How do you recognize a healthy diet? Some would answer that it is mainly based on fruits and vegetables. Others would say that a healthy diet gives you enough energy and nutrients for daily life regardless of the source. Some people associate a healthy diet with being hungry, which is absolutely not the case.
Regardless of your answer to this question, a healthy diet should include many food sources of dietary fiber. Fiber goes beyond nutrients and facilitates intestinal health. It is abundant in fruits and vegetables and is one of the reasons why fruits and vegetables make you feel satiated for longer.
In this article, we’re giving you a comprehensive list of foods high in dietary fiber. After considering this piece, you will have enough options to choose from. The next step would be figuring out or searching for healthy recipes to include in your day-to-day. But before starting with the list, let us briefly review what dietary fiber is really about.
What is dietary fiber?
We call dietary fiber a type of complex carbohydrate the human body can’t digest or absorb. It is abundant in most fruits and vegetables but also found in legumes and grains. Dietary fiber is an excellent source of good health for many reasons:
- It promotes intestinal transit
- It may contribute to reducing or relieving gastrointestinal symptoms
- It is a good source of nutriment for your healthy gut microbiota
- It is a heart-healthy food
- It lowers blood cholesterol and helps you with blood sugar
But we should also know that nature offers two types of fiber, and each behaves differently. They are:
- Soluble fiber: We call it soluble because it dissolves in liquids. Soluble fiber takes up significant water and other liquids, adopting a gel-like structure that stays in your gut without being absorbed. In that sense, soluble fiber creates bulk inside the gut and modulates the digestion of many nutrients. It slows down the absorption of sugar and binds to cholesterol, inhibiting its absorption.
- Insoluble fiber: We call it insoluble because it doesn’t dissolve in liquids. This type of fiber stays undigested and almost unchanged as it goes through your intestines. It helps promote intestinal transit, and since it is very soft compared to dry stools, insoluble fiber is a suitable solution for constipation.
The best food sources of dietary fiber
According to health authorities, you should have a minimum of 28 grams of fiber every day. Achieving this goal would be very difficult if you follow the traditional Western diet, especially if you constantly eat out and prefer fried foods, fast food, and sweets. So, focus instead on these foods, and you will likely get your share of daily dietary fiber without many problems:
1) Navy beans
This type of bean taste great and are very popular in many countries. They have an amazing content of dietary fiber. They shouldn’t leave your plate if you constantly suffer from constipation and other gastrointestinal symptoms. One single serving of navy beans could get you around 34% of the total fiber you need every day. They are very easy to cook and prepare in a variety of dishes.
You will get around 9.6 grams of fiber after eating ½ a cup of cooked navy beans. There are many recipes out there, and most people eat them in a variety of soups. However, you can be creative and eat mashed navy beans with tortillas or prepare a delicious casserole with vegetables.