About 500 million people all over the globe have diabetes and related issues. And with a problem like diabetes, the dietary options for the people shrink as they cannot have foods that contain high amounts of starch or sugar. Thus planning your meals becomes significantly crucial for such people. Although most foods contain a bit of starch, some foods with a lot of fibre are suitable for people with diabetes. It is primarily because the human body does not absorb fibre, keeping you full for long. In addition, it plays a vital part in nutrition. Fibre is naturally present in plant foods such as fruits and berries, vegetables, grains (rice, wheat, oat, and so on), and nuts. In addition, a high-fibre diet aids in the digestion of other nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fat). Hence, the fibre becomes a quintessential part of your diabetes meal plan.
Dietary Fibres and Its Types
Dietary fibre is a form of carbohydrate present in plant diets. Although our bodies do not absorb or digest fibre, it is essential for optimal health. Dietary fibre is classified into two types: soluble and insoluble. Most meals include both kinds. However, one is generally more abundant than the other.
Fibre improves bowel health and helps maintain gut health. In addition, it protects our heart, helps us lose and maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, it regulates blood sugars and helps avoid long-term diabetic issues. Since our system does not break down fibre, it does not elevate blood sugar levels. Instead, it helps avoid blood sugar surges. Furthermore, people who consume adequate fibre have better heart health, which is essential because people with diabetes are more likely to have heart disease. Following are the two kinds of fibres:
Soluble fibre forms a gel-like material when it dissolves in water. It can help lower cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood. You can find soluble fibre in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium.
Insoluble fibre helps people with constipation or irregular stools by speeding up food extraction through their digestive tract and increasing stool volume. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, legumes, and vegetables, including cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes, are the best sources of insoluble fibre.
Relation Between Fibre And Diabetes
Diabetes raises your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Increased fibre consumption, particularly from cereal and whole grains, lowers the risk of cardio-metabolic disorders (such as cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and obesity) and colorectal cancer. Dietary fibre absorbs liquid and expands the weight of waste, making stools softer and easier to pass. In addition, soluble fibre-rich foods help lower blood cholesterol.
Increasing your dietary fibre intake can also help you lose weight. These meals are satisfying, and the majority have a lower glycemic index (GI), which can help you regulate your hunger while also lowering your blood glucose levels.
If you have diabetes, a diet rich in fibre can help you control your condition and lower your risk of complications. First, however, you should consult a nutritionist or healthcare professional for assistance in creating a diabetic meal plan.
Regulating your blood sugar levels can be challenging at times. Although figuring out how to incorporate enough fibre into your diet might be difficult at first, you’ll be able to acquire enough of this essential nutrient with practice and knowledge.
A study showed that increasing daily fibre intake by 15 to 35 grams reduces the risk of premature mortality in adults with diabetes. In addition, increasing fibre intake improves glycemic control and other cardiometabolic risk factors of adults with prediabetes or diabetes.
Fibre Meal Plan for Diabetes: Best Foods to Incorporate
Although several foods have high amounts of dietary fibre, below are some of the best food sources of dietary fibre for diabetics.
Lentils are a rich source of fibre as it makes up around half of the carbohydrates in lentils. As a result, it helps keep your blood sugar in check. Cooked lentils include more than 15 grams of fibre and 230 calories per cup, making them a good source of fibre and calories. The same meal contains around 40 g carbs and approximately 18 g protein, with protein providing extra satiety. It benefits you in many ways. For example, besides helping you to lose weight, protein also helps build muscle mass.
Each serving of bean provides around 120 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrates. Besides supplying fibre, beans and lentils contain starch, which is resistant to digestion, meaning that the starch does not immediately enter the circulation and alter blood sugar levels. Bean starch is also beneficial to healthy gut flora. Bacteria help produce fatty acids after digesting the starch. These healthy fatty acids help improve insulin sensitivity and colon cell function.
Artichokes are delicate and delicious, and they are high in fibre. They also contain potassium and magnesium, which reduce blood pressure. In addition, they are a rich source of vitamin C and folate. Furthermore, artichoke has only 8 grams of carbs and 35 calories, making them suitable for a diabetes meal plan. Here is an easy way to consume artichoke leaves to reap maximum benefits.
- Artichoke leaves: 2
- Water: 200 ml
- Remove the thorns and stalk of the artichoke leaf
- Boil water and put the leaves in it.
- On boiling water, steam the leaves for 25 minutes.
- Pull off the juicy bracts and dip them in an olive-oil-based vinaigrette once they’ve cooled.
It is no surprise that avocados are one of the most healthy fruits. Their nutritional properties make them beneficial in many ways. Avocados are high in soluble and insoluble fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, good for your heart health. The fibre content in avocados also makes them healthy for weight loss and diabetes.
Avocados are versatile, and you can use them with everything. For example, you can use them as an ingredient to prepare delicious toast, salads, entrees, egg dishes etc. Although they’re known for their high content of beneficial fats, one cup of avocado has 10 grams of fibre.
These starchy, high-soluble-fibre vegetables are a fantastic alternative to rice and other grains. Besides providing vitamins A, C, and K. A ⅔rd cup serving of canned, drained green peas has around 3.5 g of fibre. That makes it a decent source of fibre.
Yellow or green split peas are other terrific options; a 14 cup cooked meal has 9 grams of fibre, 120 calories, and 21 grams of carbs, making it nutritious. You can also consider adding peas into your favourite salad for increased nutrients and fibre. Furthermore, you can have them solo with a bit of fresh mint and parsley. That will help manage your carbohydrate consumption while reaping these benefits.
Berries are small, delicious, and high in fibre and antioxidants. Although several fruits can provide health benefits, insoluble fibre fruits like raspberries and blackberries are two of the best examples. In addition, berries are high in health-promoting chemicals, including those known to help prevent cancer and promote heart health. A cup of berries has about 3 grams of fibre, 15 grams of carbs, and 60 calories. Consider using them as a snack or a topping for desserts.
Barley and Oatmeal
Barley and oatmeal are whole grains with an abundance of insoluble fibres. Try substituting barley for rice or pasta in your favourite meals. At the same time, use oats instead of bread crumbs in meatloaf or cover baked chicken or fish.
These whole grains have beta-glucan, a fibre that enhances insulin action while decreasing blood sugar. In addition, it aids in the removal of cholesterol from the gastrointestinal system. Cooked barley has more than 7 grams of fibre, 37 grams of carbs, and 170 calories in a 14 cup meal, making it an excellent food for your health.
Sweet potatoes, red potatoes, purple potatoes and even plain white potatoes are rich in fibre. For example, one small potato with skin has about 3 grams of fibre. Unfortunately, potatoes have an unhealthy reputation of hanging around with unhealthy foods like chips and fries. However, potatoes when boiled or oven baked (not cooked in oil or salted) can offer a variety of health advantages. It is primarily due to their rich fibre content.
Dried fruits such as figs, prunes, and dates can significantly increase fibre intake. Therefore, health experts advise those who suffer from constipation and other related issues. In addition, the sugar sorbitol, which occurs naturally in these fruits, can aid your bowel movements and provide more relaxation. However, eating too many can cause cramps and other related issues. So start with a small portion and observe how you feel after digesting them.
It is a fact that almost all nuts are high in protein and healthy fats. But sunflower seeds and almonds come with an added advantage. They provide more than three grams of fibre per serving. As a result, they can help you meet the fibre recommendations of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
You should choose pre-packaged nuts over raw or dry-roasted nuts. Manufacturers usually cook them in a way that can add extra and unnecessary calories. Even nut butter can be high in fibre.
Almonds deserve special mention since they are high in nutrients, including healthy fats, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. In addition, almonds are versatile. For example, you can use almond flour for baking, making them easier to incorporate into your diet.
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that have recently gained popularity in the natural health community. They’re pretty nutritious since they’re high in magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. In our everyday diet, chia seeds are one of the handiest sources of fibre. You can also incorporate them into nutritious snacks, making them a healthy and accessible choice.
Fibre Meal Plan: Other Health Benefits
Normalises Bowel Movement
Research shows that dietary fibre softens and expands your faeces, increasing their weight and size. A thick stool is less likely to cause constipation since it is easier to pass. Any form of fibre that absorbs water and adds volume to your stool can benefit when you have loose, watery stools.
Helps Maintain Healthy Weight
Research shows that consuming high fibre food helps in managing weight. High-fibre meals are more filling than low-fibre foods, so you’ll eat less and feel fuller for longer. Furthermore, high-fibre meals take longer to consume and are less “energy-dense,” meaning they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
May Prevent Colon Cancer
A high-fibre diet can help avoid haemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). According to a study, a high-fibre diet can also lower the risk of colon cancer by fermenting some fibre in the colon. However, the subject requires further research.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
Fibre, especially soluble fibre, can assist people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption. Insoluble fibre and a good diet may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Several studies support the claim.
Enhances Heart Health
Soluble fibre that you can find in beans, oats, flaxseed, oat bran etc., helps lower total blood cholesterol. It lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels and helps improve HDL levels. According to research, high-fibre diets may have other heart-health benefits, such as decreasing blood pressure and inflammation.
A high-fibre meal offers various benefits. However, an excess fibre-intake also brings some adverse effects. For example, consuming more than 70 grams of fibre in a day can lead to digestive issues. Hence, you should eat the quantity that suits your health.
A high fibre meal is perfect for diabetics. Besides helping control blood sugar levels, eating fibre meals has other benefits. For example, it helps normalise bowel movement, helps maintain a healthy weight, prevents gut cancer, and helps lower cholesterol levels. Knowing what we consume and how it affects our body is essential. Once we know what and how much to eat, we can easily plan our meals. The same goes for a fibre meal plan for diabetes. However, since every individual has different requirements, it is best to consult an expert. An expert nutritionist will help you design a customised meal plan to help you healthify yourself without any side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Does fibre spike insulin?
A. No, fibre does not cause a significant insulin spike. A portion of fibre simply passes through your digestive tract, meaning it does not require insulin to digest. As a result, fibre-rich foods are less likely to cause insulin spikes. In addition, several studies show that high fibre starchy meals cause a substantially lower insulin response than glucose.
Q. What food item is highest in fibre?
A. Several foods contain high fibre. However, some of them are highly rich in fibre. For example, the best fibre rich foods are sweet potatoes, whole grains, berries, lentils, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. In addition, broccoli, avocados, apples etc., are also rich in fibre.
Q. Are eggs high in fibre?
A. Eggs are high in protein, but they are low in fibre. You can use chopped greens like spinach, broccoli, artichoke, or avocado to add fibre. Alternatively, use them as a filler in an omelette.
Q. Is yoghurt high in fibre?
A. Traditional plain yoghurt is devoid of fibre. On the other hand, certain yoghurt brands may include as much as 5 g of fibre in a single-serving container.
Q. Are high fibre foods good for you?
A. High-fibre meals are beneficial to your health. However, adding too much fibre too rapidly might cause intestinal gas, bloating, and cramps. Therefore, you should increase your fibre intake gradually over a few weeks. That helps your digestive system’s natural bacteria to acclimate to the change.
Q. Can high fibre cause constipation?
A. Some unpleasant side effects can develop when a person consumes more than 70g of fibre per day. For example, an excess fibre intake can lead to bloating, gas, and constipation. However, Increased hydration intake, exercise, and dietary adjustments can help alleviate this pain.
Q. What kind of bread is high in fibre?
A. Whole wheat bread has more fibre and is thought to be more healthy than refined grains. In addition, it is beneficial because the manufacturing process involves treatment to remove germs and bran.
Q. What high fibre foods are keto-friendly?
A. Green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds could be your best alternatives for a high fibre diet that is keto-friendly. These foods are low in carbohydrates and contain a high amount of fibre.