High fiber foods
Fiber is one of those things that you just can’t live without. At least not if you don’t want to be constipated and stuck with an insatiable appetite for the rest of your life. No, dietary fiber is definitely a must-have. Don’t worry, fiber doesn’t have to taste like cardboard, nor does it have to be specially prepared; in fact, dietary fiber is abundant in a variety of foods, some of which you probably already eat. Fiber promotes health, augments the functioning of the digestive tract, reduces the risk for some diseases and cancers, and can help lower cholesterol. Learning about the wonderful health benefits of this nutrient is only the beginning of receiving them.
What Exactly is Fiber?
Fiber, sometimes referred to as roughage, is the non-digestible portion of plant foods that are classified as either soluble or insoluble, and both of these confer special health benefits. This solubility is based on its function in water. Soluble fiber dissolves or swells in water and is readily metabolized by intestinal bacteria. Types of water-soluble fiber include gums, beta-glucans, and pectins. Insoluble fiber is not able to dissolve in water, and moves things through the intestines in a more efficient manner. Types of water-insoluble fiber include cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin.
Health Benefits of Fiber
Put simply, fiber cleans your intestines of both harmful substances and nonharmful substances such as food. However, since both soluble and insoluble fiber provide their own health benefits, we will look at both types and the advantages that each offers.
- Provides a feeling of fullness in the stomach.
- While it can’t dissolve in water, it can hold water, lending to the bulkiness and moisture-content in stools.
- Helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis.
- Promotes regular bowel movement.
- Keeps the pH in the intestines balanced so microbes cannot produce harmful substances.
- Prolongs the amount of time it takes for the stomach to empty, allowing for a feeling of fullness for a longer period.
- Helps control blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for those with Diabetes.
- Lowers total cholesterol and LDL (the bad) cholesterol levels by inhibiting the digestion of fat and cholesterol and forcing them to be excreted from the body in the feces.
Since both types of fiber are good for keeping the digestive system on track for different reasons,
it is important to get each through the diet. Here are foods that contain significant amounts of fiber. The foods are divided by their nutrient category. You should try to get between 25 to 35 grams of fiber in your diet every day. This is not as difficult as it may seem because some foods are high in fiber per serving.
Grains, Cereals, and Pastas
- Wheat-bran cereal (1 ounce): 8.0 grams
- Bran flakes (¾ cup): 6.0 grams
- Barley, cooked (1 cup): 6.0 grams
- Oatmeal, any variety, cooked (1 cup): 4.0 grams
- Popcorn, air-popped (3 cups): 3.5 grams
- Brown rice, cooked (1 cup): 3.5 grams
- Whole wheat spaghetti, cooked (½ cup): 3.1 grams
- Wheat bran muffin (1 average-sized): 2.5 grams
- Whole wheat tortilla (1-6 inch): 2.0 grams
- Whole wheat bread (1 slice): 2.0 grams
- Couscous, cooked (½ cup): 1.0 grams
- Enriched white bread (1 slice): 0.6 grams
Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
- Kidney beans (1 cup): 16.4 grams
- Split peas, cooked (1 cup): 16.3 grams
- Lentils, cooked (1 cup): 15.6 grams
- Black beans, cooked (1 cup): 15.0 grams
- Lima beans, cooked (1 cup): 13.2 grams
- Baked beans, cooked (1 cup): 10.4 grams
- Almonds (1 ounce): 3.5 grams
- Pistachios (1 ounce): 2.9 grams
- Pecans (1 ounce): 2.7 grams
- Raspberries (1 cup): 8.0 grams
- Pear, with skin (1 medium): 5.5 grams
- Kiwi (1 medium): 5.0 grams
- Apricot, dried (3): 4.5 grams
- Apple, with skin (1 medium): 4.4 grams
- Strawberries (1 ¼ cup): 3.8 grams
- Banana (1 medium): 3.1 grams
- Orange (1 medium): 3.1 grams
- Peach, with skin (1 medium): 2.3 grams
- Raisins (¼ cup): 2.0 grams
- Figs, dried (1 medium): 0.8 grams
- Artichoke, cooked (1 medium): 10.3 grams
- Peas, cooked (1 cup): 8.8 grams
- Broccoli, boiled (1 cup): 5.1 grams
- Turnip greens, boiled (1 cup): 5.0 grams
- Corn, cooked (1 cup): 4.2 grams
- Brussels sprouts, cooked (1 cup): 4.1 grams
- Spinach, cooked (1 cup): 4.0 grams
- Potato, with skin, baked (1 medium): 2.9 grams
- Carrot, raw (1 medium): 1.7 grams
- Tomato (1 medium): 1.3 grams
- Asparagus (2 spears): 1.0 grams
- Onion (1 large): 0.6 grams
on Jan 9th, 2012 and filed under Healthy Eating
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