Are you interested in adding fiber to your diet? Eating more fiber is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health. Fiber keeps you feeling full, prevents constipation, and promotes weight loss. It also helps lower cholesterol levels and reduces the risk for heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and high blood pressure. Fiber-rich foods are good for both adults and children alike. So what are some of the best sources?
Broccoli may lower your risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. A cup of cooked broccoli contains five grams of fiber, making it one of the healthiest choices. It also gives you almost 100 percent daily value (DV) for vitamin C and folate, plus about 10 percent DV each for vitamin A and potassium.
A cup of cooked oatmeal contains 4.5 grams of fiber. It also provides about 29 percent DV for manganese and over 10 percent DV each for selenium and phosphorus. Manganese helps our body break down fats, carbs, and proteins; it’s also vital for healthy bones, kidneys, brain function, and skin health. Selenium boosts immunity while promoting a healthy thyroid gland; phosphorus is important in maintaining strong teeth and bones. Oats may lower your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Beans And Lentils
You can’t forget legumes, which are fiber superstars! For example, a half-cup of cooked black beans contains over 15 grams of fiber–that’s almost 60 percent DV. It also provides about 40 percent DV for folate and 30 percent DV for iron. Black beans may help lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes by lowering cholesterol levels and regulating blood sugar levels. They also contain antioxidants that fight inflammation and oxidative stress too.
Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries – they’re all great choices! At the top of the list are berries, which provide 6 to 8 grams of fiber per cup. They also give you over 10 percent DV for vitamin C and manganese, plus small amounts of folate and potassium. Berries promote heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels; they may also reduce the risk for cancer and diabetes. Most importantly, they fight inflammation (a critical factor in almost every chronic disease) by preventing oxidative stress within cells.
If you like nuts, then add more into your diet! They’re one of the best sources of fiber (four grams in a quarter-cup serving). Plus, they pack magnesium and vitamin E, plus other beneficial nutrients. Fiber slows digestion and absorption of sugar and prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. This helps lower the risk for diabetes and heart disease. It also reduces cholesterol and insulin levels.
One tablespoon of chia seeds provides 4 grams of fiber. They also give you about 20 percent DV for calcium, plus smaller phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc. These tiny seeds pack a significant fiber punch (as well as omega-3 fatty acids)! They help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion and absorption of carbs; they also improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The calcium they contain helps build strong bones while promoting healthy nervous system function. Plus, their high antioxidant content helps fight inflammation, too–a critical factor in most diseases.
Another surprising source of fiber is potatoes! A medium-baked potato contains 4.4 grams. They also provide nearly one-third DV for vitamin C and a quarter of DV for iron. Potassium, magnesium, niacin, and phosphorus are other nutrients that potatoes contain in small amounts. Vitamin C increases immunity while reducing the risk for heart disease; plus, it reduces oxidative stress. Iron helps produce red blood cells to increase oxygen levels in your body; it’s also important in brain function, immune system health, muscle control, cell growth/repair, and energy production. Plus, they’re high in antioxidants, so they fight free radicals too!
The avocado is another food that’s full of fiber (5.6 grams per medium fruit). It also provides about 15 percent DV for vitamin E, plus small amounts of B vitamins, calcium, and iron. Avocados may lower the risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer by preventing oxidative stress and free radicals in the body. They also help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance–an early sign of diabetes. The healthy fats they contain help promote satiety too.
Adding foods high in fiber to your diet is one of the best ways to promote better health. Forget those fake low-carb diets and emphasize whole, natural foods. If you’re unsure where to start, try some berries (with no added sugar), chia seeds, or potatoes! They provide lots of nutrients, and they’re full of fiber to help you achieve a healthy weight and prevent chronic disease.