There are few things in the world worse than feeling bloated. It can affect your whole day, including your energy levels. If you’re feeling a little, ahem, ‘blocked up’, dietitian Melissa Meier has some foods that might help get things going again.
If you’re concerned about your toilet tendencies, it’s hard to know what’s normal – and what’s not. After all, bowel habits are not the most popular topic of dinnertime conversation!
Obviously, if there have been any recent major changes, it’s time to check in with your GP. But if you’re simply feeling a little blocked up, fibre could be your solution to beating constipation. To give you a helping hand, here are 10 simple foods to add to your shopping trolley that’ll get your bowels moving in no time.
But first, a word of warning: if you’re upping your fibre intake, do so gradually, and make sure you increase your water intake, too. Fibre absorbs water, so if you’re not drinking enough, your stools will become dry. That means they’ll be even harder to pass and you’ll find yourself in more trouble than you were in the first place.
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10 high-fibre foods to help beat constipation
1. Raspberries – 7g fibre per 125g punnet
These sweet little morsels are packed with fibre to keep your digestive system happy. When they’re not in season (and therefore $$$), opt for a frozen variety to save some coin – they’re just as good for you and work just as well in smoothies and baked goods.
2. Passionfruit – 7g fibre per large passionfruit (50g pulp)
Another super high-fibre fruit, a drizzle of passionfruit over your cereal, yoghurt or in a homemade juice is a tangy way to keep your gut happy. With more than 10 per cent fibre, a little bit goes a long way.
3. Wholegrain bread – 6.7g fibre per two slices
The perfect base for a hearty breakfast or lunch, or even as a side with dinner, a quality wholegrain bread should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen. My top tip is to look for a brown loaf with as many visible grains and seeds as possible.
4. Black beans – 6.6g fibre per half-cup (75g)
Any type of legume (think: beans, chickpeas, lentils) are brimming with fibre, but black beans are at the top of the list. Try them in tacos, burritos or chilli con carne for a Mexican-inspired gut-loving meal.
5. Firm tofu – 6g fibre per 170g serve
Meat free Monday, anyone? Tofu is a protein-packed alternative to meat or poultry and as an added bonus, offers a decent amount of fibre, too. It works perfectly in anything from stir fries and noodle dishes to buddha bowls and scrambles.
6. Broad beans – 5.7g fibre per half-cup (75g)
A freezer staple in my household, broad beans are a winner when it comes to fibre. For a healthy, tasty side with fish or chicken, I like to blanch them with other greens and then smash them up with a little seasoning and lemon juice. Thanks for the tip, Jamie Oliver!
7. Green peas – 5g fibre per half-cup (75g)
Your mum was definitely onto something – those humble little green peas you used to eat as a child are packed with plant-based goodness. Not only are they an easy way to up your daily dose of fibre, they also provide low-GI carbs for long-lasting energy.
8. Oat bran – 4.7g fibre per quarter cup (30g)
Wholegrains contain three different layers – one of them being the outer layer called the bran, which is rich in fibre. Oat bran, therefore, is the outer layer of the oat grain. Try a light sprinkle over your go-to cereal or muesli (or even in your healthier baked treats).
9. Psyllium – 4.2g fibre per teaspoon (5g)
This is another great option for sprinkling over cereal or into healthier baked treats. If you’re new to psyllium it’s important to start with quite a small dose (half a teaspoon, for example), and build up gradually to give your body time to adjust.
10. Chickpeas – 3.5g fibre per half-cup (75g)
Everyone should have a can (or ten) of chickpeas in their pantry. Cheap, nutritious and incredibly versatile, they can go into anything from a batch of roast veggies to soups to dips to falafels. Packed with gut-loving fibre, plant-based protein and low-GI carbs, they tick a lot of my nutritional boxes.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.