You may perhaps already be aware that fiber is important in your food. But the real question is - are you consuming enough fiber? Chances are that you may not be taking enough of this vital ingredient in your daily diet if we go by the disturbing statistics.
According to a study published in July 2017, average consumption of fiber by an american adult was 17g which is less than half the actual requirement.
This low dietary consumption of fiber is alarming and is the cause of many avoidable conditions such as heart diseases and diabetes.The answer is to consume more fiber rich foods such as fruits and vegetables in place of fatty junk foods.
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- Makes digestion process smooth by making easy bowel movements
- Controls blood sugar
- Lowers cholesterol
- Reduces weight and keeps it under controls
- Helps absorption of vitamins and minerals
Interestingly fiber is one such important dietary element which is required by the body but doesn't get absorbed by the body nor it stays there. It gets into your body, does its job and gets excreted with your stool.
Fibers are two different types and both are required to make smooth bowel movements. Some food items have both types of fibers in abundance and the other food items are rich in one of them. That is why it is important to eat a variety of food to not only get enough fiber of both types but also get other important elements such as vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients.
The following 2 different types of fiber work differently in your body.
The main difference between soluble and insoluble fibers is the way they help in the digestion process. Both are important.
Soluble Fiber - It is soluble in water and absorbs water to form a soft gel inside the digestive system. It softens your stools to easily pass through the gastrointestinal tract. It also binds sugar and cholesterol so that their absorption is reduced and slowed down. Which means soluble fiber protects you from heart diseases and diabetes. It also makes you feel full so you don't over eat. That means your weight is also maintained and you don't gain weight unnecessarily. Oats, beans, peas, barley, avocados and some other fruits are good sources of soluble Fiber.
Insoluble Fiber - insoluble Fiber is also popularly known as roughage. It doesn't dissolve in water but it absorbs water. It helps to add bulk to the stools. As a result the stools pass and conditions like constipation are avoided. Constipation is the root cause of hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and colon cancer. Whole grains, nuts and many fruits and vegetables are good sources of income to let fiber. Stalks, skins and seeds of these fruits and vegetables are generally rich in insoluble fiber.
Fiber rich foods are all plant based foods. They include fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes and beans.
The list of fruits rich in fiber is big but the following 7 fruits are the most common fruits available everywhere. The fiber content given here is for 100 grams serving of each fruit.
- Avocadoes - 6.7 grams
- Raspberries - 6.5 grams
- Guavas - 5.4 grams
- Blackberries - 5.3 grams
- Pomegranates - 4 grams
- Pears - 3.1 grams
- Bananas - 2.6 grams.
Add these 7 high fiber vegetables in your daily diet. There are many more and you can take any you like. Important is to make sure you have enough fiber in your food.
Fiber content of 100 grams of Vegetables
Artichokes - 8.6 grams
Collard greens cooked - 4 grams
Brussels sprouts - 3.8 grams
Kale - 3.6 grams
Broccoli - 3.3 grams
Sweet Potatoes - 3.3 grams
Okra - 3.2 grams
Most of the whole grains legumes and beans are rich in fiber. Following are 7 most popular grains, legumes and beans in terms of their fiber contents per 100 grams serving in cooked forms.
Soybeans - 17.7 grams
Navy Beans - 10.5 grams
Split Peas - 8.3 grams
Lentils - 7.9 grams
Pearl Barley - 3.8 grams
Quinoa - 2.8 grams
Brown rice - 1.8 grams
In addition to these there are nuts like almonds, cashew, pistachio and walnuts and seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and watermelon seeds which give you high fiber.
So don't restrict yourself these 21 popular foods. There are hundreds of other food items who provide fiber to you. In fact almost all plant based foods have some quantity of fiber in it. It is important to consume fiber consciously so that you are not part of that statistics which has a lack of fiber in their food.
Fiber is good and has no negative side effects if consumed in the right amounts daily. However,too much consumption of any good thing can be bad. So is true for fiber.
Very high consumption of fiber can produce the following side effects
- Food will be rushed through the digestive system and excreted fast. This means absorption of vitamins and minerals will reduce that is not good for overall health.
- You will feel bloated, gases will be formed and feeling of unease will set in.
- You may face cramping
All these are temporary discomforts when you occasionally exceed your daily limits.
So keep your fiber intake in limits.
Fiber will make you healthy, help you to feel better and develop you to live longer.
Ensure that you have enough fiber in your daily diet.
- Increase your fruits and vegetables consumption
- Add legumes and beans to your diet
- Reduce eating junk food
- Drink enough water
Once you change your food habits to include enough fiber then you will feel good and stay healthy.