You probably know that fiber is one of the most important needs of our body that we need to incorporate into our diet daily. But do you know what are the health benefits of fiber? How much fiber should you consume each day? What foods contain fiber? How to increase your fiber intake? What are the side effects of high fiber intake? Join us to discuss these questions together.
What is fiber?
First, it should be noted that fiber is found only in fruits, vegetables, and grains and is present in the cell wall of these foods. High fiber diets reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Fiber also makes food move faster in the gastrointestinal tract and helps it function better. Fiber absorbs the body’s water and adds it to the stool. When you start increasing your fiber intake in your diet, you should slowly and gradually do so.
The amount of fiber needed by the body every day
The American Heart Association (AHA) has determined the amount of fiber needed per day for adults by 25 grams along with a 2,000-calorie diet; Of course, this amount varies with age and gender. Consider the exact amount of fiber, depending on your age and sex:
- Women under 50: 21 to 25 grams per day;
- Men under 50: 30 to 38 grams daily.
- People under 18, depending on their age and sex, should consume 14 to 31 grams of fiber per day.
Many people in the United States consume less than half the amount offered daily. Lack of fiber causes damage to our digestive system, increases cholesterol (one of the most important causes of heart disease) and may increase swelling and inflammation within the body. High-fiber diets reduce the risk of certain diseases such as certain types of cancer, diverticulosis, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney stones, and obesity. Some studies have shown that women who have a premenstrual syndrome or who have menopause can reduce some of these symptoms with a high fiber diet. In people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases, fiber also reduces symptoms. High fiber disrupts the balance of bacteria in the body and increases the number of beneficial bacteria and reduces unhelpful bacteria that are the source of digestive problems.
What are the Health Benefits of Fiber?
Getting the right amount of fiber is important to maintain proper digestive function. Fiber, of course, has other health benefits besides digestion: it helps to lose weight and maintain balance in the intestine bacteria.
Other benefits of fiber to health include:
- Lower cholesterol and blood sugar
- Helping to lose weight
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart disease
- Prevention of diabetes
- Improve bowel and digestive health
- Nutrition of healthy intestinal bacteria
In general, dietary fiber refers to a portion of plants and other foods that the body cannot digest. Instead of being decomposed, the fiber passes through the digestive tract and avoids constipation by facilitating the excretion process. The important thing is to get fiber from different fiber foods rather than just consuming one fiber source.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is found in three main forms: soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, and fermented fiber.
- Soluble fiber: This fiber dissolves in water and slows down the digestion process. It helps lower body cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels.
- Insoluble fiber: This fiber is not soluble in water and has a different role in the digestion process than soluble fiber. This type of fiber increases the size of the stool and passes through the gastrointestinal tract quickly. This fiber helps the bowel and the ducts to work regularly so we don’t get constipated.
- Fermented Fiber: This fiber is both soluble and insoluble, but is mostly soluble fiber. Fermented fiber helps to grow healthy and beneficial bacteria in the Colon.
What do fibers do to the body?
Fibers help regulate bowel functions, reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and strengthen the walls of the colon. Besides, they also reduce weight and regulate blood sugar levels. Research has also shown that women who eat a high-fiber diet (77-38 g / day) have a 20% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Which foods have high fiber?
We all know that our body needs fiber, and although many foods are high in fiber, many still suffer from its deficiency. Unfortunately, today with the advent of new diets and lifestyles, many Americans face severe fiber deficiency. Experts estimate that only 5 percent of Americans get enough fiber daily. Foods that are high in fiber protect the person against cancer, heart disease, diverticular disease, kidney stones, premenstrual syndrome, and obesity and are also beneficial for digestive health. So fiber is more than just a simple regulator.
High-fiber foods, Fruits
Total dietary fiber: 10.5 grams per cup (cut)
Important nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin K, and Potassium
The amount of fiber in avocado depends on its type and can vary from one type to another. The amount of fiber in light green avocados with thin skin (Florida avocados) differs from that of the darker and smaller ones (California avocados). Avocado Florida has more insoluble fiber than California avocado. In addition to fiber, avocados are rich in healthy oils that help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Total dietary fiber: 9.9 grams per medium pear.
Important nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Omega-3 fatty acids, Potassium
Asian pear is crisp, sweet and tasty and contains a great deal of fiber and omega-6 fatty acids (149 mg per serving) that is very useful for the health of cells, brain, and neural functions. The American Heart Association has recommended eating at least 5 to 10 percent of your calories from omega-6 fatty acids.
- Berry Family (Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Canberra, etc.)
Total dietary fiber (Raspberry): 8 grams per cup
Important Raspberry Nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B9
Total dietary fiber (Blackberry): 7.6 grams per cup
Important Blackberry Nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese
Blackberries have a lot of vitamin K that helps with bone density and high levels of manganese in raspberries are beneficial for bone health, skin and blood sugar regulation. These benefits, along with the excellent taste, have made the Barry family a very valuable food.
Total dietary fiber: 7.2 grams per cup
Important nutrients: Manganese, Omega 6 fatty acids, Vitamin B9 and Selenium
There are good reasons why coconut-based foods are on the rise.
If you haven’t started consuming coconut yet, add it to your diet as soon as possible. Coconut has a low Glycemic Index (GI) and easily enters your diet. Since coconut fiber is 4 to 6 times more barley bran, using coconut flour and powder is a great way to add healthy fiber to your diet. In countries where coconut is part of the diet, high blood cholesterol, and heart disease are less common. In most bread recipes, you can substitute up to 20% of the other flours with coconut flour.
Total dietary fiber: 14.6 g soluble and insoluble fiber in a cup of dried fig
Important nutrients: pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin B6
Dried and fresh figs are a valuable source of fiber. Unlike many other foods, the amount of soluble and insoluble fiber in figs is perfectly balanced. In addition to the benefits of fiber, figs are very useful for lowering blood pressure and preventing “macular degeneration” that causes blindness in the elderly. Even if you have no interest in dried figs, fresh figs can be used as cereal, salad, or even with goat cheese or honey for dessert.
High-fiber foods, Vegetables
Total dietary fiber: 10.3 grams of fiber per medium artichoke
Important nutrients: Vitamins A, C, E, B, K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus
Since artichokes are low in calories and high in fiber, they are a great supplement to your diet. Only a medium artichoke can supply half the fiber needed for a woman and one-third the fiber needed for a man. Also, artichoke is one of the top 10 antioxidant-rich foods.
Total dietary fiber: 8.6 grams per cup of cooked peas, most of which is insoluble fiber
Important nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B6, Vitamin B1, Manganese, Vitamin B9, Vitamin A, Protein
Green peas are high in fiber, have strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are very beneficial to health. Peas give good taste to food and can supply 100% vitamin C and 25% vitamin B1 and B9.
Total dietary fiber: 8.2 grams per cup
Important nutrients: Vitamin A, C, K, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, Protein
In the southern part of America, okra is one of the main dishes of the people.
Just one cup of it provides one-third of the body’s daily fiber and is one of the foods high in calcium. Okra has a lot of nutrients in it and can be easily added to the soup.
Total dietary fiber: 9 grams of fiber per cup cooked
Important nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin A, B, Vitamin B9, Magnesium
In the squash family, there is plenty of nutrients and fiber. The firm, shiny texture of these foods is high in fiber and reflects their high nutritional value. Acorn squash and other squash can be roasted in the oven and served with potatoes or other starch. They can also make delicious soups.
Total dietary fiber: 7.6 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber per cup
Important nutrients: Vitamin C, K, B1, B6, B9, and manganese
As one of the vegetables of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts are one of the best sources of fiber. Brussels sprouts due to their high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties detoxify and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Total dietary fiber: 4.8 grams of fiber per half-cup
Important nutrients: Vitamin C, Calcium, Manganese, Potassium
The value of turnip is usually underestimated. It is high in nutrients and a good source of fiber and can be eaten raw or cooked.
High-fiber foods, Beans and legumes
Total dietary fiber: 12.2 grams of fiber per cup
Important nutrients: Protein, Vitamin B1, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Vitamin B9
Black beans are rich in nutrients and add a lot of protein and fiber to your diet. High levels of antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and inflammatory diseases. Consuming black beans is a good way to experience some kind of treatment while increasing your fiber intake.
Total dietary fiber: 8 grams of fiber per cup
Important nutrients: Protein, Copper, Vitamin B9, Manganese, Omega 6 fatty acids, Omega 3 fatty acids
Chickpeas have been popular in the world for thousands of years and are rich in nutrients including manganese. This small grain provides 84% of your body’s daily manganese requirement.
Total dietary fiber: 13.2 grams of fiber per cup cooked
Important nutrients: Copper, Manganese, Vitamin B9, Phosphorus, Protein, Vitamin B6 and B2
In addition to the high amount of fiber found in each serving of chickpea beans, it also provides approximately 25 percent of the daily iron requirement of women. Manganese helps to provide energy to the body and antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals.
Total dietary fiber: 16.3 grams per cup cooked
Important nutrients: Protein, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B9, Manganese, Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids
Split peas soup was widely consumed in the past, and today it needs to be re-added to the diet. Consuming one serving of split peas provides one-third of vitamin B9 and half of the daily fiber needed by the body.
Total dietary fiber: 10.4 grams of fiber per cup cooked
Important nutrients: Protein, Iron, Vitamin B9, Manganese, Phosphorus
In addition to high fiber, lentils are also high in vitamin B9 and are one of the top 10 foods with high B9. Vitamin B9 is essential for pregnant women, people with liver disease and people taking certain medications.
High-fiber foods, Nuts & Seeds
Total dietary fiber of almonds: 0.6 g of fiber per 6 pcs
Important Almond Nutrients: Protein, Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamin B2, Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Total walnut food fiber: 1.9 grams per 28 gr walnuts
Nutrients important nutrients: Protein, Manganese, Copper, Omega 6 fatty acids, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus
Although nuts are lower in fiber than previously mentioned, eating nuts is a much healthier way to quickly increase body fiber. Almonds have fewer calories and fat than walnuts, but more potassium and protein. Also, scientists have found that walnuts improve the power of thinking, memory, and moods and also help the brain’s neural functions.
Total dietary fiber: 3 grams per tablespoon
Important Nutrients: Protein, Vitamin B1, Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Omega 3 Fatty Acids
There is a lot of nutrients in these small seeds, and flax seeds reduce cholesterol and reduce menopausal symptoms. Grind your flaxseed and add to your smoothies, salad, and soup.
Total dietary fiber: 5.5 grams per tablespoon
Important nutrients: Protein, Calcium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids
Chia seeds are a great food that you can easily add to your diet. This high fiber food helps increase your energy and improve your nutritional health and has many other benefits. Chia seeds may cause bloating, such as beans and legumes, which can be minimized by consuming more water. Soaking chia seeds before using can reduce bloating and help absorb nutrients.
Total dietary fiber: 5 grams of fiber per cup cooked
Important nutrients: Iron, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Potassium
Quinoa is a very useful grain that is consumed like cereals. All grains are high in fiber, but not all of them are high in nutrients. The abundance of nutrients in the Quinoa, the easy digestion and the lack of gluten make it one of the best foods containing fiber. Besides, quinoa is rich in other nutrients such as iron, vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium. Magnesium is one of the essential vitamins that is underestimated and helps in almost all functions of the body besides taking care of the heart. Many people suffer from magnesium deficiency while not being aware of it. As a result, Quinoa not only adds valuable fiber to your diet, it also provides you with other essential nutrients.
Important Tips on Consuming High-Fat Foods
It is best to add fiber gradually and regularly to your diet. If you consume too much fiber at one time, your digestive system may not handle it properly. Consider the following tips:
- Instead of eating fruit juice, eat fruits such as pears and apples
- Instead of white rice, white bread and pasta, eat whole grains
- Eat vegetables instead of pretzel and chips
- Eat little beans and lentils every day
- Sprinkle chia seeds on your smoothie or salad
- When eating foods containing fiber, you should also drink plenty of water
If possible, calculate the amount of fiber you receive. Some people even switch to dietary fiber supplements, while all the fiber the body needs can usually be obtained from foods.
Too much fiber can be dangerous, so if you overdo it, your symptoms will soon become apparent. There is still no evidence to suggest that fiber supplements are as useful as eating high-fiber foods.
Remember that everyone’s body may respond differently to fiber; Some people with a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) do not have fiber tolerance.