It’s likely that even if you eat your fair share of veggies and in-season fruits, you might still not be getting enough of them. And that’s simply because you might not be eating enough of the right kind of fiber-filled produce.
But you need fiber. In fact, you probably need it more than you realize.
It really is a key nutrient. And fiber can do a lot to help you prevent a myriad of health concerns. Seriously, fiber can help you fight against heart health issues and obesity. Dietary fiber can also help with digestive concerns. But, first things first …
What Exactly Is Dietary Fiber?
Well, it does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to efficiently pushing food through your digestive tract. Essentially, fiber draws fluids from your body and then adds bulk to your stool. It keeps your digestive system working properly, making sure your body eliminates the waste it just doesn’t need.
So without enough fiber, your gut can really suffer, and your body could develop inflammatory responses to different stimuli. Fiber helps balance your gut bugs – increasing good bacteria and decreasing bad bacteria.
Furthermore, fiber helps keep your body running smoothly– it supports healthy bowel function, can help manage your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and it may even help reinforce your colon walls.
But, if you’re wondering how much fiber you should be getting each day, the number is around 25 grams for women and between 30 and 40 grams for men. Sadly, most of us get less than half of the appropriate amount.
Now, there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both fibers exist in all plant foods, but not in the same amounts.
When your body ingests soluble fiber, it becomes a sort of gel in the gut and helps slow down digestion. Soluble fiber could also help keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels regulated.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve. It remains unchanged in order to make your waste heavier and softer so it can move through your intestine with ease.
Can High Fiber Cereals Or Breads Help?
Not really. It’s just not the same. The added fiber in lectin-rich, super-processed foods just isn’t good for you when it comes down to it. The food industry wants you to believe you can get what your body needs from the garbage they’re trying to pedal, but as you know … It’s just hype.
So, where can you get enough soluble fiber and insoluble fiber?
Your Personal High Fiber, Plant Paradox-Friendly Shopping List
Each one of these fiber favorites packs over a whopping 10 grams of fiber. Not only that, but artichokes are also packed with vitamins – A, B, C, E, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, to name a few. Another benefit to adding the artichoke to your diet is its high antioxidant content. Plus, they’re delicious and fun to eat.
Believe it or not, the avocado packs even more fiber in its flesh than the artichoke … up to 10 ½ grams per cup. Like the artichoke, the avocado boasts significant amounts of vitamin C, E, and potassium, but it’s also got some serious folate.
But fiber isn’t the only great nutrient here. Turns out, avocados are also chock-full of good fats to help keep your cholesterol healthier and defend your body against certain heart health issues.
These little powerhouses are a good source of dietary fiber and can contain up to 8 grams of fiber per cup (depending on the berry, of course). Raspberries and blackberries are among the group of berries with the highest amounts of dietary fiber. And they’ve got all the vitamins A, C, and K you could hope for. Make sure if you opt for berries as a source of fiber, you do so only when they’re in-season.
This cruciferous and delicious veggie boasts about 5.1 grams of dietary fiber per cup (when boiled). Not only that, but a cup of cooked broccoli can give you as much vitamin C as a whole orange. It’s also chock-full of beta-carotene. And did you know that broccoli has vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6? How much more B could you ask for? It’s also a great source of iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium.
These crunchy, cruciferous green dreams have just over 7 ½ grams of fiber per cup! Of course, you can count on brussels sprouts to give you a healthy dose of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and K. But, did you know they’re also rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties? Overall, brussels sprouts are one of the best veggies out there.
Coconut is without a doubt one of my all-time favorite foods. Not only because it tastes so good, but also because it’s got about 7 grams of fiber per cup. Coconut’s a superfood when it comes to omega-6 fatty acid foods.
And you don’t just have to eat the meat – you can bake with coconut flour or sprinkle shredded coconut on top of grilled veggies. Yum yum! Just make sure you’re using UNSWEETENED coconut – a lot of dried coconut is loaded with sugar if you’re not careful.
Now, jicama is a special fave. Though it’s a root veggie, it happens to be really low in sugars and carbohydrates. But beyond that, jicama really packs in the fiber. In fact, jicama can get you around 25% of your daily fiber intake.
And jicama’s fiber is special because it’s got a prebiotic compound – oligofructose inulin. This compound is known to help your digestive organs out in a big way – mostly, it helps your good gut bugs grow and operate the best they can.
With over 8 grams of fiber per cup, okra is a real power player on the high-fiber veggies list. Beyond vitamins C and A, okra boasts a bunch of healthy minerals, like iron, phosphorous, and zinc – a mineral which most American could use a lot more of. Check out my Crispy Delicious Okra Chip recipe – you’ll love it. You can also read about okra extract.
In the same way you fill your car with the best possible fuel to make it run right, you’ve got to give your body the best foods out there so you can stay in tip-top shape. Fiber can get overlooked pretty easily. And the added fiber in processed foods just won’t cut the mustard here.
Do yourself a great service and find ways to incorporate the six foods above into your diet. They’re delicious, healthy, and can bring a real variety to your dinner table. So, eat up!
For more from Dr. Gundry, including healthy and delicious recipes, keep reading:
Brussels Sprouts You’ll Actually Eat (Recipe)
Okra Chip Recipe (so good, your kids will beg for more!)