If you have digestive issues like frequent stomachaches, constipation, abnormal weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, among many others, your diet may be short of fiber-rich foods. Fiber is an important nutrient that the body needs for all the good benefits it offers. Consuming fiber is one way to promote a healthy digestive system and keep our physical body in shape.
Most of the time, when we feel specific issues involving our gut, integrating high-fiber foods into our regular diet solves the problem. There are tons of foods that can be sources of fiber. We can get it from almost every food group available in our local stores and even backyards.
Dietary fibers found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates, only that they do not break down into digestible molecules, unlike any other carbs. Instead, these ‘unbroken’ fibers pass through the digestive tract and do miracles to the area in the process.
HOW DOES FIBER HELP OUR BODY?
Improve digestion – consuming fiber-rich food helps regulate and increase stool bulk, making it easier and more comfortable to excrete the waste from the body. Moreover, having a healthy stool helps maintain one’s colorectal health.
Reduce cholesterol levels that lead to heart diseases – as the digestion process improves, so is the body’s need for bile acids, which coincidentally are partly made of cholesterol.
The liver does its work through the help of the cholesterol stored in the blood, thus lowering its levels.
Minimize the risk of chronic diseases – many chronic diseases stem from an unhealthy digestive system. Since fibers improve our digestion, it also minimizes the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, heart illnesses, and cancer, to name a few.
Promote optimal weight – usually, a person will keep on eating if he or she is not satisfied yet, thus consuming more than the body needs. This habit may lead to weight gain and obesity. Consuming fiber-rich foods allows the body to achieve satiety or the feeling of fullness after eating a meal.
Control blood sugar levels – studies show that fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body. This is because fiber delays the body’s absorption of sugar, thus allowing it to control the amount.
WHAT DO EXPERTS SAY ABOUT FIBER CONSUMPTION?
Fiber diet is expectedly different from person to person. It also varies depending on gender. Dieticians suggest that women ages 50 or younger should opt to consume at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber every day. For men of the same age bracket, eating 30 to 38 grams of fiber a day should keep them off the risk of digestive issues.
WHAT FRUITS ARE RICH IN FIBER?
While almost every food group can be a source of fiber, some of them can be challenging to look for, let alone consume, especially for the elderly. Fortunately, there are several easy-to-find fiber-rich fruits that we can incorporate into our regular diet to reap their many health benefits. Here is a list of fiber-rich fruits with their corresponding fiber content.
- Passion fruit – passion fruit is an exotic and yummy fruit that contains 25 grams of fiber per cup.
- Avocado – this soft, light green fruit can be a perfect breakfast component as well as dessert. Each avocado comes with 13 grams of fiber.
- Apple – apples are very easy to find and are perfect for salads. Each serving of apple (with skin on) contains about 4.4g of fiber.
- Berries and raspberries – these tiny sour and sweet fruits have approximately 7 – 8 grams of fiber.
- Pear – pears are also pretty popular and make a nutritious and tasty dessert; it contains about 3.1g fiber.
- Strawberries – strawberries are also popular additions to oatmeal breakfasts and snacks. Each strawberry contains about 2 grams of fiber and best eaten fresh.
- Bananas – containing 2.5 grams, bananas are soft textured fruits ideal for any meal. With its natural sweet taste, it can be blended and mixed with other fruits for a smoothie.
- Guavas – guavas are also exotic fruits that are good sources of fiber. Each fruit contains 9 grams of fiber. However, some variations of this fruit can have hard skins and flesh when premature.
- Pomegranates – Pomegranates are also a type of berry but look more like a red apple. Each part of the fruit is edible, including the seeds and arils, except its peels. Each fruit is loaded with 7 grams of fiber, among all other vitamins and nutrients.
- Oranges – another common source of healthy nutrients are oranges. Oranges contain 4 grams of fiber per cup and can be consumed as a dessert or processed as juice.