Black beans, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, pumpkin, chia seeds, almonds, avocados, guava, berries, and mangos are among the many sources of fiber available around us.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should consume around 25 grams of fiber, while men should consume 38 grams per day.
Truth is, we mostly consume around 17 grams of fiber per day or even less.
Though fibers have several health benefits, yet, awareness of its importance lacks for many.
They help maintain a healthy stomach by facilitating the digestion process through helping food to pass easier through our intestine.
They also facilitate the sweeping out of wastes from our bodies.
Besides, fibers make you feel full and hence eat less.
Some sources of fibers limit the fat absorption by our bodies and thus helps in lowering body cholesterol.
Additionally, fiber lowers and regulates the level of glucose in our blood, helping type 2 diabetic patients with maintaining a healthy level of insulin.
But, What Is Fiber?
Fiber cannot be broken down by our stomach enzymes and hence pass to our small intestine undigested.
Fiber is either soluble or insoluble.
Soluble fibers turn into a gel-like substance in our stomach.
This gel mixes with digested food to help it pass easily to our colon.
Examples of soluble fibers are oatmeal, potatoes, oranges, pears, lentils, apples, and black beans.
Insoluble fibers, on the other hand, doesn’t turn into a gel-like substance, it retains water and hence increases the volume of our stool, softening it so that it would be easily swiped out of our system.
Insoluble fibers protect us against constipation and eventually hemorrhoids.
Examples of insoluble fibers are whole grains, corn, kidney beans, and sprouts.
Some of the soluble and insoluble fibers are also prebiotic which means they are used as sources of energy for the good bacteria and probiotics found in our stomach.
Probiotics keep the bad bacteria in our large intestine under control.
Consequently, fibers enhance our gut’s health.
Examples of prebiotics are garlic, onion, artichokes, bananas, and barley.
Fibre Amount Per Servings
One cooked sweet potato contains 3.8 grams of fiber,
Half a cup of pumpkin contains 3.6 grams of fiber,
Half a cup of broccoli contains 2.6 grams of fiber,
One avocado contains 9 grams of fiber,
One cup of artichokes contains 5 grams of fiber,
10 asparagus contains 3 grams of fiber,
One cup of cooked corn contains 4 grams of fiber.
One small apple contains 3.6 grams of fiber,
One banana contains 3.1 grams of fiber,
Half a cup of raspberries contains 4 grams of fiber,
Quarter a cup of dried figs contains 3.7 grams of fiber,
One guava contains 9 grams of fiber,
One pear contains 6 grams of fiber,
One mango contains 5 grams of fiber,
A cup of blueberries contains 4 grams of fiber.
Half a cup of cooked lentils contains 5.5 grams of fiber,
Half a cup of baked black beans contains 7.5 grams of fiber,
Half a cup of cooked chickpeas contains 6.2 grams of fiber.
Half a cup of quinoa contains 2.6 grams of fiber,
Half a cup of cooked barley contains 3 grams of fiber,
Half a bowl of baked oatmeal contains 2 grams of fiber.
A handful of almonds contains 3.5 grams of fiber,
One tablespoon of chia seeds contains 4.9 grams of fiber,
A handful of walnuts contains 1.9 grams of fiber,
A handful of pistachios contains 3 grams of fiber.
High Fiber Diet
A high fiber diet is a diet rich in fibers that aim to help you reduce your caloric intake and promotes your health.
High fiber diet is automatically a diet low on meat consumption and high on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
It is a nutrient dense diet that not only does it promotes your guts health but also regulates your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as provides you with several micronutrients and vitamins.
An example of a high fiber diet is consuming some oats and bananas for breakfast, an apple, guava or pear as a snack, legumes for lunch, and sweet potatoes with some seed or nuts and some berries for dinner.
Such diet opts to around 34 grams of fiber daily, which is close to the recommended daily intake.
It is very important to note though that following a high fiber diet should come gradually, as an excessive fiber intake for an unaccustomed stomach would upset it.
It usually takes a couple of weeks for your stomach to adjust to your new fiber intake.
Once this happens, you would feel lighter, more energetic and healthier.
A key to a consistent high fiber diet is to eat as much variety as you can.
Do not stick to one or two types that are rich in fiber.
Mix and match the different types to have a balanced, rich nutrient diet.
Food is considered to be high fibers if they contain 5 or more grams of fiber.
High Fibre Diet Ideas
Oatmeal with berries, 6 grams of fiber,
Whole Grain Muffins, 7 grams of fiber,
Whole Grain Toast with Avocado, around 10 grams of fiber,
Eggs with black beans and cheese, approximately 4 grams of fiber,
Berry with almonds smoothie, 6 grams of fiber,
Or avocado with eggs, approximately 7 grams of fiber.
An apple, 3.6 grams of fiber,
A banana, 3.1 grams of fiber,
A pear, 6 grams of fiber,
A handful of nuts, around 4 grams of fiber,
Dried figs, 3 grams of fiber,
Or popcorn, 13 grams of fiber.
Tuna with quinoa and lettuce, 7.3 grams of fiber,
Asparagus with lettuce, kidney beans and corn, around 12 grams of fiber,
Whole grain toast with turkey, cheese and lettuce, approximately 6 grams of fiber,
Or a whole-wheat tortilla with onions, vegetables and cheese pizza, 8 grams of fiber,
Avocado shrimp salad, around 8 grams of fiber,
Steamed broccoli with black beans, quinoa, and tomatoes, approximately 6 grams of fiber,
Fig and cheese with almonds on a whole grain toast, approximately 8 grams of fiber,
Salmon and asparagus, approximately 4 grams of fiber,
Or a whole-wheat tortilla with vegetables and cheese, approximately 8 grams of fiber,
It is more like soluble fiber in its functionality, as it helps pass food through our small intestine.
These resistant starches are very beneficial in regulating our sugar levels and hence improves our insulin sensitivity.
It also helps us feel full quickly and so is very good for weight loss.
– Type 1: Is found in grains, seeds, and legumes.
This type remains undigested.
– Type 2: Is found in starchy food like potatoes and bananas.
– Type 3: Is found in some starchy food that is cooked and then cooled like rice, and potatoes.
The cooling process turns the digestible starches into indigestible ones.
– Type 4: Is obtained via chemical processes.
The important benefit of this starch is its ability to feed almost 90% of our gut cells.
It also feeds the good bacteria in our stomach, promoting our gut health.
It reduces our pH level as well and hence reducing inflammations and therefore could protect against colon cancer.
Adding Resistant Starch to Your Diet
Simple ideas for adding resistant starch could be:
A banana on whole-wheat toast,
Potatoes with beans,
Mixed bean salad with whole-wheat pasta,
Kidney beans and sweet corns with brown rice,
Or potato with vegetables.
A Final Word
Fiber is essential to our bodies.
Not only does fiber makes us full quickly, but it also helps in digestion, protects against constipation and regulate our cholesterol and sugar level.
Fiber is both soluble and insoluble.
Each has its functionality in our bodies, with soluble fires facilitating digestion and insoluble fiber facilitating waste sweeping from our bodies.
A recommended fiber intake as per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men per day.
A high fiber diet is one that provides these amounts through food intakes.
Fiber is found in legumes like lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans.
It is also found in fruits and vegetables like banana, mango, apple, pear, guava, broccoli, avocado, artichokes, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.
Seeds and nuts are rich in fiber too.
This includes quinoa, chia seeds, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, oatmeal, and barley.
In addition to fiber, there is starch resistant food.
Starch resistant is considered a type of fiber because it too is indigestible by our stomach.
However, it feeds the good bacteria, as well as our gut cells and hence, has excellent health benefits.