The Most Surprising Fiber-Rich Foods
By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
We have talked about fiber and juicing but what about the best sources of high fiber foods to include in your diet when you aren’t juicing? Fiber is an essential part of any healthy diet and is important for healthy digestion, blood sugar control, microbial gut health, bowel health, cholesterol regulation, weight control and stool formation.
There are 3 types of fiber that are important for good health:
- Insoluble fiber: Adds bulk to the stool, helps to keep the bowels regular, fills you up and speeds up the passage of food through the digestive tract
- Soluble fiber: Acts as a prebiotic to support bacterial growth, digestive health, regulates blood sugar control, supports healthy cholesterol and slows the transit of food through the digestive tract and helps fill you up (Juices still contain this type of fiber)
- Resistant starch: Acts as a fiber since we do not ingest this type of starch, it supports gut bacterial health, helps to regulate glucose absorption, improves insulin sensitivity and improves satiety. Learn more about this special fiber
When we do not get enough fiber we are more likely to suffer with:
- Anal fissures and haemorrhoids
- Poor blood sugar control
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels
- Sluggish digestion
- Bloating & flatulence
- Excess hunger as fiber helps satiety (feeling satisfied after a meal)
As a practitioner I often hear patients tell me how they must eat plenty of bread, breakfast cereals and pasta to support a healthy fiber intake, but what many don’t realise, these are certainly not always the best sources. Did you know that just 1 pear has 6g while 2 slices of wholegrain bread contain 4g of fibre or ½ avocado has 6.5g of fiber while 1 ounce of breakfast bran contains between 5-7g per serving? Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables don’t have a huge advertising campaign behind them (except for us of course). Not only is the fiber content often higher but they are stock full of phytonutrients and antioxidants in comparison.
It is suggested that adults need to get between 25-30g of fiber per day!
So what are the best sources of high-fiber foods to include in your diet?
½ cup provides 8g of fiber
These are a great source of iron as well as fiber and work very well in a meatless meal. Here are some of my favorites: Lentil and Butternut squash curry, Lemon Mint Lentil Soup, Spring Lentil Vegetable Stew and another great dish Spiced Lentil and Red Pepper Soup.
- WHITE BEANS
½ cup provides 9.5g of fiber
This is a delicious bean that works well in many different dishes. Here’s a great easy Quick Skillet Beans & Greens or a Kale Pesto White Bean Dip, or one of my personal favorites a Greek Bean and Vegetable Soup to enjoy!
- BLACK BEANS
½ cup provides 7.5g of fiber
You can enjoy a fabulous black bean and red pepper soup or our acorn and black bean soup or try the black bean mango salad or enjoy a great lunch box that’s not so average.
1 cup provides 8g of fiber
Berries are a great source of fiber and so easy to consume. Here are some of the best Reboot Raspberry Recipes: Pink Sherbet Smoothie, Creamy Peanut Butter & Jam Smoothie or a Raspberry & Lime Mousse or try a Berry Smoothie Bowl.
1 medium cooked artichoke provides 10g of fiber
This is probably quite surprising for most people that artichokes are one of the best sources of fiber in the vegetable kingdom. Artichokes are simple to roast. Here is a great recipe.
- ACORN SQUASH
1 cup of cooked acorn squash provides 9g of fiber
Acorn squash is a delicious and consumed happily in our first few days of the Reboot program. Here is a classic Reboot recipe’ Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Mushroom and Sage or the Vegan Spinach & Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash. Both are excellent!
½ medium avocado provides 6.5g of fiber
This is easy enough to include in a healthy diet, they are delicious in dips, in a smoothie, in a salad and in many other meals. Some fantastic dishes that include avocado include our No-Mayo Raw Avocado Slaw, Protein-Rich Avocado Chia Smoothie or a fabulous Easiest Strawberry Avocado Salad.
1 medium pear provides 6g of fiber
Pears are a delicious addition to juices, smoothies and my all time favorite, salads. Here are some Reboot favourites: 5-Minute Gourmet Pear & Walnut Salad or a Creamy Celeriac & Pear Soup. Apples and oranges are also a favorite at 4g per serve.
- SWISS CHARD
1 cup of cooked Swiss Chard provides 4g fiber
Swiss chard is a delicious dark green leafy vegetable that works well in dishes and juices. A satisfying way to enjoy is in the One-Skillet Veggie Hash. Spinach and beet greens cooked also provides 4g while kale provides 3g and collard greens contain 5g.
- BRUSSEL SPROUTS
1 cup cooked provides 6g of fiber
Brussel sprouts are one of those foods that people often turn their nose up to but when cooked well, they can be absolutely delicious. Here is a delicious side that may make you change your mind if you aren’t a fan: Pear Roasted Brussels Sprouts or our Chili-Mint Brussels Sprouts.Other high fibre brassica vegetables include BROCCOLI at 1 cup provides 5g of fibre while cauliflower provides the same amount with cabbage providing 4g.
1 ounce of almonds provides 3g of fiber
Almonds and other nuts all provide between 2-4g of fiber per serving. 1 ounce is certainly easy to consume. Enjoy them with this Almond Cheese, Banana Almond Butter ‘Sushi Roll’ or our Almond Butter Banana Oat Smoothie.
- CHIA SEEDS
1 tablespoon of chia seeds provides 6g of fiber
Other seeds are also a great source of fiber such as flaxseeds at 2g per tablespoon or sesame seeds; ¼ cup contains 4g. Here are some wonderful ways to enjoy chia seeds with this Goji Berry ‘Nutella’ Chia Pudding, Protein-Rich Avocado Chia Smoothie or a Cinnamon Vanilla Chia Cereal.
Another great way to bump up your fiber is to include more vegetables in your meals by adding in grated vegetables into sauces and stews or adding your leftover vegetable pulp from your juices, I do this regularly to reduce waste and boost fiber content in our meals. When you juice you can collect the pulp in freezer bags and store in the freezer until needed.
With all these foods you can easily see that consuming a healthy plant-based diet supports a healthy fiber-rich diet.