The American Heart Association recommends diets high in soluble fiber if you are aiming to lower your cholesterol. Vegetarians who eat well-planned meals with high-fiber vegetables and whole grains have diets that are naturally high in fiber. Vegetarians who do not eat balanced meals and eat refined carbohydrates instead of vegetables, lack good sources of fiber in their diet. The Institute of Medicine suggests that women eat 21 to 25 grams of fiber daily, and men should eat 30 to 38 grams daily.
The foods with the highest amount of fiber are flaxseed. According to the University of Illinois, flaxseed offers 25 to 38 grams of fiber. It is ideal for vegetarians because it is high in protein and omega-3 oils to replace fish oils, which are healthy in any diet. Flaxseed is a small seed approximately the size of a sesame seed, brown or yellow and hard to chew. Because it is more difficult for your body to digest its nutrients when it is whole, it is usually ground and used as flour or as a meal topper to add a nutty flavor to foods. You can easily grind them with a coffee grinder. Flaxseed is also high in potassium and folic acid. The university also states that flaxseeds contain lignans and, flavonoids, phenolic acids that are anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Whole grains are high in fiber and important for a vegetarian’s protein intake. Vegetarians tend to eat whole grains and beans -- both of which are high in fiber -- to complement their proteins, so that their bodies process them as complete proteins. Whole-grain pasta and barley can contain up to almost 6 grams of fiber per cooked cup, according to the USDA. Whole grain breads are a great base for a vegetable sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, and barley is a great addition to vegetable soups.
Fiber in Fruits
If you eat 1 cup of raspberries, you will be consuming 8 grams of your daily recommended fiber intake, according to the USDA. If you eat one medium pear with its skin, you will eat 5.5 grams of fiber. The third most fibrous fruit is an apple. If you eat one medium-sized apple with its skin, you will have about 4.4 grams of fiber. Fruit is a great addition to oatmeal, another high fiber grain.
Fiber in Vegetables
The USDA reports that some of the most fibrous vegetables are artichokes, peas and broccoli. One medium-sized, steamed artichoke heart can provide you with about 10 grams of fiber. If you eat 1 cup of cooked peas, you will gain 8.8 grams of fiber, and if you eat 1 cup of boiled broccoli, you will intake 5.1 grams of fiber. Vegetables can be tossed into stir-fry with rice and added to soups with barley.
- American Heart Association: Cholesterol, Fiber and Oat Bran
- Institute of Medicine: Macronutrients -- Fiber Intake
- University of Illinois: Flax Seeds and Nutritional Needs
- USDA: Pearl Barley, Cooked
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Fiber Content of Fruits
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Fiber Content of Vegetables