Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet, and to enjoy its benefits you really need to eat healthy foods. The best high fiber foods also happen to be natural plant foods which are already well known for their own healthy attributes. Fiber itself is natural roughage which eases digestion and promotes a healthy digestive tract, and is free of calories yet adds bulk to the diet, thus satisfying hunger for longer.
Two Different Fibers
Foods contain two kinds of fibers, water soluble and water insoluble, and both types should be included in a healthy diet. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains and vegetables, and is not in itself digested, so passes through leaving essential nutrients behind. There is a link between insoluble fibers and the reduction of colon cancer.
Soluble fibers pass more quickly through the body removing the toxins from the digestive tract along the way. These fibers are found in seeds, oats, legumes and fruits. Fibers can be found in fruit and vegetable juices but these are less beneficial than eating the actual food.
The fruit which is best for fiber content is the avocado, already recognized as the most nutritious fruit of all. Berries, which boast very high antioxidants, are also high in fiber, so you can enjoy strawberries, raspberries and blueberries whilst fulfilling part of your fiber requirement.
Apples and Pears
Apples and pears are rich in fiber too, but be sure to eat the skins aswell as much fiber is stored in them. Figs and prunes have long been known to be excellent sources of roughage, and olives can be added to the list, ideal for those who prefer less sweet fruits. Fruits in general all play their part in the dietary fiber stakes.
Legumes and Beans
Legumes are packed with fiber and there are plenty of different ones to choose between, notably black beans, white beans, kidney beans, navy beans and lima beans. Lentils and chickpeas are good dietary sources of fiber too. Green beans fall into the high fiber vegetable group, along with green peas, split peas, sweet corn, artichokes, potatoes with skins on, squash, and cabbage. All other vegetables contain fiber too.
Go Nuts for Nuts
Nuts and seeds have been high on the healthy food lists for quite a while, and in addition to their other benefits which include being high in monounsaturated fats, they are also full of fiber. Almonds and pistachios have high levels, along with flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Finally if you want to make a healthy start to the day by incorporating fiber into your breakfast, oats and high fiber bran cereals make the best choice, as they really will keep you feeling satisfied for longer and reduce the propensity to snack.
If you don’t already include enough fiber in your diet then it is easy to include it by adding a selection from these high fiber foods. Do remember though that an increase in your fiber intake should always be accompanied by an adequate amount of liquid, best found in the recommended 8 glasses of water a day.
For more info about fiber and advice on intake of fruit and vegetables visit http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/f&v_cvd_diabetes.pdf