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What foods are naturally high in fiber?

By Sophie Pachella, founder of EatStrong

There are two types of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble.

  • Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and travels through the small intestine quickly, “sweeping” your gut. The skins of many fruits and vegetables are insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber breaks down as it passes through your digestive system. It forms a gel that helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels. You’ll find soluble fiber in oats, beans, and many fruits and vegetables.

Fiber plays a crucial role in our intestinal health (and thus overall health). Isn’t it time fiber received the attention it deserves?

Whilst most of us are comfortable categorizing everything into “good” and “bad” foods, many of us ignore the essential role of the fiber gram, which falls into the complex carb category (in theory) – though it contains little to no nutritional value per se at all.

No, the beauty of fiber it not what it provides, but rather what it sweeps away. A diet high in fiber ensures that your gut is clean and happy, and able to absorb all the vitamins and essential nutrients from your egg white omelet and grilled asparagus. It cleanses you daily and leaves you feeling fuller. For each gram of fiber we eat, we absorb 4 times that weight in water, which we quickly eliminate, but in the process feel much “fuller”.

I thought it might be helpful to actually have a handy list identifying those foods which supply the greatest amount of this “clean sweep” nutrient!

  • Dried beans, peas, and other legumes – This includes baked beans, kidney beans, split peas, dried limas, garbanzos, pinto beans and black beans.

  • Bran cereals

  • Fresh or frozen lima beans

  • Fresh or frozen green peas

  • Dried fruit, topped by figs, apricots and dates (careful – these are also high calorie)

  • Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries

  • Sweet corn, whether on the cob or cut off in kernels

  • Whole-wheat and other whole-grain cereal products

  • Rye, oats, buckwheat and stone-ground cornmeal are all high in fiber. Bread, pastas, pizzas, pancakes and muffins made with whole-grain flours. (careful Wheat does NOT equal Whole Wheat)

  • Broccoli-very high in fiber!

  • Baked potato with the skin (The skin when crisp is the best part for fiber.) French fries, which contain a high percentage of fat – do NOT count!

  • Green snap beans, pole beans, and broad beans

  • Plums, pears, and apples. The skin is edible, and are all high in pectin (soluble fiber) as well as insoluble fiber (soluble turns “gummy” with water – and is filling – insoluble does not absorb water)

  • Raisins and prunes

  • Greens, including spinach, beet greens, kale, collards, Swiss chard and turnip greens

  • Nuts – Especially almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and walnuts (Consume these sparingly, because of their high fat content.)

  • Cherries

  • Bananas

  • Carrots

  • Coconut (dried or fresh-but both are high in fat content)

  • Brussels sprouts

For more from Sophie, visit her website, EatStrong, follow her on Twitter @EATSTRONG or head to her Facebook page.