Dietary fiber or roughage is the indigestible part of plant foods which has two main components. (Here comes the boring part) First is the soluble fiber which is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active by-products. The second one is the insoluble fiber which is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it moves through the digestive system, easing defecation.
It is important in maintaining our overall health because it helps the food move through our digestive system, absorbs water and maintain regular bowel movements. The good news (now the more interesting part) is that it is present in almost all edible plants such as grains, fruits, and vegetables but not all of them are the same. And if the plant is rich in fiber, it can be eaten directly or can be used to make supplements and fiber-rich processed foods. Some are specifically aimed for cleaning out our gastrointestinal tract, and others combine toxins and fats, cleansing the entire body.
Adding foods rich in fiber to your diet is an important aspect of overall health and it should be done gradually over a period of weeks. I have here seven foods that are high in fiber which you can add to your diet along with plenty of water.
Avocado contains more than 3 grams of dietary fiber which is the highest concentration of fiber among the popular fruits and has many nutritional benefits. You can eat it raw and sprinkle some lemon juice or with favorite seasoning. Putting a little paprika or balsamic vinegar if you want to add a little twist on the taste is a good idea. You can also pair it with chips or vegetable sticks (like carrot, cucumber, red pepper & celery) by dicing it or mashing the avocado to make one fantastic dip (add a de-seeded tomato & some chili – yummy). Another one is to slice it up and create your own avocado salad and salad dressing.
Apples are rich in soluble fiber called pectin, which is found primarily in the skin of the fruit. It absorbs water from the digestive tract, and the result is a bulk-forming fiber which aids in the normalization of stools. Apples are affordable, versatile, and tasty food that can be transformed into a wide variety of healthy and delicious snacks, beverages and meals.
Bran is used to enrich breads and breakfast cereals especially for those wishing to increase intake of dietary fiber. It can also be used for pickling. Bran is a rich source of fiber which has up to 20 grams per cup. There are types of bran which are wheat, corn and oat bran. Raw bran may not appeal to all tastes but can be replaced with high bran cereals which can be easily added to your diet.
Berries such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries are fantastic sources of fiber. With just one serving of raspberry, you can get more than 8 grams of fiber, and with just a serving of blackberry, you can get more than 7 grams of fiber. Aside from that, it can also reduce cholesterol levels..
Legumes such as kidney beans, soybeans, lima beans, black beans, as well as flax seeds, peanuts, cashews, lentils are rich in fiber. They can be paired with other foods such as rice to create a healthy meal. Flax seeds are best ground (as they don’t digest whole) and sprinkled over salads, cereals & vegetables.
Collard greens (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, savoy, and chinese kale), green beans, spinach, broccoli and most other green vegetables are just some of the invaluable source of fiber and are also rich in other nutrients.
Fiber is very useful for maintaining our overall health not only because it helps clean our digestive tract and maintain bowel movements, it also facilitates weight loss and aids in the prevention of cancer, diabetes, diverticular disease and other digestive disorders. Eating these foods mentioned above to ensure regular intake of fiber will be of great benefit to your long-term health.