Our topic of discussion today is dietary fibre, an important but often overlooked class of food. In case you’re wondering, it’s not amongst the classes of food taught in school. So, what then is it?
Dietary fibre refers to the indigestible parts of plant foods like vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes. As can be deduced from this definition, the body never actually digests fibre rich foods but it needs them nonetheless. That’s because high fibre foods which are also known as roughage lubricate the digestive tracts, improve blood sugar level, and control cholesterol. They also regulate the water content of stool and add bulk to it.
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According to the American Heart Association, the total dietary fibre intake from food per day should be 25 to 30 grams. Dietary fibre, however, should be consumed in moderation as too much of it may cause bloating or diarrhoea. The following are fibre rich foods:
This fruit is milky goodness encased in a hard shell. Coconut is a very nutritious fruit. A cup of shredded coconut, which is approximately 80 grams, provides about 7 grams of fibre. Coconut can be enjoyed alone. It can also be an accompaniment to some food like corn and bread, and meals can also be made with it.
Rainy season is corn season; if you don’t want to buy fresh corn to cook at home, I’m sure you can find a corn vendor or two in your street. So, buy this naturally gluten free food while it’s in season. Snack on it and add it to your recipes. Corn has an impressive nutrient profile as it is rich in carbohydrate, minerals, fibre and vitamins. One cup of sweet yellow corn contains about 4.6 grams of fibre.
This leafy green vegetable belongs to the amaranth family. It is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. One cup of cooked spinach contains 4 grams of fibre. What then are you waiting for? Biko, go ahead and find creative ways to incorporate this vegetable into your diet.
If you’re not one of those who suffer intestinal gas and other forms of discomfort after eating beans, I’ll advice you to stop hating this food for hating sake and include it in your diet. Beans is an amazingly wonderful food that is packed full of nutrients. Besides the obvious protein and mineral content, beans is rich in fibre too. One cup of cooked beans can provide as much as 15 grams of fibre which is more than half the daily value. So, the next time you are served a meal of beans, wipe the frown off your face and eat it with joy.
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This stone fruit has a creamy texture. Avocados are nutrient dense fruit. They can either be eaten alone or used in a variety of tasty recipes. Half of one avocado has about 5 grams of fibre; that’s about 18 percent of the daily value.
Any list of fibre rich foods would be incomplete without this oats. It is widely consumed as porridge which is prepared by boiling the oats in water or milk. One cup of oats cooked in water contains 4 grams of fibre. This is about 16 percent of the daily value. Thus, if you want to add more fibre to your diet, buy and eat oats.
I don’t know about you but I love this starchy root vegetable. Sweet potatoes is a great meal option any time, any day. It can make a great meal base but it is also versatile enough that it can be added to snacks, desserts and other dishes. This food is rich in fibre especially if you keep the skin on. 200 grams of baked sweet potato with skin contains about 6.6 grams of fibre.
Eating an apple a day may not necessarily keep the doctor away but there are other benefits to be derived from eating this lush fruit. A medium sized apple has about 4.4 grams of fibre. Please note that to reap the full benefits, it should be eaten unpeeled. Those who like to give themselves unnecessary assignment should please take note of this.
Finally, fibre rich foods go hand in hand with fluids. Drink lots of water. It will help the fibre move smoothly through your system.
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Featured image source: Healthline
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