Fiber is one of the essential nutrients that your body needs in order to function normally. It helps to maintain a healthy digestive system by enabling the body to naturally reabsorb nutrients quickly. Thus, eating more fiber can help improve digestion, which in turn can help boost weight loss.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans consume way less fiber than they need. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, only 17% of people between 25 and 64 years old meet the dietary guidelines for fiber intake. The average person should eat about 30 grams of fiber each day.
While it’s normal for adults over 65 years old to eat less fiber than younger people, it’s still considered a health issue. According to the American College of Physicians, poor diet is one of the leading causes of Type 2 diabetes. Other factors may include genetic predisposition and aging. Regardless of the cause, too few fibers in the diet can lead to serious health problems.
Fortunately, there are ways to ingest more fiber without going overboard. You may want to consider adopting a high-fiber diet, which can help ensure you stay healthy and trim! Let’s take a look at some of the best foods that are naturally high in fiber while also being delicious and nutritious.
Beans are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients. They can help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which are major contributors to heart disease and diabetes. They’re also an excellent source of plant protein and iron. For these reasons, beans should be a part of everyone’s diet.
You may want to try some of the following varieties of beans:
- White beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Garbanzo beans
If you’re not used to eating beans, you may want to try some of the following recipes or experiment with ways to make them more novel:
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Black Bean and Mango Salad
- Mexican Frittata
- Falafels with Hummus
Beets are a member of the brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, and others. This group of vegetables is referred to as the cruciferous vegetables, and they’re known for their high content of antioxidants, which act as small fighters in your body, battling and defending you from dangerous diseases.
Antioxidants can help protect the body’s cells from damage, which can lead to many age-related illnesses, including cancer. They can also reduce cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing the body’s intake of vitamins A, C, and K. These nutrients help the body to maintain a healthy immune system and vision, as well! They’re also rich in natural sugars that provide your cells with necessary energy.
One of the best things about beets is that they’re extremely easy to grow in your garden or on a rooftop.
Artichokes are a member of the Asteraceae family, which also includes sunflowers, jasmine, and daisies. Artichokes are native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, but you can find them year-round in some regions, such as the U.S. This member of the thistle family is often referred to as a sunflower herb because of its similarity in appearance to a sunflower. In fact, artichokes were first domesticated in Europe as a source of sunflower seeds.
The edible portion of an artichoke is made up of tiny bristly balls called chokes, which are filled with fiber, nutrients, and vitamins. In order to remove the harsh external fibers, you must first blanche (cook) the artichokes. Artichokes are high in antioxidants and vitamins C and A, and they even contain some vitamin B.
Artichokes offer an easy way to get your daily fiber and antioxidants while also improving your overall health. They’re filling and can be served as a side item or as an appetizer in a pinch.
Arugula is another member of the brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, and others. This green veggie is used in most cuisines, but its taste can vary from mild to bitter. The most common way to prepare arugula is to lightly steam or boil it before serving. Some people like to grind up the leaves into a powder, which can then be sprinkled onto pasta or used as a topping for a pizza.
Arugula is high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and calcium. It’s a great source of iron, too. The shiny, dark green leaves contain a lot of chlorophyll, which gives them their distinctive color. While bitter, the leaves are safe to eat and have a slightly peppery taste. You can use this veggie to make your food look more appetizing.
Asparagus is a perennial herb with a long history of being eaten. It’s most commonly recognized for its springtime blossoms, but the vegetables that emerge from the ground are actually the parts that people are most commonly fond of: the stalks. The white or green parts of the asparagus plant are toxic, so you should avoid eating them.
However, the stalks are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They’re also a good source of iron, manganese, and folates. One of the best things about asparagus is that you can easily prepare it by simply boiling or steaming it. This vegetable can be eaten raw in salads or lightly cooked and served in a warm or cold pasta dish. Plus, it has a relatively quick cooking time.
Broccoli is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. The most common way to prepare broccoli is to stir-fry or steam it, then sprinkle it with seasoning and serve it alongside meat or fish.
However, you don’t have to prepare the broccoli in any special way. It’s a versatile vegetable that you can eat raw or cooked. Because it contains antioxidants and vitamins C and A, it has protective effects on the human body. The chemical makeup of broccoli prevents cancer and promotes good vision, as well.
The edible portions of a broccoli plant are the flowers, buds, and the thick stalks. You can have broccoli year-round in some regions, but it tends to be at its best from late spring to early summer.
Cabbage is yet another member of the Brassicaceae family. It’s a common sight at Asian markets, where you will often find it in large amounts in the produce section. It’s often used in Eastern Europe and southeast Asia for its soft, thick, green leaves. This vegetable is available year-round, but it tends to be at its best from midwinter to early spring.
Cabbage is rich in antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and calcium. It’s a good source of iron and manganese, as well as foliates. The dark green leaves are mild in flavor, with a slightly astringent taste. They’re also a good source of chlorophyll. You can use cabbage to make your food look more appetizing and add another nutrient-dense vegetable to your diet.
Cauliflower is one of the most recognizable vegetables. It has a pale, ruffled flower and an edible brown head. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes broccoli and cabbage. It is often used as a substitute for potato because of its mild flavor and soft texture. It’s most readily available year-round and can be stored for long periods at room temperature.
Cauliflower is high in fiber, low in calories, and has essential vitamins and nutrients. It is also a good source of manganese, iron, and foliates. One of the best things about cauliflower is that it can be prepared in many different ways. You can eat it raw in salads or steamed and served as a side item or main dish. You may even want to consider preparing it as a pizza topping!