This article was written by specialist dietitian – Kaitlin Colucci
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies either can’t break down, or only partially break down. Hence, it passes through our gastrointestinal tract undigested. By doing so, it provides bulk to our stool and softens it by retaining water, contributing to regular bowel movements. It also slows down the absorption of sugars in food, helping us to maintain more steady energy levels. Some types of fibre also feed our good gut bacteria by providing the substrate for fermentation, which is how they produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA) – giving them energy and giving us multiple health benefits. Overall, a diet high in fibre can reduce the risk of certain diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and bowel cancer.
As per national guidelines, adults should aim to eat 30g of fibre a day. Considering that a slice of whole grain bread contains about 2.2g of fibre, it can be quite a high number to hit! It is also important to eat a variety of different fibre-rich foods as different types of fibre provide different benefits and feed different bacteria. You may have already heard of simple swaps to boost your fibre intake, e.g. swapping white pasta or rice for whole grain varieties. Now, have a look at these 5 foods surprisingly high in fibre to help you along the way!
#1: green lentils
9.2g of fibre in 200g cooked/drained [if tinned]
Beans and lentils are a valuable source of protein, vitamins and minerals but also fibre! Particularly green lentils, with just half a tin providing about a third of your daily fibre requirement. You can add them to sauces, curries or salads for a fibre kick and delicious flavour
5.2g in 1 cup, cooked = 185g
Quinoa gained popularity in recent years due to its high protein profile compared to other grains. But did you know it is also high in fibre? With 5.2g in 1 cup when cooked, it provides 1.5 times more fibre than brown rice per portion, and will instantly elevate your salad game!
3.5g in a small handful, 28g
Almonds, rich in magnesium and vitamin E, are well recognised for their cardiovascular benefits but they also beat other nuts in terms of fibre content! A small handful eaten as a snack or added to your porridge can be a delicious way to take in your daily fibre!
5.5g in 1 medium pear, 195g
Adding fruit to your morning porridge, as a snack during the day, or even in baking can be a great way to increase your fibre intake. The humble pear may not be the first fruit that comes to your mind, but it will provide you with a booming 5.5g of fibre in just one fruit!
5.1g in half a medium avocado = 75g
The millennial brunch favourite, an avocado, is also surprisingly high in fibre! Just half an avocado can majorly boost your fibre intake, even more so when served on a slice of a whole grain toast, or eaten as part of a colourful salad.
*Values based on USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference