Mar 11, 2020

Best sources of Soluble Fibre

I had earlier compiled a list of foods that are high in total dietary fibre, based on the Indian Food Composition Tables (IFCT 2017). Do take a look at the list if you haven't seen it earlier.

In this post, I wanted to write specifically about the importance of Soluble Fibre and its food sources.

Soluble Fibre, as the name suggests is soluble in water and turns into a gel-like substance. It binds with the cholesterol particles and helps to flush them out of the body, thereby reducing the risk of the onset of heart disease. Soluble fibre also helps to avoid sudden spikes in blood glucose levels. It prevents us from overeating, thereby aiding in weight management. It also helps in regular bowel movements and prevents constipation.

If you do a Google search for the best sources of soluble fibre, the top results will most likely indicate Oats/Oatmeal. Though oats are a good source of soluble fibre, it is NOT a local grain (in India). Most of the packaged quick-cooking oats brands that are easily available in supermarkets and online grocery stores are highly processed to the extent that the fibre is mostly stripped off.

According to the Indian Dietetic Association, 30 gm of total dietary fibre per day is recommended. I couldn't find any details on RDA specific to soluble fibre though. As per this source, soluble fibre contribution needs to be around 1/4th OR 7-8 gms per day.

Here is the list of top plant-based sources that are rich in Soluble Fibre.

Soluble Fiber
(gm per 100 gms)
Bajra (Kambu)2.34
Samai (little millet)2.27
Bulgur wheat2.25
Varagu (Kodo millet)2.11

Field bean5.25
Black gram whole4.94
Black gram dal4.35
Red gram whole3.15

Green leafy veg
Curry leaves3.02
Agathi leaves2.6
Drumstick leaves2.1
Methi leaves1.7
Bathua greens1.68
Beet greens1.43

Broad beans2.03
Lotus root1.84
Onion, stalk1.45
Sweet potato1.4
Carrot, orange1.37
Raw mango1.34
Cluster beans1.28
Peas, fresh1.28
Colocasia (Arbi)1.2

Bael fruit3
Custard apple1.93
Raisins, golden1.53
Guava, white1.45
Wood apple1.44

Condiments & Spices
Methi seeds19.92
Poppy seeds11.06
Coriander seeds9.54
Cumin seeds4.62
Long pepper4.57
Mustard seeds3.47
Ajwain (Omum)3.38

Nuts & Seeds
Linseeds (Flaxseed)4.33
Sesame seeds3.5
Sunflower seeds2.29

  1. Barley and millet varieties are a good source of soluble fibre. They are also packed with various vitamins and minerals. Including at least one millet variety a day will help us get a good amount of soluble fibre in our daily diet.
  2. Most legumes and pulses contain good amount of soluble fibre, along with required protein. Mix and match various millets and legumes over a period of a month. 
  3. As you can see, most of the local Indian fruits and vegetables are rich in soluble fibre. We don't need imported veggies to whip up an exotic salad, in order to meet our fibre requirement.
  4. Having done similar analysis to find out foods rich in calcium, iron, folate etc, I just can't help but wonder at this nutrient dense greens - "curry leaves". Including this green on a daily basis offer tremendous health benefits. No wonder, most of our South Indian recipes are never complete without a sprig of curry leaves. If you have been picking the leaves and keeping them aside on your plate, please refrain from doing that anymore. Chew the leaves to get the complete benefit of this powerful greens.
  5. Flaxseeds and sesame seeds are also high in soluble fibre, apart from the fact that flaxseeds are rich in Omega 3 - alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) and sesame seeds are rich in calcium and iron
  6. Last but not the least, methi seeds (vendhayam) is super rich in soluble fibre - around 20gm per 100 gm. It is generally advised to soak a tsp of methi seeds overnight and eat the soaked seeds + water the next morning for the best results. But if you find it bitter, you could add methi seeds to your daily dishes as much as possible - a tsp in dal/kadhi/sambhar/vathakuzhambu/morkuzhambu. 
If you have checked out my earlier posts on foods rich in calcium, iron, folates etc, I'm sure you would notice that there are many ingredients that keep repeating in each list. This gives us a clear indication that we don't really need to focus on individual nutrients per se BUT focus on ensuring a balanced diet rich in whole grains, legumes, local vegetables, fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds, along with spices. 

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