Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that can be found in plant-based foods. However, unlike other carbohydrates such as starch, your body is not able to fully break down fiber and convert it to simple sugars for energy.
Fiber has to pass through undigested until it reaches the colon. Fiber then performs its specific functions depending on what type of fiber it is – soluble, insoluble, or prebiotic.
Soluble fibers dissolve in water and take on a viscous texture. Soluble fibers combine with partially digested foods as it reaches the colon to help them pass through the rest of your digestive system more efficiently.
Soluble fibers promote a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure, and regulating blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Foods that are rich in soluble fiber include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Black beans
- Whole-grain oats
Unlike its soluble counterpart, insoluble fiber retains water as it enters the digestive system and sweep waste through the colon. Call it your body’s “digestive broom.”
Insoluble fibers prevent constipation and hemorrhoids by giving bulk to the stool. This type of fiber also helps reduce your risk for colorectal cancer by improving your body’s ability to remove waste from the digestive tract. The shorter the time waste spends inside your body, the less chance there is for toxins to seep through your intestinal walls and into the bloodstream.
Foods that are rich in insoluble fiber include:
- Kidney beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Wheat bran
- Whole-wheat bread
Some soluble fibers are prebiotic, meaning they can be fermented into energy sources for good bacteria, or otherwise called probiotics. Your large intestine is home to more bacteria (both good and bad) than any other part of your body. Prebiotics help regulate bad bacteria levels by feeding probiotics which contributes to better gut and overall health.
Foods that are rich in prebiotic fiber include:
- Onions and leeks
- Globe artichoke
- Dandelion root
- Chicory root
A Beginner-Friendly High Fiber Diet Plan
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics classifies food as high-fiber if it contains at least 5 grams of fiber or more. Here is what an ideal high-fiber diet looks like from breakfast to dinner.
- Breakfast Bowl with Tomato, Avocado, and Egg (7 grams)
- Sweet Corn Oatmeal with Peaches (6 grams)
- Whole Grain Bran Muffins (7 grams)
- Feta Herb Edamame Succotash (7 grams)
- Tuna Quinoa Toss (6 grams)
- Turkey and Swiss Wrap with Carrot Salad (10 grams)
- Whole Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl (10 grams)
- Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Salad (6.3 grams)
- Double Barley Posole (13 grams)
Read the full article by Cooking Light here to see more high-fiber diet plans and recipes.