Does your diet include enough of fiber? Are you aware of the importance of fiber in your diet? Dietary fiber or roughage is an indispensable part of nutrition, providing you with multiple health benefits. This nutrient is vital for speedy digestion and proper functioning of the digestive tract. It speeds up digestion by feeding beneficial gut bacteria. Certain fiber helps to prevent constipation by absorbing water in the digestive tract. It also changes the absorption pattern of other nutrients and chemicals in the body.
Deficiency of fiber can lead to hemorrhoids, constipation, and high cholesterol and sugar in the blood. A healthy digestive system is the key to the maintenance of overall health. Regular consumption of fiber-rich foods is a must for the maintenance of a healthy digestive system. Moreover, to lose weight, you should increase the intake of fiber-rich foods as they provide a feeling of fullness and you are less likely to feel hungry after short intervals.
According to nutritionists, the daily intake of fiber should be 25 grams for women and 35 to 40 grams for men. This requirement can be easily fulfilled with various kinds of fiber-rich foods. It is also advisable to consider different types of fiber we consume. Dietary fiber includes several types of plant-based substances that are needed for the healthy functioning of the body. The best way is to increase the consumption of fiber-rich whole foods rather than the ones that contain added fiber.
Also Read: 25 Amazing Foods That Are Rich In Fiber
Top Ten Fiber-Rich Foods:
1. Bran (Corn)
Bran, especially corn, is an excellent source of fiber. One cup of barn provides 60 grams of fiber, which is equivalent to a whopping 240% daily value (DV) of this nutrient. Though most of us are familiar with the yellow colored corn, it is available in other colors, which ranges from pink to blue to black, each being a good source of a combination of antioxidant nutrients. Popcorn is also an excellent source of low calorie fiber, providing 3.5 grams fiber in 3 cups serving. Other varieties of bran that are good sources of fiber include wheat bran and rice bran, each contributing 99% DV and oat bran contributing 58% DV of fiber.
2. Cauliflower and Broccoli (Raw Cauliflower)
Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are also good sources of fiber. A cup of chopped raw cauliflower provides 2 grams or 8% DV while an equal amount of cooked cauliflower provides 3 grams or 20% DV of fiber. Similarly, a cup serving of raw chopped broccoli provides 2.4 grams or 10% DV of fiber while that of cooked broccoli provides 5 grams or 20% DV of fiber. It is advisable to incorporate these veggies to fulfill your fiber requirement as well as a boost of healthy vitamins and minerals.
3. Cabbage (Raw Savoy)
Cabbage, especially raw savoy, is also a good source of fiber. One cup serving of shredded cabbage provides 2 grams or 9% DV of fiber while one cup of cooked cabbage provides 4 grams or 16% DV of this nutrient. Other varieties of cabbage that are high in fiber include red cabbage (18% DV), common cabbage (12% DV) and Chinese cabbage (8% DV). To improve your fiber intake, prepare cabbage soup or include raw cabbage in your salads.
4. Berries (Raspberries)
Among the fruits, berries are particularly high in fiber. Both ruby red and blue black raspberries are nutritional powerhouses, which are packed with antioxidants apart from fiber. A cup serving of raspberries provides 8 grams of fiber which is equivalent to 32% DV of this nutrient. Other berries that deserve attention in this respect include blackberries, gooseberries, cranberries and strawberries, providing 30%, 26%, 18% and 12% DV of fiber, respectively.
5. Leafy Greens (Cos or Romaine Lettuce)
Leafy green vegetables are considered one of the healthiest foods as they are packed with a variety of nutrients. Among the sources of fiber, Romaine lettuce tops the list. A cup of shredded Romaine lettuce provides 1 gram or 4% DV of fiber. Other green veggies containing fiber include turnip greens (7% DV), beet greens (6% DV) and spinach (7% DV). Incorporate these healthy veggies in your diet to increase your fiber intake.
Besides being low in calories, celery is also a good source of fiber. A cup of chopped celery contains 2 grams, contributing 6% of the DV of fiber. A 100 gram serving of celery contains just 16 calories. This veggie can definitely form part of a healthy diet.
7. Squash (Baked Winter Hubbard)
There are several varieties of squash most of which are good sources of dietary fiber. Winter Hubbard is the richest source with a cup serving of baked winter Hubbard providing 10 grams or 40% DV of fiber. Other varieties include acorn (36% DV), butternut (26% DV), all varieties of winter squash (23% DV), pumpkin (11% DV) and all varieties of summer squash (10% DV). This vegetable is worth being included in your diet to increase the fiber content in your diet.
The best way to boost your fiber intake is to incorporate more legumes in your diet. Among the beans, kidney beans are the richest sources of fiber with one cup serving providing 11 grams or 45% DV of this nutrient. They are also rich in fiber, iron and protein. Black beans are other rich sources with a cup serving contributing nearly 60% DV of fiber. Their rich dark color is attributed to the presence of plant pigments called flavonoids which are sources of powerful antioxidants.
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, provide nearly 50% DV of fiber. They are also rich in antioxidants. You can try adding beans to your soups, stews and salads or use them as a main ingredient in recipes. While eating fiber-rich foods like beans, it is advisable to drink a lot of water.
9. Mushrooms (Cooked White Mushrooms)
Mushrooms are another good source of fiber. A cup serving of cooked white mushrooms provides 3 grams or 14% DV of fiber. Other varieties of mushrooms that contain fiber include shitcake (12%) and portabella (11%).
10. Oranges (All Varieties)
Apart from berries, oranges are also a good source of fiber. A medium-sized orange contain 3 grams or 12% DV of fiber. It contains just 62 calories.
These are some of the best sources of fiber. Make sure not to consume excess fiber as it can lead to adverse effects like bowel obstruction, dehydration and diarrhea. When you increase your intake of fiber, you should also increase the intake of water.