High fiber foods boast several indisputable health benefits.
A naturally high fiber diet helps support a healthy digestive tract, blood sugar levels, and weight range.
The best news is that eating fiber-rich foods can be both easy, and enjoyable.
There is a wide range of nutritious foods that will ensure you’ve got your fiber needs covered. This article highlights some of the best high-fiber foods to include in your diet.
Why Are High Fiber Foods Important?
Fiber comes in two forms – insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, whereas insoluble fiber does not.
Soluble fiber attracts water and helps slow down digestion so that you feel more satiated. Insoluble fiber draws water into your stools, making them easier to pass.
Soluble and insoluble fiber are both important for a healthy digestive system and most fiber-rich foods will contain both types.
Eating high-fiber foods can support your health in many ways including:
Fiber slows down the release of carbohydrates into your body. This helps to prevent your blood sugar levels from fluctuating too much. In the long term, this can contribute towards a decreased risk of diabetes.
High-fiber foods can support weight loss, on several levels. Contributing factors include better blood sugar control, improved gut health, and better satiation from meals. Foods that have naturally high fiber are also often low in calories.
Some types of dietary fiber can help support health cholesterol levels. A regular intake of foods with a high fiber content may help to reduce your risk of serious conditions such as heart disease.
Which Foods Have The Best Fiber Content?
Fiber is only found in plant-based foods. Therefore, if you eat a wide variety of plant-based whole foods, you should be able to cover your daily fiber needs easily.
High fiber content foods include:
- The legume family. This includes pulses such as cooked lentils, kidney beans, cooked split peas, navy beans, pinto beans, and more.
- Fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables tend to be naturally high in fiber. A few high-fiber examples include brussels sprouts, raw carrots, and sweet potatoes.
- Whole grains. Some examples of whole grains with a good fiber content include brown rice, wild rice, raw oats, and wheat bran flakes. Although they are usually a little more processed, other sources include whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat bread, and whole-grain crackers.
- Seeds. Seeds such as sunflower seeds and chia seeds are nutritious options for adding fiber to your diet. Although it’s normally lumped in the whole grains category, cooked quinoa is another great option. And if you’re serious about adding fiber to your diet, psyllium husk is a well-known fiber-packed option. It comes from the crushed seeds of the Plantago Ovata plant.
The Top 10 Foods To Naturally Increase Your Dietary Fiber
You’ll find many foods that have been fortified with fiber. However, natural whole foods should be sufficient. Many of these fortified foods will be more processed and may lack the complete nutritional value you get from whole foods.
Be careful of drinks such as orange juice, which can spike your blood sugar and overdo your calories quickly.
You’ll get more fiber and satiation from a whole orange.
Legumes take first place when it comes to increasing your fiber intake. However, in the interest of adding more fiber to your diet from a wide variety of sources, we’ve included excellent options from other food groups too.
This approach helps you to cover your nutrition bases without leaning heavily on one food group, which is likely to cause problems.
1. Split Peas
Boiled split peas contain a whopping 16 grams of fiber per cup. Use them in delicious soups and casseroles, or turn them into a crunchy snack for a delicious treat.
One cup of boiled lentils contains around 15.5 grams of fiber. In other words, that’s about half of the fiber you need in an entire day! Try them in Indian-inspired recipes such as curry and dahl.
3. Black Beans
Black beans boast around 15 grams of fiber per cup. Try creating your own homemade nachos recipe with them!
Most beans and pulses have a relatively mild flavor on their own. Herbs and spices that you add to dishes make them come alive with flavor.
If you’re using beans and pulses to add more fiber to your diet, mix it up! Doing so will go a long way towards helping you to get all the essential amino acids your body needs.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds pack a huge nutrition punch on so many levels. They’re a great option for getting healthy fats into your diet and they have an excellent fiber content at 10 grams of fiber per ounce. (That’s a 2 tablespoon serving size). Try them in porridge or smoothies.
5. Green Peas
With 9 grams of fiber per cup, boiled green peas are one of the best high-fiber vegetables. They can be added to all sorts of recipes, or eaten as a side dish.
Raspberries are rich in nutrition and they contain excellent levels of fiber at 8 grams per cup. Eat them fresh as a snack when they’re in season, or purchase frozen ones to use in porridge and smoothies.
One cup of avocado cubes contains a significant 10 grams of fiber. Avocados are another highly nutritious plant food. Alongside an excellent fiber profile, they are a great source of essential fatty acids and healthy fats in general.
A nutritional superstar on many accounts, boiled broccoli contains 5 grams of fiber per cup. Other high-fiber vegetables include brussels sprouts, turnip greens, and potatoes.
Pearled barley is one of the highest-fiber grains with 6 grams per cup. Use it in the way you’d use other grains, by combining it with legumes in various dishes, adding to salads, or eating alongside vegetables. Although we’ve mentioned that it’s not technically a grain, quinoa is another high-fiber option that you can use similarly.
Whole fruits are generally a very good source of fiber. One pear contains around 5.5 grams, with apples not far behind at 4.5 grams.
Refer to this chart for further information.
Supporting Your Health With Fiber
You should be able to get enough fiber in your diet by consuming a wide variety of plant-based whole foods.
If you’re looking to add fiber to your diet, start including foods such as wheat bran, kidney beans, split peas, chia seeds, cooked and raw vegetables, and fruit in your nutritional intake.
You should introduce any new high fiber foods slowly over a few weeks. This will allow your digestive system time to adapt. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.
You’ll also find many foods that have been fortified with fiber. However, natural whole foods should be sufficient. Many of these fortified foods will be more processed and may lack the complete nutritional value you get from whole foods.
Be careful of drinks such as orange juice, which can spike your blood sugar and overdo your calories quickly. You’ll get more fiber and satiation from a whole orange.
As always, make sure to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns that your fiber levels are low. They can help you make the best dietary changes for your unique health and body.
This article was written by Elly McGuiness of Wellness Warrior
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