Fiber is a cornerstone of a healthy diet, and making sure to consume more high-fiber foods can really help you lose weight.
This is because fiber keeps us feeling full and helps to regulate blood sugar levels, meaning that we’re less likely to give into temptation due to cravings and hunger pangs.
In addition, being sure to get plenty in your diet can also reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease.
However, just as many of us are missing out on essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, reports show that fiber consumption is at an all-time low, with less than 3% of Americans meeting the recommended intake.
Here we explain the benefits of eating fiber, plus we run through the top 10 most fiber-packed foods.
The Benefits Of Eating Fiber
Fiber is something that the body needs to function properly, although the body never actually digests it.
Fiber comes in two varieties, soluble and insoluble, and most plant-based foods contain a mixture of the two.
Soluble fiber slows digestion and helps to lower cholesterol and blood glucose, helping to keep your metabolism running smoothly as your body is busy processing the fiber content, which also keeps hunger at bay for several hours.
Insoluble fiber helps to facilitate bowel movements. Not eating enough fiber, therefore, can worsen constipation, but eating too much isn’t a good thing either as then foods are passed through the body too quickly, meaning that fewer minerals are absorbed from food.
The ideal amount of fiber daily for those under the 50s is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, while those over 50s need less – 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women.
The Top 10 Sources Of Fiber
Here are some of the best sources of fiber and how to incorporate them into your diet.
15.6 grams per cup, cooked
While split peas have slightly more fiber per cup, lentils take less cooking time and are more versatile than other legumes.
Plus, they’re a great source of protein. As a complex carbohydrate, they have the added benefit of helping to increase the brain’s production of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, helping boost your mood.
Lentils are also high in folate, which is an important mood-boosting B vitamin, as well as iron which means more energy and a faster metabolism.
A great way to include lentils in your diet is to use them in homemade soups and stews – to make them easier to digest, soak them for a few hours before cooking.
Or, to take advantage of their meaty taste, add lemon juice, cilantro and walnuts and turn them into juicy patties!
Other high-fiber pulses include black beans and lima beans, with 15 grams per cup and 13.2 grams per cup, respectively.
10.3 grams per medium vegetable, cooked
Perhaps it’s their prickly appearance, but artichokes don’t often feature in many kitchens, despite packing in more fiber per serving than any other veggies on the list.
To benefit from their cholesterol-reducing properties, try them roasted with lime, garlic, and black pepper.
8.8 grams per cup, cooked
Peas contain a lot of fiber and are the vegetable with the most protein; and can easily be added to soups, stews, and pasta for an easy way to make your meals more filling.
Pea and ham soup is particularly tasty and super warming for the colder months of the year, and pureed peas with mint also make a great accompaniment to fish dishes.
8 grams per cup, raw
We’re sure you won’t need much convincing to eat more raspberries since they’re so delicious, but they do pack in a good amount of fiber and plenty of antioxidants and vitamins.
Frozen raspberries are really convenient, and they make great snacks as they’re like mini popsicles.
Plus, they’re the perfect addition to any smoothie – try them with other frozen berries, such as blackberries, and just add unsweetened almond milk and a splash of pineapple fruit juice for a super quick berry blast.
5. Bran Flakes
7 grams per cup, raw
Add some of those raspberries to your bran flakes for breakfast, and you’ve got yourself a super fiber hit before the day has barely begun.
6. Whole Grain Pasta
6.3 grams per cup, cooked
Indistinguishable from white pasta in terms of taste but much better for you in terms of nutrients, whole grain pasta is perfect for bakes and salads.
For an extra fiber hit, mix in veggies to some whole grain pasta at lunch, and you’ll be full for hours – great for avoiding the afternoon snack attack!
6.7 grams per half, raw
Avocados really do deserve the title of ‘superfood’ as they’re jam-packed with vitamins, healthy fats, and fiber.
If you’re a fan of avocados, then you’ll probably want to include them in everything, but in case you’re new to this versatile fruit.
They work especially well in salads to add a contrasting creaminess, can be mashed with condiments for some homemade guacamole, or just eaten on toast.
Remember that avocados are high in calories, though, so try not to eat more than half of one per day at the very most.
5.5 grams per medium fruit
If you feel like a change from apples, try a pear and get more fiber per serving too – but remember, just as with apples and potatoes, to get the most fiber from pears, you need to eat the skin.
5.1 grams per cup, cooked
Like peas, broccoli combines protein and fiber, so it keeps you feeling fuller for longer – perfect for helping suppress your appetite and stop you from mindless snacking while you’re losing weight.
If years of having to eat soggy broccoli as a child put you off this versatile veggie, then try it in a stir fry to appreciate its natural crunchiness.
4 grams per cup, cooked
Thanks to the magic of fiber, participants in a study found that a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast left them feeling more satisfied and less hungry than those who ate the same amount of calories in cereal.
And oatmeal is a perfect base for adding protein-rich nuts and seeds, metabolism-boosting cinnamon, or your choice of fruit.
Fiber is essential for good health and plays an important role in your ability to lose weight; by adding more fiber to your diet, you will keep hunger at bay for longer, regulate blood sugar levels, and boost your metabolism to give you more energy.
However, if you need a little extra help, then we recommend Phen Caps to help suppress appetite and boost energy levels, so you can give your new regime the kick-start it needs as you start adopting healthy eating habits such as eating more fiber.