Foods High in Soluble Fibre and How to Eat More of Them
Most of us are familiar with dietary fibre, but did you know that there are different types? In this post, a Registered Dietitian introduces you to soluble fibre. Soluble fibre offers an array of health benefits from blood sugar control to cholesterol-lowering power. Learn which foods are high in soluble fibre and easy ways that you can add more soluble fibre to your diet.
What is Soluble Fibre?
Fibre is the part of plants that the body cannot digest or absorb. It is a type of carbohydrate found only in plant foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.
Because it cannot be broken down by the digestive system, it passes through the body undigested. But this doesn’t mean that it’s not beneficial! Dietary fibre is really important, and there are two different kinds; soluble fibre and insoluble fibre, each playing a different role and offering their unique health benefits.
Soluble fibre is one of two different types of dietary fibre. The word soluble means able to be dissolved, especially in water. As per its name, soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel.
Its counterpart, insoluble fibre, cannot be dissolved in water.
Health Benefits of Soluble Fibre:
Both soluble and insoluble fibre offer unique health benefits. Eating foods high in soluble fibre can help to slow down the digestion of food and keep you full for longer, stabilize and control blood sugar levels, and even lower blood cholesterol levels (particularly LDL or “bad” cholesterol).
Slow Digestion: Because soluble fibre attracts water, combines with it, and forms a gel, this helps to slow down the digestive process. When digestion is slowed, we feel fuller for longer periods of time after eating.
Blood Sugar Control: Because the body cannot break down or absorb soluble fibre, it does not raise blood sugar levels like other low-fibre carbohydrates would. This is why eating foods high in fibre is recommended for individuals with diabetes.
Lower Cholesterol: For those with elevated cholesterol levels, current guidelines suggest that increasing total fibre intake (including soluble fibre) can help enhance cholesterol-lowering efforts. Wondering why? Because soluble fibre does not get digested in the intestine, it can actually bind to cholesterol and usher it out of the body. Neat, right?
Foods High in Soluble Fibre:
That said there are a ton of plant foods high in soluble fibre. Let’s take a look at some of the best sources of soluble fibre by food grouping (all amounts are approximate).
Fruits and Vegetables High in Soluble Fibre:
Grains High in Soluble Fibre:
Nuts and Seeds High in Soluble Fibre:
Beans and Legumes High in Soluble Fibre:
How to Eat More Soluble Fibre:
To eat more soluble fibre at breakfast, try adding oats to your morning routine. Whether it’s meal-prepped baked oatmeal, dreamy Strawberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats or Creamy Stovetop Oatmeal. Or, try a Morning Smoothie with chia seeds, or this Fibre-Rich Orange Carrot Smoothie.
If you prefer a savoury breakfast, how about some cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Egg Bites?
At Snack Time:
One of my favourite healthy snacks (that just so happens to be rich in soluble fibre) is chia pudding! Give this classic Vanilla Chia Pudding a go, or if you’re a chocolate lover, try out my Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe.
At Main Meals:
If you want to incorporate more foods high in soluble fibre at meals like lunch and dinner, try making these Fresh Falafel Bowls (made with chickpeas!), or my Veggie-Packed Vegetarian Chilli. More of a pasta lover? Make my Nourishing Sausage Vegetable Pasta Bake with whole wheat penne!
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