretion.

Okra is low in calories and carbohydrates and contains protein, making it somewhat unique among fruits and vegetables. It is packed with essential nutrients, including folate, niacin, vitamins C, E, and K and is rich in minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

17. Sapota

Most people don’t consume enough fibre, which is vital for digestive health, heart health, and weight management. High-fibre fruits like sapodilla can help increase fibre intake. Sapodilla is an excellent source of fibre, supporting gut bacteria, regular bowel movements, satiety, and regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It contains approximately 9 grams of fibre per 100-gram serving, making it one of the highest fibre fruits. Sapodilla is also rich in water, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Including sapodilla and other fibre-rich foods like fruits, beans, and vegetables in your diet can help meet fibre recommendations and reduce the risk of colon cancer and heart disease. Additionally, sapodilla’s high fibre content promotes satiety, curbing appetite and aiding in weight management.

18. Dates

Date fruits are rich in total dietary fibre, comprising both insoluble and soluble fibres, along with phenolic antioxidants, particularly condensed tannin pigments. Date seeds are also fibre-rich, containing water-insoluble fibres. While date fruits are commonly available, there is potential for further utilisation, especially in food applications, due to their high fibre and antioxidant content. Dried dates are particularly beneficial for pregnant women, helping alleviate constipation and gastrointestinal issues. Dates are packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron. They offer various health benefits, including improved digestion, reduced inflammation, and increased energy levels. Additionally, they serve as a natural sweetener, making them a healthy alternative to processed sugars.

19. Ragi

Finger millet, or ragi, is high in calories and carbohydrates, providing instant energy. However, it also contains phytates, tannins, and polyphenols, which slow down digestion. This property is beneficial for individuals with diabetes mellitus as it helps lower high blood sugar levels. Ragi's slow digestibility and rich fibre content make it an ideal choice for weight loss and managing lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity.

Ragi flour is rich in dietary fibre that helps promote satiety, keeping you full for longer periods and relieving constipation. The insoluble fibres in ragi do not dissolve in the stomach, aiding in the movement of food through the digestive tract.

Ragi seeds are ground to obtain ragi flour, which with its high fibre content serves as a nutritious alternative to wheat and barley, offering various health benefits.

20. Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek, a member of the Leguminosae family, is widely used as a spice and medicinal herb. Its seeds and leaves enhance flavour, colour, and texture in food and offer numerous health benefits. These include hypocholesterolemic, antibacterial, galactogogue, and hepatoprotective properties, among others. The high dietary fibre content in fenugreek contributes to its health benefits, including supporting blood sugar control.

Studies have shown that fenugreek powder can reduce blood sugar levels, even in individuals without diabetes, when incorporated into food products. Fenugreek seeds are rich in fibre, phospholipids, glycolipids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and other functional elements.

Conclusion

To meet the recommended fibre intake, it's best to consume a variety of fibre-rich foods as part of a balanced diet. This includes eating more plant-based meals, opting for whole grains, and snacking on fruits throughout the day.

If your current fibre intake is low, gradually increase it over several weeks to minimise gas and discomfort. Additionally, drink plenty of water and chew food slowly and thoroughly. Allowing time for your gastrointestinal system and gut to adjust to increased fibre intake will result in beneficial changes for your overall health.


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