The two types of dietary fiber are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps the body eliminate toxins and waste, and encourages helpful intestinal bacteria. It also slows the digestive process so that you feel full for a longer time after eating, and it helps to regulate the blood sugar.
If you’re considering following a high fiber diet, it’s probably because you want to be healthier. Perhaps you’re troubled by diverticular disease, constipation or hemorrhoids. Low fiber is also connected to excess weight and heart problems.
When increasing your consumption of fiber, you should also make sure to drink more water as well – this aids in the digestion and helps you to avoid stomach discomfort. There are no foods prohibited on a high fiber diet, but there are several that you’re encouraged to eat.
Apples are inexpensive, and readily available. They’re a great source of fiber. Ideally, you should eat apples with the skin on to maximize your intake of fiber. Pears are also a great fruit – with their coarse texture, you can practically feel the benefit!
Most vegetables provide high amounts of fiber. For maximum benefit, don’t overcook your vegetables – steam or stir fry instead of boiling. Broccoli is high in fiber and also provides a number of other nutrients. In the green family, Brussels sprouts are also desirable, but admittedly not to everyone’s liking. You might try cooking them in a cheese sauce, or roasting them in olive oil.
Carrots are best consumed raw, as cooking destroys some of the fiber. If you’re fond of carrots, you might also try parsnips – they look like carrots, except that they’re white and have a much stronger taste. They’re an even better source of fiber, packing twice the content of carrots.
When considering fiber, you almost certainly think of grains, but note that they have to be in their whole form – when grains are processed, the bran is removed, and that dramatically reduces the fiber.
Seeds, especially flax or chia, are excellent sources of fiber.
Don’t overlook legumes – they not only provide fiber, they’re a great source of protein, so if you’re upping your fiber intake while also following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you’re getting double the benefit. Lentils are a common ingredient in several global cuisines, and they lend themselves well to various methods of cooking.
A high fiber diet is easy to follow because you don’t have to take anything away – you just have to add more fiber to your diet, and if you’re fond of the foods listed above, it should be easy!