Dietary fibre is one of the important essential parts of a well-balanced diet. Though it is an indigestible component of carbohydrates but plays a critical role in keeping us healthy.
As per ICMR, one should aim to consume 40 grams of dietary fibre in the diet per day based on a 2000 Kcal diet. Therefore, the diet should be rich in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, legumes and nuts.
Dietary fibre is of two types - soluble and insoluble. Both are equally essential for us due to their potential health benefits. But soluble fibre has been shown to have some additional advantages over insoluble one.
Soluble dietary fibre has been known to alleviate issues like constipation, manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels, promote weight loss, keep our heart healthy, combat inflammation and minimise the risk of colon cancer.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss some of the foods which are abundant in soluble dietary fibre.
1. Oatmeal - Oats are one the healthiest grains we can opt for. They are rich in soluble fibre in the form of beta-glucan which makes them excellent for our health. Studies have shown that regular intake of oatmeal is associated with better heart health due to reduction in bad cholesterol levels. In addition, since they are gluten-free hence can easily be consumed by people who are gluten intolerants or with celiac disease.
2. Apples - Apples are another food loaded with soluble fibre in the form of pectin. Daily intake of apple is an excellent way to keep your gut and heart-healthy along with a dose of vitamins and minerals. This healthy fruit is good to reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases.\
3. Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene and dietary fibre. Due to their rich nutrient profile, sweet potatoes are popular among fitness enthusiasts and athletes. Their high dietary fibre content keeps us full for long with a healthy gut and aids in weight loss as well.
4. Avocados - Avocados are known for their rich creamy taste and high-fat content. Avocados fall under the category of foods rich in good fats. They contain vitamin E, potassium and dietary fibre in high amounts. They contain both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre which makes them good for our gut health. High soluble fibre and good fat content of avocados also assist in keeping heart healthy and cardiovascular diseases at bay.
5. Barley - Barley is one of the richest sources of dietary fibre. As per ICMR, their soluble fibre content is 5.66 g in 100 g which is on the higher end as compared to many bowls of cereal. The fibre is present in the form of beta-glucan which forms a gel-like substance in our body, promotes the growth of good bacterias in the gut and strengthens our immunity.
6. Broccoli - Broccoli is a plant-based protein-rich veggie and is regarded as a superfood. It contains ample nutrients like vitamin K, C, folate and potassium. Packed with anti-cancer and antioxidant properties, broccoli is also rich in soluble dietary fibre. It promotes the growth of good bacterias in our gut, protects from infections and minimises the risk of colorectal cancer.
7. Kidney Beans - Kidney beans provide soluble fibre in the form of pectin. This protein and calcium packed beans are a great source of dietary fibre. Although, some people often find them a little difficult to digest they are good for digestion health due to their rich soluble fibre content and may aid in dealing with indigestion issues better.
8. Figs - Figs are healthy in both forms - fresh and dried. They can be enjoyed in any form to reap the benefits of their high soluble fibre content. Figs are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and many B-complex vitamins. Figs have been in use for many years to manage constipation. It is their high fibre content that helps in regularising bowel movement and alleviating indigestion.
9. Guavas - Guavas are one of the richest sources of vitamin C. The flesh of guava is packed with pectin soluble fibre making them good for heart and gut health. Due to their high pectin content, guavas are also good for diabetics for managing their blood glucose levels by preventing sudden spike and symptoms of hyperglycemia
.10. Fenugreek seeds - Fenugreek seeds are another health-promoting food. They contain vitamin C, A, calcium, iron, magnesium and pyridoxine. Copious soluble fibre content makes fenugreek seeds a healthy way to enhance the dietary fibre content of the diet. As per ICMR, 19.92 g of soluble fibre is present in 100 g of fenugreek or methi seeds. Such high fibre content along with other nutrients make fenugreek seeds a valuable way to stay healthy and fit.
To sum up, soluble dietary fibre is of prime importance when it comes to keeping our heart, digestion, gut and colon health. It aids in relieving constipation which is a common digestion issue faced by many these days. It is essential to meet our daily dietary fibre needs by consuming a blend of both insoluble and soluble fibre. Apart from the foods listed above, we can also get dietary fibre from foods like soybean, green beans, apricot, flaxseeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, black beans, Brussels sprouts, pear, carrots and lima beans. However, in case of dietary inadequacy opting for fibre supplement is another reliable alternative like Tri Fibre.
Dhingra, D., Michael, M., Rajput, H., & Patil, R. T. (2012). Dietary fibre in foods: a review. Journal of food science and technology, 49(3), 255–266. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-011-0365-5
Grundy, M. M., Edwards, C. H., Mackie, A. R., Gidley, M. J., Butterworth, P. J., & Ellis, P. R. (2016). Re-evaluation of the mechanisms of dietary fibre and implications for macronutrient bioaccessibility, digestion and postprandial metabolism. The British journal of nutrition, 116(5), 816–833. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114516002610
POSITION OF THE INDIAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: DIETARY FIBRE AND HEALTH.(2018).http://idaindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/IDA-position-paper-fibre-24.12.18.pdf