Every individual is supposed to consume 28-34 grams of fiber per day (1), but most people don't really meet these needs on a daily basis. This eventually shows in your overall health, which is why we thought of jotting down a few important things about the best high-fiber foods that you can eat along with the different types of fiber and the health benefits of the same. This is because you might think that all fiber types are the same. However, each fiber type is created differently, where some are highly beneficial for your health and others can cause digestive issues in some people. So, before we give you a list of high-fiber foods, we'd like to tell you a little more about fiber.
Different Types of Fiber:
There is actually a huge variety of types of fiber that are found in foods, but it can get highly confusing to explain them all at once. Hence, we're going to simplify different types of fiber for you by telling you the two main classifications of the same i.e. soluble and insoluble fiber (2).
Soluble fiber is the kind of fiber that blends well with water in your gut which forms a gel-like substance. It has the ability to reduce blood sugar spikes and also has various metabolic health benefits (3).
Some soluble fiber types are:
- Inulin oligofructose:
Extracted from onions and byproducts of sugar production from chicory root or beets. It is also added to processed foods so as to boost fiber.
- Mucilage, beta-glucans:
This one is naturally found in beans, barley, peas, oats, oat bran, flaxseed, soybeans, bananas, apples, oranges, carrots, and berries.
- Polydextrose polyols:
Added to processed foods as a sugar substitute or bulking agent. It is made from sorbitol, dextrose, and citric acid.
Extracted from husks of Plantago ovata plant or rushed seeds. It is used in supplements, fiber drinks, and is also added to foods.
- Resistant starch:
This starch is found in plant cell walls, naturally found in oatmeal, legumes, and unripened bananas. It is also extracted and added to processed foods so as to boost fiber.
- Wheat dextrin:
This one is extracted from wheat starch and is popularly used to add fiber to processed foods.
- Pectin and gums (some pectins can be insoluble):
Naturally found in fruits, berries, and seeds. It is also extracted from citrus peel and other plants boosting fiber in processed foods.
Insoluble fiber doesn't blend easily with water and generally passes through the digestive system usually intact. Its main function is to work as a bulking agent that speeds up the passage of food and waste through your gut.
Some insoluble fiber types are:
Found naturally in rye, flax, and some vegetables.
- Cellulose, some hemicellulose:
Found in foods like brown rice, seeds, whole grains, whole wheat, nuts, etc.
Benefits of High Fiber Diet:
Now that you know enough about the different types of fiber, here are some benefits that you might not know about consuming a high-fiber diet.
1. Helps You Feel Full:
Fiber-rich foods can make you feel satiated for longer durations. This is because the fiber in food swells in your stomach like a sponge. This can help create a caloric deficit without hunger that ultimately promotes weight loss.
2. Smoothens Digestion:
Food with high fiber that includes nuts, beans, legumes, berries, whole grains, etc., can make everything you eat digest well. As mentioned above, soluble fiber blends well with water, so a high-fiber diet will help promote regular digestion and you will hardly experience constipation issues.
3. You Feel Energetic:
When you consume foods high in fiber, you won't need regular coffee breaks throughout the day. Consuming a high-fiber diet will instantly make you feel energetic as it keeps your blood glucose levels steady which provides your body with sustained energy throughout the day.
4. Your Skin Glows:
Eating high-fiber foods can soak up toxins in your blood, eliminating them through your digestive tract instead of your pores. This in turn makes your skin brighter and clearer. So make sure you consume food with high fiber like pears, broccoli, and artichokes as they are loaded with antioxidants that also help fight aging.
5. You Sleep Better:
Food good in fiber can keep your blood sugar on a more even basis to get uninterrupted sleep through the night. So make sure you amp up the fiber intake at an even pace throughout the day.
High Fiber Foods List:
After reading about the benefits of a fiber-rich diet, you'll definitely want to know about all the foods that you can consume on a daily basis. Here is a high-fiber foods list that will help you.
Lentils and other kinds of beans are the easiest way to add fiber to your daily food intake in the form of salads, soups, and stews. Beans like edamame can make for a great snack. In fact, just half a cup of shelled edamame can give you 9 grams of fiber (4).
One of the best high-fiber foods is broccoli as it also makes a great source of many other nutrients in addition to fiber. You get 2.4 grams of fiber from just one cup (5) which effectively supports the bacteria in your gut. This helps to maintain a healthy and balanced gut
Popcorn also makes it to the list of fiber-rich foods as just one cup can give you one gram of fiber. Popcorn, unbuttered, can keep you satiated for quite some time as it is a whole grain. No wonder people love snacking on popcorn, especially during movies.
One of the foods high in fiber is apples. The fruit is said to give a great boost to your fiber intake as munching on an apple can provide you with 2.4 whole grams of fiber (6). So the next time you feel hungry, make sure to munch on this crunchy fruit to get your daily intake of fiber.
5. Dried Fruits:
Dried fruits make it to the high-fiber foods list as they have the ability to drastically increase fiber intake. Dried fruits like prunes, figs, and dates are highly recommended for people who struggle with constipation occasionally. These fruits contain sorbitol - a type of sugar that can work well for your bowel and gives it more comfort. But, you need to make sure that you don't end up consuming too many dried fruits as it can make you experience cramping or diarrhoea. You can start by eating a handful of dried fruits a day to notice how you feel once they digest before you start consuming more.
Other than the best high-fiber foods, you can include peanut butter in your diet too. And not just any peanut butter. We're talking about Saffola Fittify Tasty - Dark Chocolaty - Peanut Butter as it is made from the finest quality of peanuts and is powered with the goodness of high fiber and protein. The best part about it, this peanut butter has a dark chocolaty taste that will add more taste to your otherwise basic breakfast option.
Food rich in fiber will always make you feel full for a longer time. Make sure to include the above-mentioned foods in your daily diet to gain your daily intake of fiber. However, take your time to gradually increase fiber in your diet over a few weeks as a sudden rise in fiber can lead to abdominal bloating, cramping, and intestinal gas. Drink lots of water as fiber works best when it absorbs water which makes your stool soft and bulky.
What is the recommended daily amount of fiber?
Men must aim for 30 to 38 grams of fiber a day while women need to consume 21 to 2 grams of it per day.
What are the side effects of consuming too much fiber?
Common symptoms of consuming too much fiber are:
- Stomach cramps
- Feeling extremely full
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Weight loss or weight gain
Is it possible to lose weight by eating more fiber?
When you aim to eat approximately 30 grams of fiber per day, it can help you slim down, improve your body's response to insulin and also lower your blood pressure.