Handy dandy reference for fiber-rich foods

fiber in foods1

My handy dandy protein post (see that post here – click me) was well received so I decided to do a similar post except this time on fiber. I took the liberty of putting together another little reference guide above.Shockingly, research has shown that only 5% of the population is meeting their fiber needs. 5%!!! On average, people only consume 15g of fiber a day.

So what is fiber and why is it so important? Fiber, simply put, is a carbohydrate. It can

– reduce risk of diabetes (type 2)

– lower your risk of heart disease

– help with weight loss

– lower cholesterol levels

– help limit fat intake

Types of fiber
It is important to note that there are two types of fiber. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in oat bran, legumes, Psyllium, nuts, beans, pectins, and various fruits and vegetables. It forms a bulky gel in the intestine that regulates the flow of waste materials through the digestive tract. It also lowers cholesterol by preventing the reabsorption of bile acids. Bile acids are made from cholesterol, and after they aid fat digestion, fiber binds with them and escorts them out of the body. The liver then has to pull more cholesterol from the blood.

Insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water, meaning that our bodies cannot digest it. This type of fiber includes the undissolvable parts of plant walls and is found in greatest amounts in cereals, brans, and vegetables. The primary function of insoluble fiber is to collect water that increases stool bulk in the large intestine. This promotes bowel movement, and as the bulk works through the intestine, it scours the intestinal walls of waste matter, reducing the risk of colon-related problems.

How much fiber should I eat?

Women need about ~25 grams of fiber a day and men need ~38 grams a day.

What types of foods contain fiber?

Vegetables, legumes and nuts, fruits, and whole grains all contain good amounts of fiber. Examples of each include:

  • Vegetables: potato with the skin, acorn squash, mixed vegetables, carrots, broccoli, corn kernels, spinach, sweet potato with skin
  • Legumes and nuts: lentils, split peas, kidney beans, black beans, hummus, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds
  • Fruits: apple with skin, blueberries, apricots, banana, orange, strawberries, grapefruit, pear with skin
  • Grains: whole wheat spaghetti, corn tortillas, whole wheat pita, brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain granola bars, popcorn, oatmeal

Be sure to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains to ensure you are getting enough of both types of fiber in your diet.

Question of the day:

What is your favorite fiber-rich food?

As of late my favorite has been raspberries πŸ™‚


10 thoughts on “Handy dandy reference for fiber-rich foods

  1. I use bamboo leaf tea for extra fiber, it’s easy to make. pick the leaves, dry in the oven and steep in hot water. I also add dried wild orange zest and green tea bags to the blend. One cup of bamboo leaf tea contains 1 g of dietary fiber. We are drinking a couple of 20oz iced teas a day so the fiber really adds up. Your chart is a great help. I’m amazed by the amount of fiber in yummy split peas.

  2. Pingback: Product review: Gnu Foods Fiber Love bars | f00dventures

  3. For some reason, I’ve never looked at peas as being fiber rich…they are probably the only vegetable that I don’t like to eat. My favorite fiber rich foods are fruits…and from your list, it would be the orange or pear.

  4. Wow – one thing I do right, is get a lot of fiber! I adore lentils, split peas, and just about everything on this list. I’d say my favorite of the moment is chickpeas. I have finally mastered my hummus recipe, that I make from scratch, and each batch makes quite a bit, so I’m often having it any time of day or evening!

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