High Fiber Foods That May Surprise You
By Sara Butler
You can make all the jokes you want about fiber and emergency trips to the restroom, but fiber is not funny at all. Aside from its impact on your regularity, high fiber diets have been found to have plenty of positive effects on overall health. It can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. But most people don’t get enough fiber in their diets. Here are a few foods you should consider adding to your rotation in order to give your fiber intake a boost.
Why You Need Fiber
You eat fiber but your body is unable to digest it, so why is that important? Well, fiber helps to slow your digestion, which helps to keep your blood sugar controlled and lower your cholesterol. If you don’t get enough fiber you may notice you’re constipated. When you finally do go, it can be uncomfortable or even painful – two things it shouldn’t be!
Of course, too much fiber can be a problem too. It can cause food to move through your intestines too fast so fewer nutrients can be absorbed. It can also make you gassy and bloated. So, you need to find the right amount of fiber to give you all the advantages without the unpleasant disadvantages.
Men under age 50 should eat about 38 grams of fiber a day, women should have 25 grams. Adults over 50 only need about 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women.
Great Foods with Fiber
When you think of fiber your mind may drift to whole grains, but there are actually better sources you can integrate into your diet. You can try:
- Split Peas – These are high in protein and make great stews and soups. They’re a staple in a lot of Indian dishes, plus they’re filling and super satisfying.
- Lentils – Lentils are great in the kitchen because they cook quickly and are pretty versatile. Plus, they have a meatier taste than other legumes, so they can be used in burgers as well as soups and chili.
- Black Beans – Who doesn’t love black beans? They are a great source of complex carbohydrates and can go in just about anything.
- Lima beans – These are the unsung fiber heroes of the legume world. They can be prepared in a lot of ways even though many people have bad memories of them from grade school lunch. Take another look at lima beans!