- increased metabolism
- anti aging
- better cholesterol levels
- less food cravings
- weight loss
- improved complexion
- reduced risk of deadly diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease
This magical food is called fiber and medical research is in full agreement about the amazing benefits of fiber. Some of the research references about health benefits of fiber are given below:
- Associations Between Dietary Fiber and Inflammation, Hepatic Function, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Older Men
- Health benefits of dietary fiber
- Health benefits and practical aspects of high-fiber diets
- Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits
These are only some of the research references published in the world’s top medical journals that all agree on the health benefits of eating high fiber foods. In this article we are going to take a closer look on why we need fiber in food, are we getting enough fiber, best high fiber foods list and also how fiber and weight loss are related to each other.
Health Benefits of Fiber
To begin with when you do not have enough fiber in your diet, you can start seeing some unwanted digestive health issues. You might see that you are in a constant battle with constipation. And when you need to stress to get bowel movement, it can cause fissures or hemorrhoids.
And aprt from that, you are also exposed to quite deadly and scary health risks without eating enough fiber. You chances of having colon cancer are increased if you are not having enough fiber in your food. Fiber is nature’s medicine for keeping good bowel movements.
Fiber acts as stool softener and this will help in keeping constipation away from you. And along with this your chances of getting colon cancer are also reduced on a high fiber diet.
Less fiber intake in your diet also can lead to other problems aside from the digestive tract issues. Fiber is an excellent inflammation fighter and since it can reduce body inflammation, it reduces chances of many inflammation related diseases.
Your blood cholesterol levels are also affected negatively if you do not eat enough fiber. This also causes spike in your bad cholesterol levels and this puts you at risk of develop coronary heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke.
Eating high fiber foods keeps your heart in good health and it also helps lower your blood pressure. And if you are struggling with weight loss, then it might also be the result of you not eating enough fiber.
Those who do not eat enough high fiber foods are more likely to gain weight. The main reason being that fiber helps keep you feel fuller for longer duration of time and resultantly you eat less, which is not the case if you are not eating fiber rich foods.
Another benefit of eating high fiber diet is that you eat less calories but still eating a lot more food. This is very helpful in controlling food cravings when you want to eat a lot without filling yourself with empty calories.
Eating more food with less calories is an ideal solution for your plan to lose weight quickly. And since you will feel full, your chances of craving for snacks will also be decreased.
By eating the right amount of fiber daily, you can regulate your blood glucose levels. Foods which are rich in fiber can help prevent the quick surges in blood sugar levels.
High fiber foods not only keep blood sugar spikes in check but these are also known to let type 2 diabetes from occurring in the first place. The benefits of fiber in case of a painful disease called diverticulitis are also well known.
Are We Getting Enough Fiber?
With all these benefits of high fiber foods, the next question is: Are we getting the right amount of fiber in our daily diet? The answer is No because majority of us are not taking in the minimum recommended fiber in our daily diet. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends the daily minimum of 38 grams of fiber for men and 25 grams for women under age of 50 years. For those aged above 50, the minimum of daily fiber requirement is 30 grams and 21 grams for men and women respectively.
But most of us are not getting this minimum fiber that has so many health benefits. According to University of California Medical Center, american adults are currently eating only about 15 grams of fiber per day.
So given all the benefits of dietary fiber, it is definitely worth it to increase your daily fiber intake to the minimum requirement and our best 20 high fiber foods list will help you achieve that minimum.
Top 20 High Fiber Foods List
There are many ways which you can use to add fiber to your daily diet and most of these are easy to make and simple changes to your diet which you can right now.
In breakfast switch from cereals without fiber to the ones that have it. The best bet is to find bran cereals or the other ones which have at least four grams of fiber per serving in it. And if you are the one who does not like the taste of the cereals which are rich in fiber, then you can make your own morning cereal full of fiber by mixing your favorite cereal with the one that has higher fiber content.
If you like hot cereals over cold one as your morning breakfast, then oatmeal is a very good source of fiber. You can further increase the uptake of fiber in your cereal by adding raisins to it.
Do ensure that your daily diet includes enough fruits because these are among the best sources of soluble fiber. A good example fruit with high fiber is apple.
If you regularly have your afternoon snack then make these high fiber snacks for that time. For example, some of the possible options are carrots, broccoli, assorted berry types fruits like raspberries and popcorn etc. There are also other ways to replace your daily snacking food with some better alternatives like crackers. In short, go for fiber rich foods as snacks. One excellent option could be to choose those crackers which are not made from white flour.
Adding fiber to your daily diet does not at all mean that you have to say goodbye to all of your favorite foods that you are currently eating. Rather, you can think of ways by which you can add fiber to the foods which you like. For example, if you eat vegetables, then mix two or three vegetables with high fiber content together.
One example might be a vegetable mix of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. All of these three vegetables are full of fiber. In fact, you can add high fiber foods to soups, casseroles or salads too because this will ensure that you keep eating your favorite foods and still getting minimum daily fiber requirement.
You can still enjoy your hamburger but just add a high fiber beans when you are making your burger. In fact, you will still be able to taste the same great hamburger you like without noticing any major change in taste.
Change your diet from white food to brown food. Go for brown rice and stay away from white rich. Brown rice has 3.5 grams of fiber whereas in comparison white rice has only .06 grams. When in the grocery, choose wheat pastas, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pitas and tortillas because all these are in the high fiber foods list.
When making a sandwich, spruce it up by introducing fiber to by with dark leafy greens. Another option could to be use avocado slices. Avocado is a magical food which has 10 grams of fiber in one cup of serving.
If you find it difficult and boring to eat fiber in your diet, then there are some fun ways to help you start getting enough of fiber in your diet. For example, take it as a challenge to eat more fiber in your diet.
Push yourself in finding how you can increase your fiber intake in your food. Do keep in mind that creativity is a good away of keeping yourself away from getting bored with your daily meals. Before picking up your foods, make it a habit to compare their nutrition facts and chose the one that has higher amount of fiber.
Some other high fiber foods are black-eyed peas, whole grains, sweet potatoes, okra, legumes, and corn. And if you are looking for high fiber fruits then you may like oranges, raisin, bananas and prunes.
High Fiber Foods and Weight Loss
One of the most difficult things to handle in losing weight is the sever hunger cravings which hit whenever you are trying to shed some pounds. Despite all yoru commitments and intentions, hunger pangs and food cravings will start hitting you hard the moment you try to change your eating lifestyle.
But there is a very solid reason why this happens when anybody tries to lose weight. Food cravings and hunger pangs hit you hard because only good intentions are not enough when you are going for how to lose weight fast.
The real ability to control these start in the brain. It is your brain which plays a big role and can help you lose weight when you eat enough fiber. So how higher fiber foods and weight loss are linked? It is because the hypothalamus is part of the brain which consumption of fiber influences.
And hypothalamus is that part of the brain which controls your hunger. One research study showed that there is a strong link between the fiber percentage in diet and how brain reacts to hunger.
What actually happens is that fiber produces acetate and this is a compound which affects the way how brain responds to hunger and how it is controlled by brain. High fiber foods are natural appetite suppressants because production of acetate releases hunger suppressing hormones.
And when you eat foods from the above high fiber foods list, you will see that you will have more control over your hunger. And this will keep you away from mindless eating because you will not be feeling hungry and it will also give you control over your portion sizes.
Fiber Reduces Belly Fat
There is one more added bonus to make you think of adding more fiber to your diet. Research has shown that there is a direct link between the belly fat a person carries and the amount of fiber a person eats.
The belly fat is called visceral fat and this is also the same type of unhealthy fat which can also accumulate around your internal body organs and cause serious health issues. Perhaps you have heard the term “fatty liver” – which is an example of how this unhealthy visceral fat seriously affect your internal organs.
Those who do not eat fiber rich diet are more likely to carry belly fat than those people who eat enough dietary fiber. It is possible to decrease the belly fat or the visceral fat in your body by increasing your daily fiber intake by as little as 10 grams a day.
High fiber foods are nature’s own medicine to fight obesity because when you eat these, your body stores less visceral fat. There are many people who take fiber supplements or fiber powers to ensure that they are getting the minimum fiber requirements of the body.
This is surely an option but the best way to increase your fiber intake is by taking naturally occurring fiber rich foods and give a boost your fiber intake. And one simple method of doing this is by focusing on whole foods.
Generally speaking, more natural a food is, higher will be its fiber content and it will be better for your health and body.
Are there any side effects of Fiber
You might notice a few mild side effects when you will initially switch to high fiber foods. But it is quite normal and these mild side effects of fiber are expected. one way to manage this is by gradually increasing your fiber intake. Because if you suddenly increase your fiber percentage, you may feel a little bloated or there might be a sense of fullness. You might also notice painful gas pains or abdominal cramping associated with fiber. But all this will soon go away as you continue your progress to a healthier way of eating by switching to high fiber foods.