There are several good reasons some people go vegetarian and vegan. Among the food groups, vegetables are the most accessible and easiest way to prepare. You can eat some veggies raw and fresh; you can prepare them for a delectable dish or process them into juice or smoothie. There are so many ways one can do with a basketful of veggies.
These plant-based foods are also the most common nutrient source that even helps the body fight chronic diseases. No one can deny the wonders that eating vegetables does to our bodies. Filling our plate with veggies to complete the meal gives us many benefits that we are unaware of. One essential nutrient that vegetables offer to us is fiber.
WHY FIBER IS ESSENTIAL
Dieticians suggest that both children and adults require 20 – 30 grams of fiber per day. Unfortunately, research shows that Americans only consume 15 grams of fiber, meaning most of them don’t get enough fiber. The lack of enough fiber in their body can lead to digestive problems, and later, chronic diseases. That is why we must consume around 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day, as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests.
Although research concludes that 95% or almost all American adults consume some vegetables every day, it doesn’t say whether we eat the exact amount recommended per day. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares 90% of Americans do not meet the stated target goal. It implies that the same number of adults may be at risk of having not enough fiber in their body. To ensure their health and wellness, they shouldn’t let this happen, and neither should you.
WHAT IS FIBER, AND WHAT IT DOES TO OUR BODY
Fiber is a carbohydrate that the digestive enzymes cannot break down. These unbroken carbs pass through our body’s digestive tract, where they do most of their jobs, protecting the gut and keeping the body clear of digestive troubles. Fiber helps our body to
- Reduce high cholesterol
- Minimize the risk of developing heart diseases
- Mitigate weight gain
- Improve body waste secretion
- Improve blood sugar levels
- Protect the gut
- Reduce the risk of colon cancer
VEGGIES ARE AN ABUNDANT SOURCE OF FIBER
The lack of fiber in our diet isn’t because fiber is a rare nutrient – it is the opposite. Fiber resides in almost any food group, and one of the best sources of fiber is plant-based foods like vegetables and fruits. As mentioned, vegetables are one of the easiest to access and prepare to kick start our high-fiber diet. With this colorful, organic food, we can make a variety of delicious and healthy meals simultaneously. So, what are these vegetables rich in fiber? Let’s check them out.
1. Navy beans– one of the best sources of fiber in the vegetable food group are these dry white beans. With 10.5 g of fiber per 100 g, navy beans are the perfect fiber add-on to your everyday meal like salad, soups, curries, and pies.
2. Pinto beans– a popular staple in an American dish, refried, mashed, or whole pinto beans make a great meal that provides the body with enough fiber. It contains 9 grams of fiber per 100 grams of serving.
3. Acorn squash– this tasty vegetable is usually baked, stuffed, roasted, or pureed. It can be an addition to suit a variety of dishes. Its skin is edible too! When cooked, acorn squash gives 9g fiber per cup.
4. Green peas– another popular veggie on our menus are green peas. A cup of green peas has about 9 grams of fiber.
5. Lentils – lentils are a type of legume that grows in pods and comes in many variations indicated by color. These legumes are low-cost and very easy to prepare. Lentils generally contain 7.9 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
6. Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans– these beans are typical in Middle Eastern countries but are now becoming more popular for their grainy texture and nutty taste that goes perfectly well with most food ingredients. Chickpeas contain 6.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
7. Artichokes– despite the intimidating appearance, artichokes are amazingly delicious and healthy. You can either grill, boil, braise, or stuff and bake these tasty green buds. A medium-sized artichoke contains 6.9 grams of fiber.
8. Potatoes– potatoes rarely miss one’s dining table. This staple vegetable comes in many different cooking ways; each is a fantastic delight for the tongue and gut. You can mash, fry, boil, roast, or bake them. A large-sized potato contains about 6.3 grams of fiber.
9. Pumpkins– another popular vegetable that contains healthy nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin K, and calcium are pumpkins. These domesticated plants make the perfect ingredient for your savory, high-fiber dish. You can get around 3.6 grams of fiber from a single canned pumpkin.
10. Broccolis– this cruciferous veggie is not only a good source of fiber, but it is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins C and A. These miniature tree-looking vegetables are amazing in stir-fry vegetable dishes. They can also be excellent when steamed, boiled, or even eaten raw.