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Dietary fiber has much more benefits than one can think of. While it is missed most of the time from our diet, this article that we have brought today will make you an enthusiast of high fiber foods and aware of the benefits of dietary fiber.
We will tell you about fiber, the types of fiber, how much fiber you should add to your diet, high fibrous food to add to your diet, and fiber supplements that can help you keep up with the level of fiber you need daily.
Keep up with us to get enlightened.
Dietary fiber comes from the plants and thus is a part of the foods that we get from the plants. Fiber keeps our digestive system clean and healthy as it does not get absorbed into our body and thus gets passed undigested when we have a bowel movement.
Fiber intake encourages bowel movement, and that is why those who have occasional constipation are recommended to increase fiber intake. Besides this, fiber does other magics to our health and body, which we will know later.
What Are The Different Types Of Fiber
Dietary fiber is further divided into two categories: Soluble fiber and Insoluble fiber.
It is the fiber that does not dissolve in water, and the structure of the fiber is made up of substantial and rough particles. This fiber helps thwart constipation.
As fiber pass through our digestive system, our intestinal bacteria are made to digest this fiber, but they have their limits too, and thus fiber goes out of our body undigested. But if one consumes a large amount of insoluble fiber, it can bother the intestine lining and give rise to digestive problems.
Two good food examples that are rich in insoluble fiber are wheat bran and whole grains.
Soluble fiber is further classified into the following:
- Soluble, Non-Viscous, Fermentable
- Soluble, Viscous, Non-Gel-Forming, and Non-Fermentable
- Soluble, Viscous, Gel-Forming, and Fermentable
- Soluble, Viscous, Gel-Forming And Non-Fermentable
Soluble fiber gets dissolved in water, added to our stools, steadies our rate of digestion, and it is quite helpful as it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in soluble fiber.
Psyllium falls under the soluble, viscous, gel-forming fiber category and is found in Metamucil fiber supplement.
Psyllium husk has many health benefits other than just thwarting constipation. It helps our body by controlling blood sugar levels and also lowers cholesterol levels, thus keeping the heart fit and healthy.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Fiber?
There are many health benefits of fiber more than you think. Some of them are:
A) Prevents Both Constipation And Diarrhoea
Fiber bulks up your stool so that they are easier to pass. Having a healthy diet full of high fibrous food will normalize your bowel movement, thus preventing constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
B) Prevents Digestive System Cancer
Fiber can diminish the chances of colorectal cancer that is related to our digestive system. What can be the better way to prevent cancer than this? Just include high fibrous food and live a healthy life.
C) Promotes Blood Sugar Control
Foods rich in insoluble fiber can help you get a good grip on your blood sugar levels, thus lowering the levels and bringing the body back to normal. This can only happen when you strictly maintain a diet that includes plenty of high fibrous food.
D) Improves The Health Of Your Skin
Fiber can remove all the toxins from your body that causes acne or other skins problems that you want to get rid of. One of the best examples of fiber that can keep your skin healthy is psyllium husk.
E) Improves The Health Of Your Heart
Soluble fiber can improve the health of your heart as it lowers levels of bad cholesterol and elevates the levels of good cholesterol. Also, a high fibrous food diet can reduce the risks of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. You must have noticed that people with diabetes and heart diseases are suggested to maintain a diet that includes high fibrous food.
F) Promotes Weight loss, Thus Providing A Healthy Weight
Fiber stays longer inside you, thus making you feel fuller and lessening your appetite. When you eat less, you will be able to maintain a proper weight.
How Much Fiber Do You Need Daily?
For women, the recommended daily fiber intake- both soluble and insoluble fiber- is 25 grams, and for men, it is 38 grams of fiber. Despite the recommendation, people do not get enough fiber every day. One might be eating high fibrous food, but it does not become possible to maintain the right high fiber diet.
When a person does not get enough fiber, many health problems arise. Therefore, it is necessary to have and maintain a high-fiber diet.
Fruits and vegetables tend to be lower in calories and high in fiber, and therefore, to increase your daily fiber intake, you must include lots of fresh fruits and raw vegetables in your diet. Consuming high fiber foods such as whole-grain crackers, high fiber cereals, or nuts as your daily snacks can increase the amount of fiber intake.
Switch from Corn Flakes to Bran Flakes during your breakfast and instead of drinking fruit juice like orange juice, try eating the fruit as a whole because the juice contains no fiber.
High Fibrous Food To Add To Your Daily Diet
One can find fiber in plants easily, so including many fruits, vegetables, and other plant products will help you maintain a healthy diet full of fiber.
We have listed the 16 best sources from where you can get your daily dose of fiber if only you add them to your diet:
You might be feeling happy now that you ate popcorn all these years while watching movies for good only. Just think how easy it is to increase your levels of fiber by just watching a movie and side by side eating popcorn.
Air-popped popcorn is a crunchy snack as well as a high fibrous food. Top it with some nutritious topping, not butter, as it will increase the calories and have a delicious treat.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats as well as fiber. Half of the avocado can provide you with as much as 9 grams of fiber, and unlike most fiber-rich foods, you can relish this high-fibrous food with almost anything.
All this time that you were eating avocado toasts, you know now that you were doing it right!
3. Brussels Sprouts
The small version of cabbages, Brussels sprouts, contains almost 5 grams of fiber per cup, so you must give it a thought and add this high fibrous food to your diet. Boil or roast them or make pan-fried Brussels sprouts and have a delicious meal with lots of fiber in it.
Beans are one of the most common high-fiber foods. They are fiber-packed as well as protein-packed and are healthy foods that can lower levels of cholesterol.
Cooked split peas, lima beans, navy beans, soybeans, and pinto beans provide you with 7.5 grams of fiber, kidney beans provide you with 13.1 grams of fiber, and it is much easier to add beans to your diet than any other high fibrous food. One can prepare several tasty dishes with kidney beans and split peas.
5. Chia Seeds
You might think about how chia seeds can increase your fiber intake. Well, this high fibrous food has got more to provide than you think.
This fiber is one of the richest sources of fatty acids and protein and can also elevate the fiber level of your already high fibrous food with more fiber. You have to sprinkle some chia seeds on top of your oatmeal, cereal, or salad, and you will be enjoying high fibrous food in no time.
6. Whole Grains
Whole grains are high-fiber foods that are easy to consume. Found in whole wheat bread or whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, wild rice, and brown rice, it can provide up to 6 grams of fiber.
Cooked quinoa provides you with more fiber than brown rice, so consider adding it to your dinner to raise your fiber intake. Also, it would be best if you chose whole-wheat pasta over white pasta as the latter doesn’t have many nutrients.
7. Green Peas
Despite the small size, green peas can do great wonders by adding more fiber to your diet. They provide you with almost 8 grams of fiber.
Not only fiber-packed, but while you make food more healthy and nutritious by adding green peas, you are also being supplied with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, and manganese.
Many people ignore broccoli, but if you add high fibrous food to your diet, it is time to pay attention to it. Broccoli provides us with almost 3.2 grams of fiber. It is also high in sulforaphane and low in calories, so that it will take care of your health beautifully.
Lentils are a very good option for vegetarians. They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein as well as iron. This high fibrous food also helps lower blood sugar levels, so you must include cooked lentils in your diet if you are a sugar patient.
Lentils provide you with 15.6 grams of fiber per cup, and they also are a healthy addition to your veg burger. So next time you devour a burger, don’t forget to add lentils to it.
Apples are a healthy source of fiber and can boost your fiber intake easily. An apple houses almost 4 grams of fiber, and it is very beneficial as it can help lower cholesterol. Now you know why and how an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
You can eat this high fibrous food whenever you want, and to elevate the taste, you can add yogurt or cream on top of it. But remember to eat it with its peel on. The peel houses the most fiber, and removing it will lower your fiber intake.
These high-fiber foods are a great source of protein, healthy fats, and of course, fiber. When you eat almonds and sprinkle sunflower seeds, you are provided with almost 3 grams of fiber. It is preferred to eat raw or dry-roasted nuts as they offer the right quantity of fiber and fewer calories.
Berries have a lot of fiber in them other than the fact that they are rich in antioxidants. You can make your morning cereal luxurious and high in fiber by adding any berries of your choice, like fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. However, blackberries and raspberries are the most fiber-packed berries, packed with almost 8 grams of fiber per cup.
Blueberries and strawberries house 4 grams of fiber, and both of them are a great source of vitamin C.
Oatmeal is high fibrous food that you should add to your diet. You can prepare it in many delicious ways, such as with chia seeds, so you don’t need to worry about the taste.
Almost half-cup of raw oats provides you with 4 grams of fiber per cup, and this soluble fiber is also good for the health of your heart. Give your health a long life by adding this high fibrous food to your diet.
14. Wheat Bran
Wheat Bran is a very helpful high fibrous food. Providing 6 g of fiber per ¼ cup, wheat bran helps people who struggle with constipation. Therefore, add fiber to your diet so that you do not have to face any digestive discomfort.
An easy way to increase the fiber levels of your normal smoothie or cereal is by sprinkling wheat bran.
When I say potato is a high fibrous food, that does not mean you get high fiber by eating potato fries, chips, and other fast foods made out of potatoes. Potatoes can provide us with almost 3 grams of fiber per cup when not fried in oil.
White potatoes, sweet potatoes, or any potato you prefer to eat, the fiber of this high fibrous food, keeps our intestine safe and sound. So choose to add sweet potatoes instead of bread or white potatoes in your daily meal.
This high fibrous food can be a perfect replacement for all your evening snacks that are high in calories and have no fiber in them at all. Edamame, also known as immature soybeans, provides you with almost 5 grams of fiber.
Not only fiber, but it also contains all the amino acids that our body needs. Having a mild flavor, you can add this high fibrous food to your salads and stir-fries, or you can eat them straight from the pod while you are enjoying your snack time.
These were the high-fiber foods that you surely must add to your diet to maintain a healthy and high fiber diet as well as a healthy body.
Most of the natural and unprocessed foods house both soluble and insoluble fiber. Always try to consume natural and unprocessed foods as they have high fiber content. Replace your white foods, such as white bread, with whole grains, such as whole-grain bread, because the fiber content from the refined and processed foods is stripped off.
About Dietary Fiber Supplements
When it gets difficult to accommodate the right amount of fiber to your diet, one can opt for fiber supplements. Though the finest way to increase your fiber intake is by adding fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other fiber-rich foods to your diet, a fiber supplement can also help to level up your daily fiber intake.
As it has its share of advantages, fiber supplements have their share of disadvantages also which one must know:
- Though they increase your fiber intake, fiber supplements will be deficient in all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other various nutrients that one can get from high fibrous food.
- They won’t help you to lose weight.
- Supplements can react with medicines that you might be taking.
Before opting for supplements, you must consult with your doctor and know the fiber you need.
Adding fiber will surely help you lose weight, prevent heart disease and proffer you several other benefits, but you should remember that you must add fiber to your diet bit by bit over a few weeks if you have just started eating high fiber foods. Adding fiber to your diet at one go can cause bloating and abdominal cramps. So add fiber slowly to your diet and let your system get used to increasing fiber intake.
Also, remember to drink plenty of water while you increase your fiber intake as fiber absorbs water, and if you don’t drink enough water, you may face dehydration and constipation.
That was all for today’s article. Hope it has educated you well about fiber.
Edited by Nwachukwu favour (RN)