Dietary fibers are the indigestible parts of plants that reduce cholesterol levels by absorbing cholesterol in your intestines. Fiber also slows down nutrient absorption to prevent high glucose levels, provides bulk in your feces to prevent constipation, and provides satiety so you do not overeat. Adequate fiber intake prevents heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, and skin. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you eat between 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day.
Whole Grain Breads, Pastas and Rice
This food group contains large amounts of insoluble fiber as well as different B-vitamins. Insoluble fiber provides bulk in your feces and maintains pH balance in your intestines to prevent abdominal cramps and colon cancer. Whole grain foods are unprocessed and contain most of their original vitamins, minerals and fiber contents. Former nutrition professor Gordon Wardlaw of Ohio State University recommends that you consume two to three servings of whole grains per meal. One cup of brown rice contains 7 grams of fiber, and two slices of whole wheat bread contains 4 grams of fiber.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and most tuberous and root vegetables contain mostly soluble fiber in the flesh and insoluble fibers in the skin. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes a viscous pulp that slows down glucose and nutrient absorption into your intestines. These foods are low in calories, rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and more economic than animal-based foods. One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber, while one medium banana contains 3 grams of fiber. One medium potato contain 3 grams of fiber, and one cup of cooked broccoli contain 5 grams of fiber.
Legumes include nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and peas that are rich in carbohydrates, unsaturated fats and protein. According to the Mayo Clinic, they have the highest amount of fiber per serving in any food group. One cup of cooked lentils or black beans contain 15.6 grams of fiber, and two ounces of almonds contain 7 grams of fiber. You can add nuts and seeds to cakes, yogurts, or ice-creams to increase your fiber intake or substitute them with candy or cookies as snacks.
- "Perspective in Nutrition"; Gordon M. Wardlaw; 2002
- "Mayo Clinic"; High-Fiber Foods