Many nutritionists and health experts are quick to tote the many virtues of dietary fiber. Natural sources of fiber come from plants, made up of the indigestible roughage that comes along with the nutritional components. Eating a good amount of high-fiber diet foods can help decrease constipation, improve digestion, soothe or prevent hemorrhoid flares, can lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and may even aid weight loss efforts. With so many benefits available, knowing some of the fruits, vegetables, and grains qualify as high-fiber diet foods can help jump start a healthier eating plan immediately.
The large family of cereal grains is a great place to start the hunt for high-fiber diet foods. In particular, barley, bran, oats, and brown rice are excellent sources of dietary fiber. While eating these grains in many forms can provide a boost to fiber intake, it is important to avoid pre-packaged cereals that boast of fiber content while packing a walloping punch of sugar, sodium, and fat. These agents can counteract the benefits of high-fiber diet foods such as cereal grains, making it important to examine the whole nutritional label before trying a new product.
Some of the best sources of high-fiber diet foods are the many members of the bean family. One cup (236 ml) of cooked lentils can have more than 15 grams of fiber, which is about half the amount that some health authorities recommend daily for adults. Black beans, lima beans, navy beans, and even tasty baked beans are also excellent high-fiber diet foods.
In the kingdom of the fruit, high-fiber diet foods may depend on preparation. Apples and pears, for instance, can feature relatively high-fiber counts, but only if they are eaten with the skin on. For those looking to improve their overall food habits, some nutritionists recommend buying only organic pears and apples if planning to eat the skins, as skins on conventionally grown fruits can contain high levels of pesticides. Raspberries, strawberries, and bananas are also good high-fiber diet foods.
If reaching into the vegetable drawer for high-fiber diet foods sounds appetizing, consider the prickly but fiber-packed artichoke. One medium artichoke can pack more than 10 grams of fiber, and is one of the best vegetables for a high-fiber diet. Avocados, though high in unsaturated fat, also pack a good deal of fiber into their chipper green interiors. Kale, peas, and winter squash are also excellent for a fiber-filled meal.