What if you were to find out that there was a magical pill that promised to help you feel fuller longer, lose weight, make your skin clearer and brighter, help you lose weight, keep your cholesterol in-check and lower your risk of developing serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes? You’d probably be extremely excited and make it part of your daily regiment, no matter what the cost.
Well, the bad news is that there isn’t a pill that can do all of this (sorry to burst your bubble;) however, there is good news: there is an ingredient that you can consume that will do all of the above-mentioned things. What is it? – Fiber!
Fiber is found in many different foods, and it provides some pretty awesome health benefits. It’s best known for its ability to regulate the digestive system and ease constipation, but that’s not all fiber does: it also maintains a healthy weight, lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, it can do wonders for your complexion and it even has the power to increase your life expectancy. Pretty amazing, right?
You’ve probably heard of fiber before, but you may not really understand what it is. Also called bulk or roughage, dietary fiber is the parts of plant-based foods that your body isn’t able to digest or absorb. Unlike proteins, fats and carbohydrates, the parts of food that your body can digest and absorb, fiber passes through your digestive system pretty much intact. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. The former dissolved in water, creating a gel-like substance and helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels. The latter is helps other materials that you eat move through the digestive tract and boost the bulk of your stool, which is why it can help to ease constipation and promote regular bowel movements.
The recommended daily intake for fiber in men is between 30 and 38 grams, and for women, it’s between 21 and 25 grams, which isn’t really a lot. The sad thing is, however, that many people aren’t getting the amount of fiber that the need. There’s a simple way to increase your fiber intake: consume more foods that are high in fiber. There are a lot of foods that are rich in fiber, and here’s a look at 20.
Raspberries offer a pleasant tart, yet sweet taste, and they also offer a nice amount of fiber. Just one cup of raspberries has about 8 grams of fiber, and along with other nutritional benefits, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate. Snack on a cup of raspberries for a mid-afternoon snack, add it to your breakfast smoothie, mix it in with some yogurt or add it into a parfait. You could even add raspberries to a salad for an unexpected touch of sweetness.
Though the fiber content of avocados does vary depending on the type, all offer about 10.5 grams per slice.
Add to the fiber content the fact that avocados are also packed with some pretty important nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and folate, and they are definitely a great addition to your diet.
Scoop out the pit and eat the meat right out of the skin, or slice it up and use it to top a salad or a sandwich. You could also mash it up into a tasty spread.
This fruit offers about 7.2 grams of fiber per cup, as well as manganese, omega-6 fatty acids, folate and selenium; no wonder its popularity is soaring. There are so many ways that you can add coconut to your diet, too, which makes it a great way to up your fiber intake.
You can crack open a coconut and enjoy the meat of the fruit, add grated coconut to salads or baked goods, drink the water from the fruit, or use coconut oil in any dishes that require oil.
A medium artichoke offers more than 10 grams of fiber. It also offers plenty of valuable nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium.
It’s also low in calories and offers a great taste. There are so many ways that you can enjoy artichokes: you can stuff them, add them to salads and pastas or use them as a topping for a sandwich.
5. Dried Figs
These sweet fruits offer about 14.6 grams of fiber in just one cup, which is pretty impressive. What else is impressive is the fact that they offer an even amount of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Other beneficial nutrients that these fruits offer including potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid.
Enjoy a snack of dried figs for an afternoon pick-me-up, sprinkle them on top of your ice cream, or enjoy them as a topping for cake. No matter how you eat dried figs, you’ll definitely bring up your fiber levels.
A cup of cooked green peas will add about 8.6 grams of fiber to your diet, most of which is the insoluble type. Peas also contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin, manganese, folate and protein. They’re also packed with antioxidants and offer anti-inflammatory properties, too.
Lightly steam up a cup full of peas for a yummy side dish (you can add a pad of low-fat organic butter to them and a touch of salt and pepper, if you’d like.) You can also make pea soup, pea stew and add them to just about every casserole, pasta dish and salad under the sun.
They really one of the most versatile fiber-rich foods available.
7. Acorn Squash
A great source of fiber, a baked acorn squash serves up about 9 grams per cup. Other valuable nutrients that this veggie provides include vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese and thiamin.
You can simply slice it open, remove the seeds, bake it and eat it just like that, or you can roast it, if you prefer. You can also use acorn squash as a substitute for starches, including white potatoes and even pasta. They also add a nice flavor to various types of types.
You’ll get about 8.2 grams of fiber when you eat just one cup of okra. You’ll also add thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc, protein, niacin and various other nutrients to your diet. You can steam it and eat it just as is, or you can add it into a soup or a stew.
You can also mash up okra, or even fry it (though frying it will remove some of the nutritional value, but if you do opt to fry it, make sure you use a healthy oil, such as coconut.)
If you enjoy a bitter taste, than you will definitely enjoy turnips; and you’ll add fiber to your diet, too. A ½ cup serving size of turnips has nearly 5 grams of fiber, as well as calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
You can dice turnips up and eat them raw on top of a salad, or you can cook them and mash them up, or add them to soups and stews. Do some experimenting to see how you like them the best.
10. Brussels Sprouts
Offering nearly 8 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber per cup, Brussels sprouts are a great addition to your diet. They are also packed with other valuable nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, as well as manganese and folate.
Steam up some Brussels sprouts for a tasty side dish. Mix them with some honey Dijon dressing for a lovely taste combination. You can also add them to salads and pastas, or use them as a pizza topping!