Fibre is something the body needs but never actually digests—in fact, it remains more or less the same from plate to toilet. It comes in two varieties, soluble and insoluble, and most plant-based foods contain a mixture of the two. Skipping out on a daily dose of fibre can make it tough to control blood sugar and appetite and often leads to problems with digestion such as bloating and constipation.
However, there can also be too much of a good thing. Having too much fibre or dramatically increasing your intake, can move food through the intestines too quickly, which means fewer minerals get absorbed from food and you may also experience bloating, gas and cramping.
So what’s the magic amount? Nutritionists recommend a consumption 25g of fibre per day for women and 30g for men. You can obtain this fibre by eating plenty of plant-based food such as vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes and nuts and seeds. However, not all foods are created equal in terms of fibre so it is best to obtain it from a variety of sources. We’ve included our favourites in the list below – they pack a good fibre-punch per serve and are easy to use.
Note: Don't forget to drink plenty of water! A high-fibre diet needs adequate fluids to help everything move along smoothly.
Air-popped popcorn is possibly the perfect snack: filling, fibrous, low cal, crunchy and tasty. However, smothering your popcorn in salt and butter will turn this from healthy snack to naughty treat. Try flavouring your popcorn with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or a drizzle of maple syrup and cinnamon. Head to our blog for more ideas: Healthy Popcorn Recipes: 12 Simple Ways to Add Flavour
Chia seeds pack a nutritious punch offering the all-important omega-3 fatty acids as well as being perhaps the single best source of fibre. When chia seeds touch water, they expand and form a gel-like consistency that fills you up… And keeps you full!
Chia seeds have an abundance of uses in both sweet and savoury foods. Try making a Chia Pudding for breakfast, snack, or even dessert. Chia is also a great addition to recipes for bread, crackers, porridge, bliss balls and of course smoothies.
Oats, a popular pantry staple, are an affordable and simple way to boost your fibre intake. Not only are they very high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but they also contain a powerful soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which may help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Oats are great for breakfast, which is an ideal time to get a good hit of fibre. Whip up a simple porridge for a warming breakfast bowl, or jazz things up a bit with this Honey and Macadamia Granola, Banana Bread Porridge, or Riberry and Plum Waffles.
Oats can also be included in many baked goods such as this delicious Oat Cranberry Slice that is perfect for snacking on the go, this crowd-pleasing Chocolate & Oat Banana Bread, and much more!
Seasonal fresh fruit is an easy and delicious way to keep up the fibre intake. Aim for two serves of fruit every day – and no this does not include fruit juice! Be sure to enjoy the outer skin wherever you can, such as on an apple or pear, as it’s a great source of fibre and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
Some of the top fibre filled fruits include raspberries, strawberries, pears, apples, bananas and avocado (yes, it’s a fruit).
Say hello to this superstar legume — the split pea. Green split peas are made from the dried, split and peeled seeds of peas, they are a rich source of protein and are seriously full of fibre. Split green peas can absorb water faster than whole beans and peas, and they do not need to be rehydrated overnight.
These small but mighty members of the legume family are most popularly used in soup recipes, traditional Indian dishes like dahl or included in recipes for veggie patties, salads and stir-fries.
Psyllium Husks are a white, fibrous material that comes from the outer coating of the Psyllium seed and are a rich source of soluble fibre. It's the most commonly used fibre supplement and is often used as the base ingredient in products designed to keep you regular. It is important to note that adequate fluid must be consumed with psyllium husks (like all fibre) otherwise this may cause constipation – not prevent it!
Because psyllium is essentially tasteless, it's super easy to incorporate into your diet by sprinkling a small amount over every meal. Or get baking this Keto Almond & Psyllium Bread for something more adventurous!
Once a hipster superfood, now a pantry staple, quinoa is packed with nourishing plant-based goodness - in particular a rich content of dietary fibre and protein. Great for those avoiding wheat or looking for a rice alternative, quinoa in all its different colours is easy to prepare and super versatile.
You can use quinoa in your cooking as you would any other grains or in a variety of recipes. For lunch try this Nutty Quinoa Salad or this Colourful Mexican Quinoa Salad. For something other than a throw-together salad, make your quinoa into these One Dish Mexican Quinoa, or perhaps these Quinoa Veggie Burgers.
Quinoa can also be cooked similarly to oats in tasty breakfast recipes, like warm & hearty Spiced Apple Tricolour Quinoa Porridge.
There’s a good reason why your parents asked you to eat your veggies. Increasing your vegetable intake, will not only give you a healthy antioxidant and nutrient boost but a good dose of fibre too.
One cup of raw broccoli, for example, provides around 2.4g of fibre. And don’t throw out the fibre-filled stem – instead, slice it and add it to your meal!
The most notable vegetable sources of fibre include Artichoke, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, broccoli, kale, spinach and carrots.
Barley is one of those wonderful grains that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. With a chewy texture and nutty flavour, barley is a delicious whole grain that can be used in a number of ways. Like oats, barley contains the soluble fibre beta-glucan and several trace minerals and vitamins. While pearled barley is not quite as nutritious as hulled barley, it is still packed full of goodness and so much easier to cook.
BLACK BEANS AND KIDNEY BEANS
Black beans and kidney beans both contain pectin, a form of soluble fibre that becomes gummy-like in water. This can slow down digestion, leaving you feeling fuller longer and giving your body more time to absorb nutrients.
However, some people find beans hard to digest. If that’s the case for you, start increasing your bean intake slowly to give your digestive system time to adjust.
Some of our favourite bean recipes might surprise you… From Black Bean Chilli to Jaffa Black Bean Truffles and Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes, beans are surprisingly good in both savoury and sweet dishes!
Is there anything nuts can’t do? Not only are they full of good fats, protein, antioxidants and nutrients, but nuts also hold their own in the fibre game too. Almonds, pecans and walnuts are said to have slightly more fibre than your traditional peanuts or cashews. Enjoy the goodness of nuts as a snack, in baking or as a spread.