Fiber can have a lot of benefits like promoting weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, and reducing constipation.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consuming approximately 24 grams of fiber for women.

It is estimated that only 5% of American adults get the recommended amount of fiber each day. The average person in America only eats 16.2 grams of fiber per day. Luckily, it is not hard to increase the amount of fiber you eat each day by incorporating foods high in fiber into your diet.

What is Dietary Fiber?

All fiber comes from plants, bushes, vines, or trees. There are many different types of fiber but the three that are most important to the health of the body are:

Insoluble Fiber

This fiber does not dissolve in water and it helps to promote regular bowel activity by retaining water. Sources of insoluble fiber are:

  • whole grain wheat and other whole grains
  • corn bran, including popcorn, unflavored and unsweetened
  • nuts and seeds
  • potatoes and the skins from most fruits from trees such as apples, bananas, and avocados
  • many green vegetables such as green beans, zucchini, celery, and cauliflower
  • some fruit plants such as tomatoes and kiwi

Soluble Fiber

The colon bacteria feeds off of these fibers or uses them as nourishment. Soluble fiber is present to some degree in most edible plant foods, but the ones with the most soluble fiber include:

  • legumes such as peas and most beans, including soybeans
  • oats, rye, and barley
  • many fruits such as berries, plums, apples bananas, and pears
  • certain vegetables such as broccoli and carrots
  • most root vegetables
  • psyllium husk supplement products

Prebiotic Soluble Fiber

This fiber is called inulin or fructan. These soluble prebiotic fibers occur in significant amounts in:

  • asparagus
  • yams
  • onions
  • garlic
  • bananas
  • leeks
  • agave
  • chicory and other root vegetables such as Jerusalem artichokes
  • wheat, rye, and barley (smaller amounts)

Benefits of a High Fiber Diet

There are numerous health benefits to be gained from consuming a diet high in fiber on a regular basis, provided the recommended amount is not exceeded. What is now known regarding a high fiber diet includes:

Bowel Regularity

A diet that is high in fiber helps to make your stool soft, bulky, and regular, which decreases your chance of developing hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, and colon cancer.

Cholesterol and Reduced Triglycerides

Soluble fibers have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels when used regularly. Psyllium husk and prebiotic soluble fiber, in particular, have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and the incidence of coronary heart disease. Foods rich in soluble fiber include oats, flax seeds, and legumes or beans.

Colon Polyps and Cancer

There is still some debate over whether or not a high-fiber diet can help to prevent colon cancer, but there is a significant amount of research that suggests that it may in fact have this effect. One reason why this may be the case is that a high-fiber diet can help to make bowel movements more regular, and thus reduce the amount of time that carcinogens have to spend in the colon. Additionally, reducing the amount of meat in your diet can also have a positive effect, as doing so lowers the level of bile that flows from the liver, and bile is known to contain carcinogens. Finally, a diet high in fiber (including prebiotic soluble fiber) can help to improve the health of the colon wall, and this also may decrease the risk of cancer.

Colon Wall Integrity

A Diet high in fiber changes the bacterial make-up of the colon to a more favorable balance. It is known that people with obesity, diabetes type 2, and inflammatory bowel disease have a predominance of bad bacteria in the colon. This, in turn, may render the bowel wall weak and allow bacteria and, indeed, even toxins to seep through. A high fiber diet with a modest reduction in animal and meat products may return the bacterial make-up to a more positive balance. This, in particular, has been seen when the soluble fiber prebiotics are added to the diet.

Blood Sugar

text Soluble fiber helps regulate blood sugar by slowing the absorption of sugar. Insoluble fiber is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Weight Loss

A diet rich in fiber is more filling and satisfying than a diet based on meat. This is because soluble fibers found in plants can help regulate hormones that make you feel full, while also reducing the production of hunger hormones in the gut.

A recent medical study has found that overweight people have a different type of bacteria in their colon which causes them to absorb more calories. Prebiotic fibers can help to change this and improve the situation.

Bacteria and the Function of the Colon

The colon’s job is to finish the digestive process. Ideally, waste products will move through the colon in a regular way. Insoluble fibers help with this process by retaining water and making stool softer and easier to pass.

The role of the colon is to provide a home for an enormous number of micro-organisms, mostly bacteria. Recent research has shown that there are over 1,000 species of bacteria with a total bacterial count of ten times the number of cells in the body. These bacteria play a major role in keeping the colon wall itself healthy. In addition, these good bacteria produce a very strong immune system for the body. They significantly increase calcium absorption and bone density. They provide other documented benefits. It is the soluble fibers in the diet that are so effective in stimulating the growth of good colon bacteria.

How Much is Enough?

The amount of fiber in food is measured by the amount of grams it contains. The amount of fiber recommended by national nutritional authorities varies depending on the amount of grams consumed daily.

Under Age 50 Over Age 50

Men 38 grams 30 grams

Women 25 grams 21 grams

High Fiber Foods You Should Eat

Pears (3.1 grams)

Pears are also a good source of antioxidant vitamins C and K. Pears are a popular fruit because they are both tasty and nutritious. One of the best sources of fiber, pears are also a good source of antioxidant vitamins C and K.

A medium-sized, raw pear contains 5.5 grams of fiber or 3.1 grams per 100 grams.

Strawberries (2 grams)

Strawberries are a delicious, nutritious choice that can be eaten fresh.

Did you know that strawberries are not only delicious but also packed full of nutrients like vitamin C and manganese? They also contain powerful antioxidants. Why not add some to your next banana strawberry smoothie?

A cup of fresh strawberries contains 3 grams of fiber, or 2 grams per 100 grams.

Avocado (6.7 grams)

The avocado is a fruit that is high in healthy fats and low in carbs.

There are many delicious avocado recipes that are also healthy because avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals.

The average avocado contains 10 grams of fiber.

Apples (2.4 grams)

Apples are delicious fruits that are also high in fiber.

We especially like them in salads.

A medium sized raw apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber or 2.4 grams per 100 grams.

Raspberries (6.5 grams)

Raspberries are nutritious and have a strong flavor. They’re high in vitamin C and manganese.

Try blending some into this raspberry tarragon dressing.

One cup of raw raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber. This equals 6.5 grams per 100 grams.

Bananas (2.6 grams)

Bananas are a good way to get vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium.

If you’re looking for a source of both protein and fiber, consider adding green bananas to your diet. These unripe fruits are high in resistant starch, a type of indigestible carbohydrate that has similar health benefits to fiber. One simple way to enjoy green bananas is to add them to a nut butter sandwich.

The amount of fiber in a medium-sized banana is 3.1 grams, or 2.6 grams per 100 grams.

Carrots (2.8 grams)

The carrot is a root vegetable that is often eaten raw, as it is crunchy and has a sweet taste. Carrots are also very nutritious, containing high levels of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

This food is rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Beta Carotene, an antioxidant that is converted into Vitamin A in the body.

Toss some diced carrots into your next veggie-loaded soup.

Carrots contain 3.6 grams of fiber per cup, or 2.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

Beets (2.8 grams)

Beets are a root vegetable that contains a high amount of nutrients such as folate, iron, copper, manganese, and potassium.

Beets are high in inorganic nitrates, which have been shown to improve blood pressure regulation and exercise performance.

Beets contain 3.8 grams of fiber per cup, or 2.8 grams per 100 grams.

Broccoli (2.6 grams)

Broccoli is a nutrient-dense vegetable that belongs to the cruciferous family.

This fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, B vitamins, potassium, iron, and manganese. Additionally, it contains antioxidants and cancer-fighting nutrients.

Broccoli is a vegetable that contains a high amount of protein, compared to most other vegetables. We enjoy transforming broccoli into a slaw that can be used for various purposes.

One cup of this food contains 2.4 grams of fiber or 2.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

Artichoke (5.4 grams)

The artichoke is a vegetable that is high in many nutrients. It is one of the world’s best sources of fiber.

Just wait until you try them roasted.

The average artichoke contains 6.9 grams of fiber, or 5.4 grams per 100 grams.

Brussels sprouts (3.8 grams)

The Brussels sprout is a vegetable that is related to broccoli and is part of the cruciferous family.

They are very high in vitamins and minerals that are known to be important in cancer prevention.

You should definitely try roasting Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon or drizzling them with balsamic vinegar.

A cup of raw Brussels sprouts contains 3.3 grams of fiber, or 3.7 grams per 100 grams.

Lentils (7.3 grams)

Lentils are very inexpensive and one of the most healthy foods. They contain a high amount of protein and are packed with several essential nutrients.

This lentil soup has cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon added to it for extra flavor.

Lentils contain 13.1 grams of dietary fiber per cup of cooked lentils, or 7.3 grams per 100 grams.

Kidney beans (6.8 grams)

Kidney beans are a popular type of legume. Like other legumes, they’re a good source of plant-based protein and various nutrients.

1 cup of cooked beans contains 12.2 grams of fiber, while 100 grams contains 6.8 grams.

Chickpeas (7 grams)

Chickpeas are a type of legume that contains a lot of nutrients, such as minerals and protein.

Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, which is a spread that is very easy to make at home. You can put it on salads, vegetables, whole grain toast, and more.

Chickpeas contain 12.5 grams of fiber per cup when cooked, or 7.6 grams per 100 grams.

Quinoa (2.8 grams)

A pseudo-cereal is a food that is consumed in the same way as cereal grains, even though it is not actually a cereal grain. Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal that has become popular among health-conscious people in recent years.

Avocados are full of nutrients like protein, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium, as well as antioxidants.

Quinoa contains 5.2 grams of fiber per cup, or 2.8 grams per 100 grams.

The Bottom Line

Eating foods high in fiber may help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and constipation.

Most people don’t eat the recommended amount of fiber which is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.

You can increase your fiber intake by adding some of the above foods to your diet.

 

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About Rhoda ...

Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

She is the creator of the Elegant Eating Solution, an affordable program that helps women avoid weight regain and feel great about themselves, without restrictive eating.

Elegant Eating is based on the science of protein leverage and follows the unique R.E.M.A.P approach to successful aging.

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