What are high fiber foods that you should eat?

High fiber foods

You may probably hear about fiber, that carbohydrates in foods that won’t digest in our small intestine. They go to our large intestine without any harm. In the large intestine, these fibers act as foods for good bacteria [1]Hasinika K. A. H. Gamage, Raymond W. W. Chong, Daniel Bucio-Noble, Liisa Kautto, Anandwardhan A. Hardikar, Malcolm S. Ball, Mark P. Molloy, Nicolle H. Packer & Ian T. Paulsen (2020) Changes in … Continue reading. Not only helping good bacteria, but fiber also helps the movement of food in your digestive tract, which means when the food you eat is high in fiber and fluid, it helps the function of the digestive tract and moves easily through it.  Some foods are high in these good fibers.

How much fiber should I eat per day?

Guidelines recommend us to eat 14 g of fiber for every 1000 kcal you consume. which means for a 2000kcal diet you will have to consume 28 g of fiber. However, studies done in the USA have found that 95% of Americans do not take this recommended amount of fiber [2]Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2016). Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 11(1), … Continue reading. Hence, you must know what are foods high in fiber. Then you can add those high fiber foods to your daily diet.

What is good about fiber?

Fiber has numerous health benefits to our body and we must add them to our diet. Here is why you should eat fiber;

  • Fiber can help you lose weight: Fiber-rich foods are usually low in calories such as fruits and vegetables. Not only that fiber and can keep us feeling full for a long time because fiber-rich food takes more time to digest in the stomach.
  • Fiber can lower cholesterol: Fiber, especially soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the intestine. So cholesterol does not get a chance to enter your bloodstream or to any other parts of the body as they pass with stool.
  • Fiber is good for your digestive health: Fiber makes it easier to pass stool and prevent constipation. It also helps to prevent diarrhea. Fiber can lower your risk of getting gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) which is quite common in people because fiber can lower gastric acids.
  • Fiber will help you to manage diabetes: Soluble fiber in particular helps you to control blood sugar levels. Because after binding to soluble fiber glucose in food slowly released to bloodstream not causing spikes of high blood glucose levels after eating high fiber foods. If you do not have diabetes yet, then insoluble fiber will lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
  • Fiber will prevent cancers: Some studies have found that eating a high-fiber diet can prevent colorectal cancers and other cancers in the digestive system.

What is a high fiber diet?

A high fiber diet is made by modifying the regular diet. A high fiber diet aims to reduce the time food spend in our intestine, frequent bowel movement, and making softer stools. This diet is used to treat diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation. A high fiber diet can also be used for weight loss, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. This diet should be planned well to increase fiber content. Adequate fluids should also be consumed to get the full benefit of the diet. It is recommended to drink at least 2 L per day.

As I mentioned before daily fiber intake of an adult is recommended to be between 20 g to 35 g daily, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When increasing fiber in the diet, it should be done regularly to prevent bloating, cramps and diarrhea. If you adhere to a high fiber diet for several months you will be able to benefit from it.

Dietary guidelines for high fiber diet

  • Regularly increase whole gran food consumption up to 6 – 11 servings per day. Examples: whole grain cereals, flours, and other whole-grain foods. (See the diabetic exchange list to get an idea about serving sizes.
  • Take high fiber foods from vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds about 5 – 8 servings per day. You can add granola to increase daily fiber intake. Aim to take 25g of fiber daily. You can easily complete this need by eating the foods from the food list I have mentioned below.

What foods have fiber?

You can find fiber in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

What are high fiber foods- fruits?

Many fruits have a high amount of fiber. Following is a list of fruits and their fiber content in one serving [3]USDA, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.

  • Avocado (1 cup / 150g) – 10g
  • Raspberries (1 cup)- 8 g
  • Pear (1 medium size) 5.5 g
  • Apple with skin (1 medium size) – 4.5g
  • Orange (1 medium size) – 3 g
  • Banana (1 medium size) – 3g
  • Strawberries (1 medium size) – 3 g

vitamin C and fiber rich raspberries

As you can see from the list also, the winner of having the highest fiber content is avocado. However, raspberries also have high fiber content. Also, these two fruits contain most vitamin C and fiber.

Avocados are also rich in healthy fats, unlike other fruits. It is also rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and many B vitamin. All these fibers, vitamins minerals, and fats will keep us healthy.

Raspberries on the other hand are loaded with vitamin C which is an antioxidant. It will fight against free radicals that will stress our body’s metabolism.

What are high fiber foods- vegetables?

There are many high fiber vegetables. The following list will give you an idea of the fiber content of commonly eaten vegetables[4]USDA, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.

  • Green peas, boiled(1 cup)- 9 g
  • Green turnips, boiled (1cup) -5 g
  • Artichoke, raw (1 globe or french artichoke)- 5.4 g
  • Broccoli, boiled (1cup, chopped) – 5 g
  • Potato, baked with skin (1 medium) – 4g
  • Brussels sprouts, boiled (1 cup) – 4 g
  • Sweet corn, boiled (1 cup) – 3.5 g
  • Beet, raw (1 cup) – 3.8 g
  • Sweet potato, boiled, without skin (1 medium size) – 3.8 g
  • Cauliflower, raw (1 cup, chopped) – 2 g
  • Carrot, raw (1 medium) – 1.5 g

What are high fiber foods- grains or cereals?

Following is a list of cereals with their fiber content[5]USDA, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.

  • All-bran cereals (1/2 cup)- 14 g
  • Bran flakes (1/2 cup)- 7 g
  • Pearled barley, cooked (1 cup) – 6 g
  • Spaghetti, whole wheat, cooked (1 cup) -6g
  • Oatmeal, instant, cooked (1cup) – 5 g
  • Oat bran muffin ( 1 medium) – 5g
  • Quinoa, cooked (1 cup) – 5g
  • Rice, brown cooked (1 cup) – 3.5 g
  • Popcorn, air-popped (3 cups) – 3.5 g
  • Rye bread (1 slice) – 2 g
  • Bread, whole wheat (1 slice) – 2 g

What are high fiber foods- legumes, nuts, and seeds?

Following is a list of legumes, nuts, and seeds with their fiber content[6]USDA, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.

  • Split peas, boiled (1 cup) – 16 g
  • Lentils, boiled (1 cup)- 15 g
  • Kidney beans, cooked – 12.2 g
  • Black beans, boiled (1 cup) – 10 g
  • Chia seeds (1 oz) – 10 g
  • Baked beans, canned (1cup) – 10 g
  • Fresh coconut (100 g)- 9 g
  • Walnuts (100 g)- 6.7 g
  • Almonds ( 1 oz/ 23 nuts) – 3.5 g
  • Sunflower kernels (1 oz) – 3 g
  • Pistachios (1 oz/ 49 nuts) –  3 g

Out of these seeds, chia seeds have the most fiber.

How can you add fiber to your diet? : tips

breakfast cereals with high fiber fruits

  • Eat whole-grain cereals for your breakfast: Instead of eating corn flakes, you can choose bran flakes for your breakfast. You can first try by adding unprocessed wheat bran to your regular cereal bowl. Then you may increase the amount of those cereals that you consume. To add more fiber to your breakfast you can take a high fiber fruit such as raspberries, avocado, or pear with breakfast.
  • Switch from refined carbs to whole grains: This means if you are eating white bread, pasta, or rice, you can eat whole wheat products instead, such as brown rice, brown bread, and whole wheat pasta.
  • Add chia seeds or flax seeds to your diet. You can add these to anything that has moisture to absorb, such as soup, puddings, yogurts, and breakfast cereals.
  • Level up baking: When you are baking you can mix up white flour with whole-grain flour in the right ratio. You can add unprocessed wheat brans to bread, cakes, muffins, and any baked goods.
  • Eat fruits for snacks: Instead of eating sugary or fatty snacks, you can switch to fruits that are loaded with fiber.
  • Make a vegetable salad or fruit salad in the refrigerator: this way you can grab and eat the fruits and veggies whenever you are hungry and your fiber intake will go up.
  • Add high fiber foods to anywhere that you can eat: incorporate as many fiber foods as possible in your soups, salads, and pasta. Add vegetables, legumes, and nuts all together in these dishes.

Following these steps will give you the full benefit of fiber foods.

Q & A

  1. What cereal has 0 g fiber?

Cereals cannot have zero fiber. But some cereals are very much low in fiber. The more processed the cereal is, the less fiber in it. As an example, white wheat flour has low fiber because it is processed until its bran is removed. But with whole-grain cereals, the fiber part is not removed. So refined carbohydrates are low in fiber

If we take commercially-available cereals, they have low fiber compared to natural cereals unless they have added fiber in making cereals. Following are a list of low fiber commercial cereals;

  • General Mills Reese’s Puffs and Kaboom
  • Kellogg’s Crispix and Rice Krispies
  • General Mills Rice Chex and Honey Nut Chex
  • Farina Hot Wheat Cereal
  • General Mills Cocoa Puffs
  • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
  • Cream of Wheat and Malt-O-Meal

 

References[+]

Dilini Tharaka

Dilini Tharaka

BSc. (sp.) in Food Science and Nutrition, Specializing in Applied Nutrition (Founder, Editor, and an Author)
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