Fiber plays a key role for digestion, weight loss, and cancer prevention, and can even increase lifespan! But don’t be fooled—many packaged food companies are trying to boost sales by adding extra fiber to their gummy candy or yogurt, but the best source of fiber is plants themselves! Yes, natural fiber is found only in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. So make sure you’re filling your plate with whole, plant-based foods.
What is fiber?
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in oats, beans and other legumes, and some fruits and vegetables. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber—found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, kidney beans, and bran—acts like a broom, cleaning your digestive tract.
4 Reason Why Hearts Love Fiber
1. Helps promote healthy cholesterol levels, particularly the LDL (bad) cholesterol.
2. Helps support normal, healthy blood pressure.
3. Supports healthy blood glucose levels. This is important for people at risk of heart disease, in addition to those who are diabetic.
4. Helps with weight management by promoting satiety (feeling of fullness), reducing cravings and helping to reduce food intake.
High-Fibre Foods You Should Be Eating More
Apples: Add fibre to the list of ways that an apple a day could keep the doctor away — this fruit is an inexpensive and easily available source of fibre. As with other fruits and veggies with edible peels, eat your apple au naturale.
Carrots: Here’s another childhood classic that really was good for you. Along with being a great source of betacarotene, carrots are a source of fibre—a 100-gram serving of raw baby carrots has 2.9 grams of fibre, and a half cup of cooked carrots has 2.3 grams.
Beans: Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…and your colon. These nutritional superstars are full of fibre—for example, cooked black beans have 15 grams per one-cup serving, and white beans have a whopping 18.6 grams in the same amount. Up your bean intake slowly if you’re not used to eating them, to give your digestive system time to adjust.
Broccoli: You should have listened to your parents when they told you to eat your broccoli. A cup of chopped raw broccoli has 2.4 grams of fibre, along with a huge dose of vitamin C and vitamin K. If you’re cooking it, don’t overcook — steam or saute until it’s bright green, and leave a bit of bite to help maintain some of the fibre and nutrients.
Pears: There’s a reason that parents give babies stewed pears when they’re stopped up — one medium pear has 5.5 grams of fibre, which definitely goes a long way towards getting things moving along.