We all know that soluble fibre may help to lower the cholesterol level. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends intake of 25 g to 30 g of fibre per day with emphasis on soluble fibre (7 g to 13 g) for cardio-protective effect. Good sources of soluble fibre include whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Here are the examples of foods that are high in soluble fibre:
Oats are well-known for their cholesterol lowering effect due to strong publicity. One cup of cooked oats contains as much as 2.3 g of soluble fibre. Apart from proving soluble fibre, oats also provide antioxidants and minerals. Oatmeal is a good alternative to typical Malaysian dishes for breakfast. Add mixed nuts, fruits and low-fat milk for extra benefits.
Cooked Brussels sprouts contain 2.0 g of soluble fibre per half cup. Apart from soluble fibre, Brussels sprouts are also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Steaming is the best way in preserving the cholesterol-lowering effect of Brussels sprouts.
Kidney beans are great sources of soluble fibre, like most other beans. Half cup of cooked kidney beans provides 2.0 g of soluble fibre. In addition, kidney beans are also rich in iron, which is an integral component of haemoglobin. Kidney beans can be cooked on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker. To shorten their cooking time and make them easier to digest, kidney beans should be pre-soaked.
Half cup of chick peas provides as much as 1.9 g of soluble fibre. It is also high in insoluble fibre, which is good for digestive system; and contains a great amount of protein and antioxidants. Pre-soak the beans before cooking to reduce the cooking time, thus reducing the loss of water-soluble nutrients from heat.
Orange is not only high in vitamin C and antioxidants but also contains a lot of soluble fibre. One fresh small orange contains 1.8 g of soluble fibre. Include orange as your 2-a-day for fruits.
Half cup of asparagus provides 1.7 g of soluble fibre. It also contains a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium. Quick-cooking, waterless methods such as roasting, grilling or stir-frying will preserve the nutritional content of asparagus.
Mango is an all-time-favourite tropical fruit. Half of a small mango provides 1.7 g of soluble fibre. It is also rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. Eat mangoes plain, toss slices into salads or blend it with milk as milkshake for an extra boost of soluble fibre.
One medium sweet potato contains about 1.5 g of soluble fibre. It is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidants. Naturally sweet in taste, sweet potato can be served as a healthy dessert. Simply cut the sweet potatoes into small chunks and steaming them for few minutes and this will not only bring out their great flavour but help to maximize their nutritional value.
One medium pear contains 1.15 g of soluble fibre. It is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and phytonutrients, which are good antioxidants. Pears can be eaten fresh, or used as an ingredient for salad.
Barley, which is another choice of grains, is a great source of soluble fibre too. Half cup of cooked barley provides 0.8 g of soluble fibre. In addition, it also serves as a good source of the minerals selenium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Simmer barley for one hour and it can be taken as porridge.
Ref. Malaysians Dietitians’ Association