The two types of fiber in plant-based foods help digestion by dissolving easily or passing quickly through the digestive system. Soluble fiber forms a soft gel, while insoluble fiber moves through the stomach and colon, and keeps other food or waste moving too. Finding foods to eat that aid this process will preserve your colon health and may lower your chances of developing coronary heart disease, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Eat a wide variety of fiber foods for broader nutrition and lower calories than meat, fish and poultry menu items.
All fruits have some dietary fiber and help digestion as they pass quickly through the gastrointestinal tract. Enjoy apples, bananas, kiwis and pineapple for moderate amounts of fiber. The USDA Nutrient Database lists high-fiber fruits as foods to eat with 20 percent or greater total daily fiber values. These include Asian pears, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, domestic pears and strawberries.
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Not only do cooked vegetables such as high-fiber spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts help digestion, they have more nutritional value than raw veggies. While your body can digest raw vegetables, cooking softens their bulk, making carbohydrates, sugars, fats, proteins and soluble fiber easier to digest.
The National Institutes of Health explain that insoluble fiber content moves through your digestive system unchanged, helping the mucosa slough off dead cells and pushing or carrying waste through the intestine. Carrots, squash, cauliflower and all other vegetables contain moderate amounts of dietary fiber.
Whole grains such as brown rice contain carbohydrates, which are easily broken down, and fiber, to help digestion. Along with legumes, they also represent plant-based foods to eat as lowfat protein substitutes for meat.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest whole-wheat pasta, tortillas, bread, bagels, bulgur and couscous, as opposed to refined egg noodles and white breads. Other grain foods that pass quickly through the digestive system include cereals and baked goods made with whole oat, corn, rice, barley and wheat bran.
Beans and Peas
The legume family contains the highest-fiber foods to eat for digestive system health. Like some whole-grain cereals, lentils, split peas, soybeans and many cooked dry beans contain 40 percent or high portions of total daily fiber values, as per the USDA. Beans and peas that provide the greatest fiber benefit include navy, pinto, black, kidney and lima beans, as well as chickpeas and black-eyed peas.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.