Fiber is an essential part of any smart dieter’s diet. After all, fiber is only found in plants, meaning that you won’t get it from even the healthiest lean meats and other components of your diet.
Though your body doesn’t actually digest it, it requires fiber to regulate the speed of digestion, help you feel full, and keep your cardiovascular system healthy. And while most dieters understand that they should be eating fiber, few understand the best sources. Many don’t understand that there are lots of less common foods that also pack a powerful fiber punch.
In this article, we explore the basics of fiber and tell you about 5 fiber-rich foods you probably aren’t eating, but should.
The basics of fiber
There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble:
- Soluble – soluble fiber dissolves, as the name suggests. Its primary purpose is to lower cholesterol.
- Insoluble fiber – insoluble fiber never dissolves, no matter how far it travels through your digestive system. Its primary purpose is to keep your digestive system healthy.
All high-fiber foods will help you feel satiated. And when you eat the right amounts, you can avoid the bloating and gas often associated with a high fiber intake and get all of the benefits without the unpleasant side effects.
5 high-fiber foods you aren’t eating, but should
Here are 5 high-fiber foods you probably aren’t eating, but should incorporate into your diet:
- Split peas – split peas contain 16.3 grams of fiber per cup when cooked. They’re most often used in foreign dishes, especially Indian food. However, they can also be made into a tasty split pea soup that keeps you feeling full for hours!
- Lentils – lentils contain 15.6 grams of fiber per cup when cooked. And though many dieters regularly eat beans of some kind, few consume lentils in similar quantities. Lentils are incredibly versatile and can be made into rice dishes, burgers, soups, and other recipes. The best part is that you can cook lentils into recipes you already enjoy to increase your fiber intake without compromising your favorite meals.
- Artichokes – did you know that artichokes contain 10.3 grams of fiber per medium vegetable when cooked? In fact, artichokes are amongst the highest-fiber vegetable, and are simple to prepare when you know how to do it! You can roast artichokes with simple seasonings for a delicious side dish to your meals.
- Peas – peas are another great source of fiber, packing a powerful 8.8 grams per cup when cooked. The best part about peas is that you can easily purée them and add them to other dishes or on top of protein sources.
- Raspberries – raspberries are the only fruit on this list, but they contain 8 grams of fiber per cup when raw. Delicious and sweet, you can eat raspberries on oatmeal, with nice cream, or on their own!