What is Fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate, and it is known as the bulk part of natural foods that doesn’t get digested by the body.
It makes most part of our stool and it helps our bowel movements reducing the risk of constupation, that’s when the flat stomach comes in!
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains, seeds and nuts.
There are 2 types of fiber:
- Insoluble fiber makes most part of our stool. It is not dissolvable in water, and it works by retaining water in our stool. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat, seeds and vegetables.
- Soluble (prebiotic/fermented) – fiber that feeds our gut bacteria and is turned in to energy. This form of fiber dissolves in water and it’s found in barley, oats, legumes and fruits.
High-fiber Diet Benefits
High fiber foods in general are low in calories, sugar and fat. So by just adopting a high fiber diet you will be increasing your chances of losing weight!
Here are some key fiber benefits:
1# Gut Health
Soluble fiber is known as fermentable or prebiotic fiber which is good for our body and health. Basically this fiber gets fermented in our colon by the healthy bacteria.
It is important to maintain a healthy gut because the good bacteria helps fight inflammation in our body which in turn helps our immune system.
There are many studies online that talk about gut bacteria being linked to obesity, anxiety, depression, cancer.. the list goes on! So make gut health a priority in your life!
Have you heard of Kombucha? That’s powerful drink for a healthy gut. Learn more about it here.
2# Keeps you fuller for longer
Is fiber good for weight loss? Yes it is!
Fiber keeps you felling fuller for longer because it slows digestion. And that decreases the chances of you overeating! Happy days!
The slower your digestion is, the later you will be eating 🙂
We have added high fiber foods list to lose weight later on this article.
3# Improves digestion
Fiber can improve our digestive system like nothing else! It helps regulate our bowel movements preventing constupation.
That means a healthy bowel, feeling less bloaded which equals in a flat belly! – can you see where we are getting at?
Most importantly, a healthy bowel decreases chances of bowel cancer and other nasty things like diverticulosis.
Remember to drink water when eating fiber, they go hand in hand when it comes to digestion. One won’t work without the other.
4# Prevention of serious diseases
Normally high fiber diets are recommended for people who suffer from high cholesterol and heart problems.
However, a recent study published by The Lancet, associated people who consumed around 25g – 29g of fiber per day (from real foods – not supplements) enjoyed even greater health benefits.
The connection was made very clear – a high fiber diet helps not only to lower cholesterol and prevent heart diseases. It helps control body weight, decreases the chances of breast cancer, colon cancer, manages blood sugars, diabetes and more!
The study also found that people who consumed more fiber than recommended experienced even greater health benefits. So eat up!
Recommended Fiber Comsumption
According to the institute of medice:
- Men should consume 38 grams of fiber daily
- Woman should consume 25 grams of fiber daily
That doesn’t mean you can’t eat more fiber than what is recommended, however going too crazy on fiber can result in diarrhea.
How to Hit your Daily Fiber Goals
Now that we know fiber is super good for you, how do we make sure we eat enough fiber everyday?
Here are some tips to make sure to hit your daily fiber goal and help you lose weight.
1. Start early:
The best way to increase your chances of eating enough fiber is to start early. Make sure to incorporate fiber in your breakfast everyday.
Here are some high fiber breakfast suggestions:
- Cereals: a great option, quick and easy. There are lots of cereals out there that are super high in fiber. There some famous brands such as All-Bran and Shredded Wheat which you can try. Warning though, some cerals can be quite high in sugar too, so watch out for that!
- Wholegrain toast. I found this great article for the bread lovers. It compares different bread types and its health benefits. Some high fiber toppins: avocado, tomatoes, spinach
- Oats porridge
- Muesli/Granolla with natural yogurt
- Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds
- Vegetable omelette: You can add any vegetable: some options I like are: tomatoes, baby spinach, mushrooms and capsicum(red pepper)
- Smoothie: An easy and delicious way to add fiber to your life. If you are also trying to lose weight, check out some weight loss smoothies recipes here that are packed with nutrients and fiber.
- Home made juices: Blended, not filtered. Check out some super healthy juice recipes for weight loss here.
Sprinkle chia seeds and flaxssed where you can, that’s my motto 🙂
2. Plan your meals
Planning your meal can make or break from you reaching your fiber goals.
When preparing your meals, aim for a colourful plate and minimum of 3 vegetables. Some ideas are adding a side salad to your mains, chopped vegies to your rice and pasta.
Also, some fiber packed foods are not quick to prepare such as wholemeal rice and beans which if you buy raw, need to be soaked in water before cooking.
Cooking times will be long, so cook enough wholemeal rice for a week. You can store small portions of it and even freeze some.
Same thing with beans, lentils and chickpeas. If you like preparing your own grains, I would recommend you getting yourself a pressure cooker to speed up cooking times. I use a simple tramontina one that works just fine.
3. Shopping list
This one goes hand in hand with meal planning. Make a shopping list before hitting the supermarket to avoid buying the wrong foods and waste.
Add to your shopping list frozen vegetables, for those days you don’t have anything in the fridge.
Frozen vegetables are versatile and easy to add to pretty much any dish. Some frozen options are corn, peas, carrots and broccoli.
Other versatile vegetables which you can add to pretty much any hot or cold dish are: mushrooms, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, capsicum/red, yelow or green pepper.
Canned vegetables: Not ideal but good to have it on a rainy day. I wouldn’t recommend eating canned vegetables often because of 2 things:
- First: the can have added salt, sugar and preservatives
- Second: most cans have BPA which is harmful industrial chemical
Some canned vegetables don’t have added salt/sugar and can be BPA free. Just read the labels and check out this list of brands that do and don’t have BPA.
Also, It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with foods that you haven’t cooked before, that means researching where to buy them, how to cook them and simple recipes tips.
Get in touch with any friends that perhaps know where to find high fiber foods, such as mediterranean foods or even that can cook well. Maybe you can catch up with a friend and cook together. Sounds like a fun!
You can definitely make your snacks fiber packed.
Some ideas are:
- Vegetable sticks: such as carrots, cucumber, celery and red peppers.
- Dips such as hummus and guacamole are high in fiber. You can dip your vegetable sticks in guacamole and simply add hummus paste in your sandwiches
- Fruits: most fruits are good, we have added later on this article some high fiber fruits for you
- Seeds/nuts (a handful)
- Muesli bars: although some can be high in sugar, so read the label
5. Wholemeal products
Wholemeal and wholegrain products are super rich in fiber. To make sure you are eating more of them, try making some simple swaps:
- white bread for wholegrain
- white flour for wholemeal flour – you can try going half wholemeal flour and half white flour for baking
- Crackers – there are a variety of healthy wholemeal, wholegrain crackers. Aim for 3g of fibre per serving. Watch out for sugar, salt and fat levels preservatives. Here is a list of healthy crackers for you
- Wholemeal pasta
- White rice for wholemeal rice
- Wholemeal flour to coat foods
- Breadcrumbs can be wholemeal
- Wholemeal wraps
These swaps will definitely help you develop healthy food habts 🙂
6. Read labels
Read your labels to ensure you are buying a product with at least a few grams of fiber per serving.
Aim to find products that have somewhere between 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber per serving.
5 grams of fiber per serving is your ultimate goal.
Also, when reading labels, watch out for:
- added sugar
- go for products low in sodium
- a small list of ingredients (the less ingredients and numbers the better)
- low in fat
7. Track Your Diet
Tracking your diet will not only help you track your fiber goals, but also protein, fat, carbs and calories if you are trying to shed some pounds.
It’s a great to way to learn what your favorites foods are made of and avoid diet mistakes you could be making everyday!
Good Sources of Fibre
Where to find high-fiber foods in products?
You will find fiber in:
- Grains & Wholemeal products
- Legumes such as chick peas, beans, lentils and peas.
- Dried fruits
High-fiber Food List
Here is our ultimate high fiber foods list to help you lose weight and improve your overal health:
- All-Bran 12g (half cup serving)
- Shredded Wheat 4.6g (2 biscuits)
- Oats 4g (1 cooked cup)
- Quinoa 5g (1 cooked cup)
- Barley 6g (1 cooked cup)
- Brown rice 3.5g (1 cooked cup)
- Pasta Wholemeal 6g (1 cooked cup)
- Wholemeal bread 1.9g (1 slice)
- Sweet Potato 6g (1 large baked)
- Beets 4g (1 cooked cup)
- Potato 5g (1 medium)
- Spinach 2.4g (100g serving)
- Kale 2g (1 cooked cup)
- Broccoli 5.2g (1 cooked cup)
- Cauliflower 2.8g (1 cooked cup)
- Brussels sprouts 2.6g (100g serving cooked)
- Jicama 6g (1 cup)
- Parsnips 7g (1 cup)
- Artichokes 10g
- Carrots 1 – 2g
- Corn 12g (1 cooked cup)
- Peas 9g (1 cup)
- Green beans 3g (100g serving cooked)
- Edamame 8g (1 cooked cup)
- Kidney beans 25g (1 cooked cup)
- Black Beans 15g (1 cooked cup)
- Lime Beans 12g (1 cooked cup)
- Lentils 8g (1 cooked cup)
- Chick peas 35g (1 cup)
- Avocados 7g (half avo)
- Rasberries 8g (1 cup)
- Blackberries 8g (1 cup)
- Mango 5g
- Persimmom 6g
- Guava 9g (1 cup)
- Orange 3g
- Grapefruit 4g
- Pear 6g
- Apple (with skin) 4g
- Banana 3g
- Kiwi 2g
- Prunes(Dried Plums) 12g (1 cup)
- Dates 6g (3 dates)
- Dried Figs 15g (1 cup)
- Peanuts 9g (100g)
- Popcorn 13g (100g air popped)
- Flexseed 2g (1 table spoon)
- Chia Seeds 34g (100g serving)
- Squash and Pumpkin Seeds 18g (100g serving)
- Dried coconut 7g (1 cup)
- Sesame Seeds 12g (100g)
- Almonds 13g (1 cup)
- Pistachos 13g (1 cup)
- Pecans 10g (1 cup)
- Dark Chocolate 11g (100g of 70%-80% Dark Choc)
Now it’s over to you!
Happy shopping and cooking.
Don’t forget to share the food swaps you love and any diet tips and tricks that you’ve tried to increase your fiber intake.