How do you define a healthy diet? Some would answer that it’s a diet 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 even mistakenly think that eating a healthy diet will leave them hungrier, which is not true at all.
Regardless of your answer to this question, a balanced diet has to have a variety of foods that are high in dietary fiber. Beyond providing nutrients, fiber helps maintain intestinal health. It’s 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 you finish our list, you’ll have plenty of nutritious options to choose from. Finding or looking up nutritious meals to add to your regular diet would be the next step. But before we jump into the list, let us briefly review what dietary fiber is really all about.
What is Dietary Fiber?
We call dietary fiber a type of complex carbohydrate that the human body can’t digest or absorb. It’s abundant in most fruits and vegetables but also found in legumes and grains. For a number of reasons, dietary fiber is an important source of health:
- 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 control 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 common solution for constipation.
The Top Foods For Dietary Fiber
According to health authorities, you should have a minimum of 28 grams of fiber every day. If you eat a standard Western diet, it would be fairly challenging to achieve this target, especially if you regularly eat out and like fried, quick, and sweet foods. Focus instead on these items, and you should have no trouble getting your recommended daily intake of dietary fiber:
1) Navy Beans
This type of bean tastes great and is very popular in many countries. Navy beans have an incredible amount of nutritional fiber. If you often have constipation and other gastrointestinal issues, they shouldn’t be removed from your diet. One serving of navy beans can provide you with approx 34% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. They’re very easy to cook and add to 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 different recipes available, and most people consume them in different kinds of soups. However, you can be creative and eat mashed navy beans with tortillas or prepare a delicious casserole with vegetables.