Fiber Foods

High Fiber Foods to eat and Weight Management

Incorporate fiber into your daily diet can help improve overall health and well-being.

A recent study of 1000 people on the amount of fiber they got from their daily diet revealed that only 10% of the people surveyed consumed 30 grams of fiber or more per day. Also, 1/3 of the people had no idea how much they were receiving.

Something else revealed in the survey showed that processed foods tend to be high in sugar, while fiber from unprocessed foods tends to vary in the “micronutrients” that we all need to get more of. Fiber has many other benefits, the important of which is helping to control hunger.

Those with lower levels of fiber tend to be hungry and constipated. Based on the results of the survey and the comments of the participants, three categories of foods that people usually consume were identified because they contain the highest amounts of fiber that exist. Also, for optimal weight loss and detoxification, aim for a goal of 50 grams of fiber per day (at least 30 grams per day is recommended).

These are the three high fiber foods to add to your diet and daily nutritional plan.

Vegetables

Vegetables are something that you should consume several cups a day (at least). They will help increase your daily fiber intake. A cup of cooked peas has about 9 grams of fiber. One cup broccoli contains 5 grams of fiber. Most vegetables are around 5 per cup. 

Fruits

There are three “energy fruits” that are rich in fiber: raspberries, which contain a whopping 8 grams of fiber per cup; Pears and apples contain about 5 grams of fiber per piece of fruit.

Beans and Lentils

A one-cup serving of black beans contains 15 grams of fiber. It is a commonly eaten bean and the easiest way to get 35 more grams of fiber per day. Chickpeas, split peas, and kidney beans are also excellent sources of fiber.

Just identify the highest-fiber foods that appeal to you and work from there.

High fiber foods are the kinds of things most people don’t think about on a regular basis, which is unfortunate, considering how much they can do for health and well-being. Adding high-fiber foods, including fiber-rich beverages, to your diet can aid digestion, promote healthy weight loss, and even reduce risks for diseases such as diabetes and cancer. With such benefits, it’s hard to imagine why more people aren’t stocking their cupboards with high-fiber foods.

What Fiber Really Does

For years we have heard claims that we are not getting enough fiber and that increasing our intake can have profound effects on our lives. However, many people don’t even understand what fiber is, let alone why eating high fiber foods are sensible.

Fiber itself is a natural substance that the body cannot digest. It is commonly found in plants. Although the fiber is chewed and becomes very small, it is not actually absorbed by the body. Instead, it moves from one end of the digestive system to the other, performing several very important jobs along the way.

  1. Foods rich in fiber take a little longer to chew, which means that they slow down the rate at which we eat. 
  2. The fiber is then ingested and reaches the stomach. While it’s here, it mixes with all other foods, slowing down the overall absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. Which means that it is absorbed in a more even rate, which keeps your blood sugar from rising and falling. As well as affecting mood and energy levels, this also helps prevent stress on the pancreas, which can lead to diabetes.
  3. The slower absorption of high-fiber foods in the stomach means that a person feels full for a longer period of time. 
  4. As the fiber continues through the digestive tract, the small particles rub against the inside of the intestines, removing accumulated waste materials. This helps prevent irritations that can cause polyps and cancer, as well as eliminate toxins that can cause all kinds of diseases.
  5. At the end of the digestive process, fiber helps pick up waste materials and remove them from the body. A combination of foods rich in fiber and good hydration ensures a healthy elimination process that keeps the body on track.

Get enough fiber

The average adult is recommended to consume between 25 and 35 grams of fiber a day, but most of us consume about half. The best source of this substance is foods rich in the fiber of natural origin, although good fiber supplements can also be used. Fiber drinks are another alternative and can make it even easier to eat the recommended daily amount of high fiber foods.

Fiber has many health benefits.

Most of us are aware of its ability to relieve constipation. Fiber’s health benefits go well beyond constipation. Fiber also helps lower bad cholesterol. It helps control blood sugar level and support healthy body weight. It may even cut high blood pressure.

  • Perhaps the biggest benefit of fiber is that it helps reduce the risk of colon cancer through normalizing bowel movement and promoting a healthy bowel. Given such benefits, no wonder we all want to and should be increasing our fiber intake.
  • But there is one immediate downside to eating fiber. In light of all the great health benefits, it can be thought of as only a minor nuisance, but still, it is a downside of eating fiber.
  • As you may know, fiber is not digested in the small intestine. Fiber is usually fermented in the large intestine by bacterial colonies there. Fermentation always creates gas as a byproduct. Fiber digestion through fermentation inevitably causes gas.

Gas 

How much gas is created and what type of gas is created depends on several factors like the type of fiber that you have consumed and the type of large bacteria in your large intestine.

Most of the time, we notice increased gas when we consume foods like beans or cabbage family of vegetables. And this increased gas doesn’t pose much of a problem for us. But many times, increase gas can lead to discomfort, bloating, and pain in the abdomen. Large amounts of gas could cause a bit of discomfort for us.

The gas produced during fermentation makes its way out of our body. We call it flatulence. Escaping gas may be odorless and may not make a sound while escaping. In such a case, flatulence is not a problem at all. But the smell and sound of gas are something extremely difficult to control. It could be smelly and can make loud sounds. This could be an embarrassing situation. Given that we live and work in relatively dense environments, flatulence could cause increasingly embarrassing situations for us once we start ramping up our fiber intake.

If you were living and working in open areas most of the time, this may not be a big problem. For example, people living in forests or open rural settings may not have much to worry about. Similarly, in some work environments, you have enough flexibility to move around such that you don’t have to be stuck among people most of the time. An example could be construction work.

Most of us live in relatively dense urban settings, where we are surrounded by people most of the time. We work in cramped small cubicles. Smelly flatulence is a particular problem for us.

Dilemma

This poses a dilemma. On the one hand, we would really like to eat healthy food with more fiber because of tremendous health benefits. But, it will always cause gas and likely discomfort and embarrassment.

In a way, this phenomenon reinforces the notion that nothing comes free. You may think that consuming large amounts of foods high in fiber will help you gain multiple benefits like reduced colon risk, reduced cholesterol, better blood sugar levels, and better weight. Not so easily. Those benefits will come with pesky gas and lots of flatulence.

It is not an argument for not eating high fiber food. The fiber benefits are invaluable. Who wouldn’t want to cut the risk of colon cancer? It would be stupid to avoid fiber just to prevent gas.

It is just that one has to be aware of the effects of eating high fiber food. There will be gas produced with high fiber food. There are steps you make to reduce the amount of gas that is produced by carefully choosing certain foods and preparing them in proper ways than consuming raw.

There are also certain types of fiber that do not ferment in the large intestine, which means they do not produce gas and still provides you with the benefits of fiber. You can choose to consume more of such foods. Each human being is unique, and what works for one may not work for others.

Scientific Weight Loss Benefits of High Fiber Foods

Many dieters who experience frequent hunger pangs and food cravings struggle to lose weight. While cravings and temptations are a common pitfall for many people, some diet experts claim that a high fiber diet can help overcome common weight loss struggles.

High-fiber foods allow consumers to experience consistent levels of energy, increased feelings of fullness, and decreased cravings for sugars, sweets, or other unhealthy snacks. In addition to these benefits, fiber foods have also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, fight problems associated with high blood pressure/sugar, reduce the risks of colon cancer, obesity, and hemorrhoids, as well as help prevent a variety of health problems and diseases.

How Much Fiber Should You Eat?

While all healthy people should strive for 30 to 40 grams of fiber per day, most Americans only consume 10 grams per day. As a result, many Americans experience difficulty losing weight, in addition to a host of other health implications.

How Fiber Helps You Lose Weight

High fiber foods help dieters lose weight due to their unique digestive properties. When consumed, fiber expands by interacting with water and digestive fluids. When the food source expands, the stomach literally begins to feel fuller. With this effect, it’s no wonder that studies support that high-fiber dieters tend to consume far fewer calories.

How to start incorporating fiber into your diet

To adhere to a high-fiber diet, people should begin by eliminating unhealthy, low-fiber foods from their daily diet. Most fast foods are completely lacking in fiber, in addition to foods with bleached flour, most prepackaged snacks, desserts, candy, and other artificial items. For example, to make white bread, white hamburger buns, and other commonly consumed foods, manufacturers actually remove whole grains from their healthy coatings, resulting in a bleached flour product that is often completely devoid of fiber. By consuming these low fiber foods, dieters will experience less fullness as they do not expand in the stomach. Added to this, these low fiber foods are digested very quickly, resulting in a harmful cycle of energy depletion and hunger.

In contrast, by consuming high-fiber foods, people will be able to maintain their energy levels and hunger signals, as these foods are simply digested much more gradually than low-fiber foods.

Natural and delicious high-fiber foods 

Dieters can enjoy a variety of natural and delicious high-fiber foods to experience a variety of health benefits. Specifically, some of the greatest sources of fiber tend to be healthy grains. Some fiber-fortified cereals can provide dieters with more than 50% of their suggested fiber intake.

Additionally, dieters can enjoy a variety of delicious high-fiber snacks by consuming fruits and vegetables. Fruits especially tend to be high in fiber, especially fruits like peaches, apples, nectarines, and other filling options. Vegetables, similarly, commonly contain a high amount of fiber. For example, the broccoli, spinach, and bean varieties are healthy and filling options.

Another alternative that can provide dieters with a healthy afternoon snack is trail mix. Since dried fruits such as raisins, cherries, and prunes are excellent high-fiber foods, most nut-fruit mix products can provide dieters with essential elements for weight loss. Similarly, the nuts and seeds in the trail mix are also typically an excellent food source of fiber.

Weight management 

  • Eating high fiber foods is essential for effective weight management and overall good health. Fiber is the plant-based foods that our body cannot digest. For this reason, fiber has several beneficial effects. 
  • High fiber foods require chewing and, therefore, slower eating, creating a feeling of fullness that occurs earlier while also keeping you feeling full for longer periods of time compared to foods with refined carbohydrates (little or no fiber). High fiber foods fill you up without filling you up.
  • Fiber helps to maintain regular bowel movements, which is very important for cleaning the body of carcinogens and other harmful compounds that build up in the intestines. A rapid removal of these compounds from the body greatly reduces the chance of developing diverticulitis and colon cancer. Fiber is also involved in fat absorption, which reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Digestibility 

The biggest benefit of eating complex carbohydrate / high fiber foods is that fiber limits the digestibility of plant starches and helps buffer natural sugars. Fiber causes the slow release of glucose into the bloodstream, causing modest, gradual increases in insulin. This is very important as, ideally, glucose and insulin should move together smoothly and within a limited range. When foods with refined carbohydrates and sugar are eaten, blood glucose and insulin levels rise dramatically and then fall spasmodically. These extreme movements are dangerous. This can lead to weight gain, along with the creation of chronic and life-threatening health conditions over time.

Unfortunately, most of the carbohydrates in today’s diet are in the form of highly refined grain products that lack fiber. White flour-based convenience products with a long shelf life are marketed as healthy products that have gained wide acceptance.

Likewise, white sugar, which is a highly refined product that comes from nutrient- and fiber-rich sugar cane, provides nothing but empty calories. All fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals have been removed in the refining process.

Developed societies around the world have noticed and experienced increases in the incidence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease as a direct result of increased consumption of refined carbohydrate and sugar lacking fiber foods. It is clear that stopping the consumption of high fiber foods has had a very negative impact on the health of people around the world.

The best foods high in fiber are fresh, whole, and natural foods such as:

  • Cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and others
  • Dried beans, lentils and peas,
  • Whole grains such as oats, barley, wheat
  • Fresh fruits
  • Integral rice

Long-term weight loss and weight management are greatly facilitated by incorporating high-fiber foods into your daily diet. It is recommended to do this gradually as increased fiber in your diet may initially cause diarrhea and bloating. It is also important to drink more water when consuming foods rich in fiber to avoid constipation. Eating foods rich in fiber will also help you avoid chronic health problems and certain diseases.