Why Do I Need to Eat High-Fiber Foods?
Fiber? Isn’t that for staying “regular?”
It’s true, most people associate high-fiber foods with digestion. But upping your daily fiber intake can help prevent a variety of healthy issues. In fact, in a recent meta-analysis by medical journal The Lancet, researchers found that eating a high fiber diet led to a lower risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.
So, how do you get your daily fiber intake? Worry not, here’s a list of common foods packed with that life-saving dietary fiber:
Finding high-fiber foods to incorporate into your diet doesn't have to be a struggle. Fiber-rich fruits are an excellent choice for balancing great taste with getting your daily dose of "vitamin F." Toss some antioxidant-rich berries into a smoothie, or simply grab an apple for breakfast on-the-go. Here are a few tasty, high-fiber fruits to get your day started right:
- Bananas, apples, oranges, and pears.
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and more.
- Less common fruits such as passion fruit, guava, and mango.
Did you know? Avocado is not only classified as a fruit but is filled with 10 grams of dietary fiber! Go green!
Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables
Eat your vegetables. This groan-inducing parental advice has stuck around for a reason. Vegetables are a welcome addition to any diet based purely on their vitamins and minerals. But many vegetables also contain a hefty dose of fiber. Here are a few high-fiber vegetables to keep you strong and healthy:
- Artichockes, broccoli, and green peas.
- Spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and other greens.
- Several varieties of potatoes, such as sweet, red, and russet.
Beans and Legumes, The Magical Fruits
Okay, so they aren’t fruits. But there is something magical about these high-fiber helpers. If you’re looking to stay full for longer, beans and legumes are here to save the day. And in addition to their hunger- helping protein, these tasty beams and legumes add a satisfying fiber-boost to any lunch or dinner:
- Black beans, white beans, navy beans, kidney beans, etc.
- Split peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
Fun Fact! A legume refers to a plant of the Fabaceae family (often a pod). Beans refer to the seeds inside the plant.
Super Cereal, Breads, and Grains
In this day and age, it seems that every fad diet forbids eating carbohydrates. But contrary to popular belief, all carbs are not created equal. These whole-grain, high-fiber foods contain complex carbohydrates and will keep you full long after you're finished eating :
- Whole-wheat pasta, rye bread, and whole-wheat tortillas.
- Grains such as brown rice, barley, oatmeal, spelt, and farro.
- A variety of high-fiber breakfast cereals (such as All-Bran, Grape Nuts, and Fiber One)
Beware Imposters: Loaves of white bread often add food coloring to their product and deceptively label them “wheat breat.” To weed out imposters, look at the first item on the ingredients list. Bread that lists “whole-wheat” or “whole-grain” as its first ingredient are more likely to be rich in fiber.
You’re Nuts! (and Seeds)
Nuts and seeds are some of the most fiber-dense snacks around. But keep an eye on the serving size because some oil-heavy nuts are high in calories. A small serving of these nuts or seeds can help you achieve your daily fiber goals without sacrificing taste:
- Almonds, pistachios, chestnuts, and dried coconut.
- Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed.
Healthy Tip: Try adding a serving of any of these fiber-rich nuts or seeds to your morning oatmeal for an extra fiber-packed start to your day!
These are only some of the many delicious, high-fiber foods available at your local supermarket. Explore, experiment, and find what you love so you can keep your diet rich in fiber.