Top 30 Foods Rich in Fiber and Why You Need Fiber Daily
What is Fiber?
Fiber or dietary fiber refers to a carbohydrate, which is partially absorbed in the digestive system. It is also referred to as roughage. In the same way as other carbohydrates, one gram of fiber gives forth up to four calories of energy. Nevertheless, humans do not get this amount of energy from fiber.
Why do we need Fiber and at what amounts?
The necessity of fiber in our diet can never be overemphasized. A diet rich in fiber reduces the risk of cardiovascular and coronary artery diseases. Cardiovascular diseases affect the blood vessels and even the heart. A heart attack is the most common in cardiovascular diseases.
Fiber also fights lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes. As an illustration, people living with type 1 diabetes require less of insulin.
Moreover, fiber helps in reducing constipation. Insoluble Fiber increases bulk. It offers a grip to the intestinal muscles. It slows down the movement of food along the intestines. Additionally, it promotes increased intake of vital nutrients into the body. Furthermore, it gets rid of harmful toxins from the body.
However, with all this information on the Internet, most of us still lack the recommended intake of fiber. We consume more of animal products like meat, milk products and processed grain products. Though they are also helpful, they are low-fiber foods and whose much intake only kill us rather than building us.
There are two broad categories of fiber;
- Soluble fiber: it dissolves in water to form a gel. This gel slows down the movement of food substances along the digestive system. The slowed movement reduces the intake of sugar. Fruits, Oats, and beans are rich in soluble fiber. They shall be covered later in this article.
- Insoluble fiber: it helps prevent constipation. It is insoluble in water. It only helps in increasing bulk. That is, insoluble fiber provides a grip to the intestinal muscles and thus prevents constipation.
What are the recommended intakes of fiber?
Women below 50 years should take at least 25g of fiber daily. However, they should reduce this to 21g upon reaching 50. On the other hand, men under 50 years should include 38g of fiber in their diet. They should lower it to 30g upon reaching 50 years.
Have you been faithful to the recommended fiber intake? If not, it is now time to do so. Upping your daily roughage intake should be done gradually. It gives your body the time to adjust and to prevent stomach problems.
Some foods are rich in fiber while others have low fiber content. At times, your doctor may advise you to eat foods low in fiber content due to various reasons. Before embarking on fiber-rich foods again, consult with your doctor to know whether you are safe to do so.
Foods can also be either good or excellent sources of fiber. Good sources of roughage provide 2.5g to 4.9g fiber per serving. A serving of an excellent source gives 5g or more of fiber.
Foods Rich in Fiber
Pears: it is perfect for a snack or even for breakfast. Compared to other fruits, pears can provide 6g of fiber. That is, one medium pear contains 24% of the daily recommended fiber for a woman below 50 years. Studies show that consumption of this fruit helps in combating obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes.
Bananas: the ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber in a banana is 1:3. It is readily available throughout the year. It is soft and easily digestible. Banana contains a considerable amount of soluble dietary fiber which aids in reducing constipation.
Avocado: this is another fruit with much health benefiting fiber. A cup of sliced avocado can produce 10.5g of fiber. However, that amount depends on the type. There are two major types of avocado, Florida avocados, and the California avocados. The Florida avocado has a higher content of fiber than the latter.
Mango: mangoes are a good source of soluble fiber. One cup of peeled mango gives 2.6g of roughage. The skin of a mango is inedible. However, most of the fiber is in its flesh. Its soluble fiber helps control the levels of sugar in the blood. It also reduces the rate of glucose absorption.
Raspberries: 100g of raspberries gives you 6.5g of fiber. In the same way as the pears, raspberries can be consumed as a snack or during breakfast.
Strawberries: a cup of these fruits provide 3g of fiber. They are also low in saturated fat and sodium. Besides, it is also an excellent source of vitamin C and Manganese. However, most of its calories come from sugars.
Guavas: a cup diced guavas give 9g of fiber. They help in curbing high blood sugar levels. Besides, they also provide Vitamin A, Sodium, and Calcium. Furthermore, they are low in calories and fats.
Apple: an Apple a day keeps the doctor away. Today, apples grow in most parts of the world. This production ensures a continuous supply throughout the season. An apple consists of a 1:4 ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber. To get maximum health benefits from an apple, consume the fruit together with its peel. However, wash thoroughly in running fresh water before eating. Besides other advantages, apples are a good source of dietary fiber which prevents the absorption of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL). This is also referred to as bad protein. It contributes to heart diseases.
Peach: a medium peach can provide 2g of fiber. Just like the apple, consuming peaches reduce the absorption of LDL in the gut. Fiber from peaches and other types of fruits lower the risk of colorectal cancer. They support heart health. They contain vitamin C and Potassium which ensure a healthy heart.
Peanuts: thinking of weight management? Go peanuts! Peanuts are an excellent source of fiber. A handful of these nuts keeps our bellies full for long. It also reduces the absorption of sugars. Furthermore, it helps keep our hearts healthy.
Pistachios: is an excellent source of roughages. They provide 2.8g of insoluble fiber per ounce serving. They are also a good source of thiamin and copper. When buying pistachios, select the ones whose shells are slightly open.
Pecans: is an excellent source. A single serving of these nuts provides 38% of fiber. They are rich in monounsaturated fats. They also lower the cholesterol levels. Moreover, they do not add weight and are anti-ageing agents.
Coconut: a cupful of grated coconut produces about 7.2g of healthy natural fiber. There are various ways to which we can add coconut in our diet. These include;
- Substituting a percentage of our baking flour with coconut flour when baking.
- We can add grated coconut to our list of ingredients when cooking.
Countries with coconut as a dietary staple has fewer cases of heart-related diseases!!
Artichokes: a medium artichoke provides 10.3g of fiber. This amount is equivalent to half of the recommended daily intake of fiber for women. Artichokes also decrease harmful protein levels. Nonetheless, they also provide other nutrients for example vitamins and folic acids. Even more, they have low calories. They also aid in eliminating toxins from the body thus promoting health.
Peas: either green or dry packs a punch at approximately 10g of fiber per cooked cup. There are a variety of ways in which you can obtain the roughage from peas. You can use them in soups, include them in the salad or even in the stew.
Carrot: is an excellent ingredient to add in most of your recipes. You can easily use carrots in salads, stews, and even soups. A 100g of carrot produces averagely 3g of fiber. Carrots improve eyesight as well. However, when relying on carrots as your source of fiber, consider to eat it rather than having its juice. This is because, when making its juice, much roughage is likely to be lost.
Broccoli: this vegetable features in various lists of healthy foods. It helps in losing weight. Furthermore, it also aids in fighting heart diseases. It provides 2.6g of fiber in a 100g. However, eating much of this vegetable aids in building up your Vitamin A, C and Potassium as well.
Beetroot: a hundred grams of these root vegetables offer 2.9g fiber. They are also rich in other nutrients which regulate blood pressure.
Brussels sprouts: in the same way as other cruciferous plants, Brussels sprouts have glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are important as they form the chemical origin of various cancer-protective substances.
Turnips: both the bulbous root and the leafy part of the turnip provide us with fiber. However, the green part has much fiber than the root. Not many people will go after this despite its many values. This is partly because of the bitter taste it has. However, you can reduce this by replacing the water from the initial boil with fresh water. A cupful of cooked turnip root gives 3g of dietary fiber. The same measure of turnip greens provides you with 5g of fiber. It also has various other nutritional elements good for your health. Hence, they should also not lack in your kitchen.
Asparagus: contrary to other vegetables, asparagus, has low-fiber content. Sometimes, foods with low fiber contents may be prescribed after surgery or due to other specific medical conditions. They aid in digestion and also prevent irritating the gastrointestinal system. For minor fiber from the asparagus, chop off the lower part.
Mushrooms: like the asparagus, mushrooms are other low-fiber content vegetables. It is ideal for persons seeking to put their weight under control. Furthermore, it helps in managing blood sugar levels. Nonetheless, it is different types of mushroom will provide different amounts of fiber. A cupful of Enoki mushrooms provides 2.3g of fiber. On the other hand, a cup of raw white mushrooms gives 0.8g of fiber.
Spinach: is an excellent source of fiber. It also provides iron. Spinach also offers low saturated fat and also has low levels of cholesterol. But, this food’s levels of sodium are high. You should avoid it if need be.
Beans: wondering what legumes to back on in your quest for fiber? Then beans come in handy. There are various types of beans which are good sources of fiber. The Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas have high levels of fiber content. 2 cups of this legume provide the entire daily value. Black beans also contain much fiber. Additionally, they have elevated levels of flavonoid and antioxidants. These cut the risk of some strains of cancers. There are various recipes on the internet which will help you in coming up with the best meal of beans. Again, it is imperative to increase your water intake after eating beans. The water aids in sweeping toxins but and to reduce the chances of bloating.
Lentils: it tops the world’s list of healthiest foods. Lentils not only help in fighting diseases but are also an anti-ageing agent. One cup of cooked lentils provides up to 50% of the recommended daily requirements of fiber. Lentils have a 1:1 ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber. Its soluble fiber has an adequate amount of folate and magnesium. These aids in maintaining a healthy heart. Nonetheless, a cup of cooked lentils contributes up to 90% of the daily need for folic acid. This acid protects the walls of the artery and also prevents heart diseases.
Soybeans and soy flour: 186g of soybeans give 17g of fiber. Its fat is also unsaturated. It also provides amino-3 acids. One cup of defatted soy flour provides 17g of fiber too. Furthermore, it has low saturated fats contents. It also contains iron and thiamin. On the contrary, some processed soy foods have decreased fiber contents (tofu and soymilk).
Barley: a cup of this cereal makes up 42% fiber. When preparing soup or stew, a cup of barley boosts your fiber intake. The fiber is also a source of food for the friendly bacteria in the large intestine. Additionally, the fiber is also high in beta glucan. Beta glucan aids in lowering cholesterol and eliminating it from the body through feces. Barley’s soluble fiber also reduces the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver.
Oat bran: it is a concentrated source of fiber from grain. An ounce of oat bran consists of 12g fiber. Like barley, oat bran also contains beta glucan that lowers the cholesterol levels in your blood.
Hummus: a 100g of hummus provides 5g of fiber. Hummus is low in cholesterol. It is a reliable source of fiber, phosphorus, and folate. All these help in promoting intestinal and heart health.
Dietitians argue that darker plants are more fiber-rich than the lighter ones. The list below contains must-have greens in your future-shopping list. They will help you in maintaining a healthy heart. They also ensure smooth digestion of food, excretion and making you feel full for longer. It’s also a healthy treat to those you love.
Fibrous foods are all over within our reach. But, most of us are still in a deficiency of fiber. There are many benefits of eating various types of fruits and vegetables rich in fiber. Increased consumption of plant foods helps in combating lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes.