Did you know that fiber is vital in digestion and disease prevention in your body? Though it’s a nutrient that your body can’t digest, it is of great value to our bodies since it helps regulate the body’s use of sugar and maintains a balance of blood sugar levels.
What is Fiber?
Having stated the importance of fiber in your body, you might wonder, what is Fiber?
The amount of food from plants that human digestive enzymes can’t entirely break down is known as dietary fiber or roughage (1).
The solubility, viscosity, and fermentability of dietary fibers, which impact how the body metabolizes them, can be used to classify them in general. Dietary fibers have a wide range of chemical compositions.
Types of Fiber
Three fiber types are insoluble, soluble, and probiotics (2).
- Insoluble fiber helps in weight loss and staves off hunger pangs. It’s beneficial to those who struggle with constipation.
- Soluble fiber facilitates the motion of materials through your digestive tract and enhances stool bulk.
- Prebiotic fiber isn’t digestible by the body but helps grow gut bacteria.
Benefits of Fiber
- Fiber promotes a healthy weight by slowing digestion and making you feel full for a long time. (3)It also ensures that the food is well-digested. In the case of an overweight condition, it helps in weight loss.
- Fiber reduces cholesterol absorption in the body. Cholesterol harms your health when it is in bulk in the body. It travels in the blood bundled up in packets called “lipoproteins.” Lower-density lipoprotein is unhealthy for the body and causes plaques. High-density lipoprotein is good and transports cholesterol out of the arteries (4).
- Fiber adds bulk to the digestive tract. It’s more useful to those who struggle with constipation since it stimulates the intestines.
- Fiber reduces gastrointestinal cancer risk as it has protective effects against certain cancer types (5).
- It’s essential to incorporate fiber-containing foods gradually to avoid bloating and gas. Ensure you drink plenty of water to keep the symptoms at bay (6).
Types of Foods High in Fiber
The berries consist of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Strawberries are delicious, and you can eat them fresh. They have around 3-4 grams of fiber; slice strawberries into your next salad for flavor.
You can supplement with other high-fiber foods, like Metamucil.
It takes about 6 cups of strawberries to reach the 28-gram recommended daily intake (7).
Two cups of raspberries give you the daily fiber recommendation. They can be baked into your favorite dessert recipe or blended into a smoothie.
Avocado is a unique fruit that, instead of being high in carbs, is loaded with fats. Avocado is very high in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and E. A raw avocado contains 10 grams of fiber. It takes approximately three avocados to reach your daily fiber intake. You can enjoy it in various avocado recipes.
They can be stuffed, seasoned, incorporated into scrambled eggs, or used in soup (8). In salad dressing, blend the following ingredients and add more water to adjust the consistency.
- ½ avocado
- 120 mL of water
- juice from one lime
- One clove of garlic
- 60 grams of Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper.
Green or unripe bananas contain a significant amount of resistant starch. Are you able to eat nine bananas a day? If you achieve this goal daily, you will have met your daily fiber requirement. One medium-sized banana contains 3g of fiber (9).
Bananas are filling and an excellent way to add fiber to a meal or a snack. They have health benefits like reducing stress, inflammation, and the risk of chronic disease. The bananas taken should be under control. Too many bananas can have detrimental health effects such as poor blood sugar control, nutrient deficiencies, and weight gain.
Carrots are root vegetables, crunchy, and highly nutritious. It’s high in vitamin B6, magnesium, K, and beta carotene. The fiber content in carrots is 3 grams in one cup. Carrot juice is lower in fiber content.
You don’t need to eat a cup of cooked or raw carrots daily; incorporate carrots into healthy dishes containing other fiber sources. The fiber regulates blood sugar levels. Boiled carrots produce around 5 grams of fiber (10). Combine carrots with other high-fiber produce like chopped kale, chunks of avocado, and fresh raspberries.
Eating beans is an easy way to sneak fiber into your body. Edamame beans contain 9 grams of fiber in half a cup when shelled. One cup of cooked beans provides 15 grams of fiber (11). The fiber in beans helps reduce blood sugar levels by up to 5% in the afternoon. Kidney beans slow the absorption of sugar into the blood, therefore, lowering blood sugar levels.
Broccoli is classified as an artichoke vegetable and is the most nutrient-dense food. It contains various bioactive compounds that reduce cell damage caused by multiple chronic diseases. Broccoli contributes to reducing inflammation in body tissues. Broccoli also ensures that your gut is healthy and balanced. Broccoli provides 5 grams per cup of fiber (12).
Chickpeas form a base for hummus, which is the easiest to spread. They’re the best fiber source, which helps you pack, and they also have a fantastic nutrient composition. Twelve of the chickpeas provide 6 grams of fiber. (13) You can use it to make a snack, soup, or salad or roast it whole for a crunchy, shelf-stable snack. It takes 9 cups of broccoli to reach the daily fiber intake.
Those who need more fiber in their bodies should take popcorn since it’s the best snack. Air-popped popcorn has a very high fiber content. Popcorn contains one gram of fiber in a cup (14).
Apples are the most satisfying and tastiest fruits you can eat. They are delicious when incorporated with salads. There are about 4g of fiber in one apple, depending on the size. An apple is one of the most crunchy and excellent snacks (15).
The skins of an apple are more affluent in the insoluble type of fiber, while 80% of the thread in the fruit’s flesh is soluble. The apple’s core is considered the most healthy and provides ten times more beneficial bacteria than consuming the whole outer part.
10. Brussels Sprouts
These are types of cruciferous vegetables related to broccoli. Eating Brussels sprouts with other vegetables, fruits, or whole grains helps you achieve the daily fiber requirement. Brussel sprouts are rich in antioxidants, which prevent cancer and heart disease and protect the cells from damage.
The fiber content in Brussels sprouts has anti-inflammatory power to reduce chronic diseases. (16) Three grams of Brussel sprouts per cup help regulate blood sugar levels and support digestive health.
The vegetable is high in many nutrients and is one of the world’s best sources of fiber. Artichoke helps strengthen the gut. They provide inulin in abundance, a unique fiber that prevents gastrointestinal issues. (17) The healthiest way to eat an artichoke is by scraping out the inedible, fuzzy part. Underneath the artichoke is the heart, cut into pieces, dipped into melted butter, and consumed.
12. Split Peas
Split peas are made from dried, separated, and peeled seed peas. When cooked, they provide 16.3 grams per cup. The soup of split peas has a high fiber content of approximately 5 grams of dietary fiber (18). The fiber in split peas improves bowel movements and prevents constipation.
They are also laxative in nature. Both yellow and green split peas have the same health benefits. Peas should always be a priority if you suffer from blood sugar problems; peas help you stabilize blood sugar. It is also a good supply of energy for the body.
Quinoa has many nutrients, including magnesium, iron, and zinc. It’s a pseudo-cereal that is popular among health-conscious people. It helps in softening stools, normalizes bowel movements, and prevents hemorrhoids. (19) One cup of quinoa contains 5 grams per cup of dietary fiber.
Oats are healthier and have a high content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain a robust soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Oatmeal contains a soluble fiber that is not in many meals.
This soluble fiber significantly affects cholesterol and blood sugar levels. One cup of cooked oatmeal contains 4g fiber (20). Oats contain two types of oats, making them very unique.
Almonds are a popular tree nut that is high in nutrients. You can make almond flour from almonds. Bake the almond flour with a dose of extra nutrients. They are rich in valuable nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. Eating almonds is advisable as it helps you lose weight and reach your goal. The dietary fiber content is 4 grams per 3 tablespoons (21).
16. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potato is a popular tuber and has a delicious sweet flavor. Sweet potatoes can be a tasty bread substitute or a base for nachos.
It’s very high in B vitamins, beta carotene, and other minerals. They are a good source of fiber. For higher fiber content, you should eat them without peeling. A medium-sized boiled sweet potato (without skin) contains 3.8 grams (22).
17. Dark Chocolate
Surprisingly, dark chocolate contains the most nutrients and antioxidants. Whenever you buy chocolate, ensure to purchase dark chocolate containing 70-95%cocoa and avoid added sugar products. Dark chocolate contains quite a variety of powerful antioxidants. They have way more than any other food. The bioactive compound in cocoa helps improve the blood flow in the arteries. Chocolate contains 3.1 grams in a 1-ounce piece of 70-83% cacao (23).
Pears are tasty and nutritious fruits rich in fiber. They provide a small amount of folate, provitamins A, and niacin. To get a high amount of fiber, eat a pear with its skin. Pears also offer anticancer effects and are linked to lower risks of diabetes. Pears contain polyphenol antioxidants. (24) The fiber content is 5.5 grams in a medium-sized raw pea.
Beets have inorganic nitrates, which have various benefits related to blood sugar levels. They enhance athletic performance by improving use and endurance. To be effective, consume them 2-3 hours before the training or competition. Beets are fiber-rich, reducing the risks of several chronic health conditions. (25) The fiber content in beets is 3.8 grams per cup when raw.
Fiber can help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite, thus reducing calorie intake (26).
Remember, the fiber required daily is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men (27). The question is, how much fiber do you ingest per day? We, therefore, recommend adding these high-fiber foods to your diet daily and more to lose weight; you will become immune to various diseases.