Fiber is an important part of our diets and most people simply aren’t getting enough of it. Fiber is essential to the body’s digestive system and it helps to expel toxins from the intestines and the bowels. Fiber is actually a type of carbohydrate that the body doesn’t digest, but instead, passes to help to clear out some of the unhealthy junk we’ve been eating.
The two types of fibers include soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers absorb water from the body and helps move waste. Soluble fiber is related to lowering cholesterol levels and slowing digestion, which keeps our energy levels stable and helps to control our hunger. Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation by fermenting and creating bacteria, which makes it bulky and helps to clean our digestive tract from leftovers. Ew, but yay!
The recommended daily intake of fiber for women hovers between 21 and 25 grams of fiber per day, while for men it’s 30 to 38 grams per day. Take a look at the list and see if you can find a few more ways to add fiber to your diet!
Fruit is a wonderful way to take in fiber, especially if it is a hot day outside. Keep your fridge stocked with these goodies to help cool down, satisfy that sweet tooth, and get your fiber! You’ll find that raspberries contain 8 grams per cup, a medium sized pear with the skin holds a beautiful 5.5 grams, a medium sized apple has 4.4, bananas and oranges each contain 3.1 each and a cup of halved strawberries has 3 grams. Why not mix up a fruit salad and get a bit of everything to satisfy some of those daily requirements of not only fiber, but vitamins too!
Grains, Cereals, and Pasta
Okay, so throwing it at someone’s head doesn’t really help to absorb pasta’s fiber content, but the gif was too cute to pass up. Grains, cereals, and pastas all contain a great amount of fiber to help keep us regular. Take a look at each individual package you buy to check if it’s meeting standards. The average amount for a cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti is 6.3 grams! A cup of barley that has been pearled and cooked contains 6 grams, ¾ cups of bran flakes in the morning can get you going with a fiber count of 5.3 grams, or if you’re not into cold cereal, try a cup of cooked instant oatmeal for 4 grams of fiber. Don’t forget about snack time! Just 3 cups of air popped popcorn contains 3.5 grams to keep you snacking happily and healthily.
Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
The leading group of the fiber-packed foods is legumes, nuts, and seeds. These wonderful treats really pack a punch and can easily be incorporated into most meals as a side dish, or even a base! A cup of cooked split peas can contain upwards of 16 grams of fiber! A cup of cooked lentils is close behind with 15.6 grams. Beans wonderful beans, including black beans, lima beans and vegetarian baked beans all contain anywhere from 10.4 to 15 grams of fiber per cooked cup. Seeds bring up the rear with an ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts) containing 3.5 grams and an ounce of pistachio nuts (about 48 nuts) containing a whopping 2.9 grams. Try adding some of these fiber rich foods to a dish to help meet the daily requirements!
Vegetables are always good for you! They contain vital nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. The vegetables in this post have all been cooked, but if you’re eating them raw, expect even more of an effect on your digestive system! The leaders of this group are artichokes, which each have around 10.3 grams of fiber, and green peas, which have 8.8 grams of fiber per cup! Looking to add some fiber in a side dish? Try some boiled broccoli or turnip greens which each include 5 grams per cup. Brussels sprouts and sweet corn also include up to 4.1 grams of fiber per cup and make great side dishes to any meal!
Check out the Mayo Clinic’s take on fiber or an article from the Harvard School of Public Health for more information.
Lead image source: Pawel Kuzniar/Wikimedia Commons