What is Fiber?
This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here. Always consult a medical professional before commencing any diet.
Fiber is a carbohydrate, and it is known as the bulk part of natural foods that don’t get digested by the body.
It makes most part of our stool and it helps our bowel movements reducing the risk of constipation, that’s when the flat stomach comes in!
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, 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 (fermented) – a 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 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 according to this study 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 a 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 feeling fuller for longer because it slows digestion. And that decreases the chances of your overeating! Happy days!
The slower your digestion is, the later you will be eating 🙂
We have added a high fiber foods list to lose weight later on in this article.
3# Improves digestion
Fiber can improve our digestive system like nothing else! It helps regulate our bowel movements preventing constipation.
That means a healthy bowel, feeling less bloated which equals in a flat belly! – can you see where we are getting at?
Most importantly, a healthy bowel decreases the 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 Consumption
According to the institute of medicine:
- Men should consume 30-38 grams of fiber daily
- Woman should consume 21-25 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 or constipation.
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 every day?
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 every day.
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 cereals 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 their health benefits. Some high fiber toppings: avocado, tomatoes, spinach
- Oats porridge
- Muesli/Granolla with natural yogurt
- Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds
- Vegetable omelet: 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.
- Homemade juices: Blended, not filtered. Check out some super healthy juice recipes for weight loss here.
Sprinkle chia seeds and flaxseeds 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 colorful plate and a minimum of 3 vegetables. Some ideas are adding a side salad to your mains, chopped veggies 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 that you can add to pretty much any hot or cold dish are mushrooms, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, capsicum/red, yellow 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 a 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, which means researching where to buy them, how to cook them, and simple recipe 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. It sounds like 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 fiber 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 habits 🙂
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 fewer 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 way to learn what your favorites foods are made of and avoid diet mistakes you could be making every day!
Good Sources of Fibre
Where to find high-fiber foods in products?
You will find fiber in:
- Grains & Wholemeal products
- Legumes such as chickpeas, 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 overall health:
|Shredded Wheat biscuits
|Oat bran, cooked
|Brown rice, cooked
|Pasta Wholegrain, cooked
|Whole wheat bread
|Sweet Potato, baked
|Brussels sprouts, cooked
|Green beans, cooked
|Kidney beans, cooked
|Black Beans, cooked
|Lime Beans, cooked
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.
This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here.