The 12 Best High-Fiber Foods To Keep You Regular
Everyone has experienced constipation at some point or another. Once you’ve been constipated, chances are you’d rather not have it happen again. Not only is being “backed up” uncomfortable, but irregular bowel habits can lead to further discomfort from things like hemorrhoids, which just adds insult to injury. If you’d rather not go there, then changing your diet is one of the best ways to help keep you regular.
Dietary fiber, most often referred to as just fiber, provides structure to plants. Fiber is only found in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, whereas animal products don’t contain fiber. Fiber-rich foods can help prevent constipation and keep you regular, as well as providing other health benefits. So here are 12 of the best to keep you regular.
Legumes such as beans, dried peas, and lentils are packed with fiber. Just one cup of cooked lentils provides 16 grams of fiber, which is over half of the daily recommended amount of 25-30 grams. Any type of legume is going to be a great source of fiber, whether it’s chickpeas in a salad, pinto beans in chili, or black beans in tacos.
Not only is fiber beneficial for your gut health, but eating a fiber-rich diet may also help protect your heart. Diets rich in fiber are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease.
One of the highest-fiber fruits you can get, raspberries provide an impressive eight grams per cup. Part of the reason raspberries are so high in fiber is because of their tiny seeds. Other berries with seeds are also high in fiber, such as blackberries and strawberries.
Add raspberries to your morning cereal, top your yogurt with them or enjoy them as a healthy snack to help keep your digestive system happy. Not only that, but they’re rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which both act to fight harmful free radicals that can cause cell damage and inflammation.
Nuts are a great source of fiber as well as protein, both of which help keep you feeling full. Almonds are a convenient and portable snack to keep while traveling or enjoying time outdoors. One ounce (about a handful) of almonds provides three grams of fiber as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel, whereas insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water. Oats are one of the best sources of soluble fiber, which is especially beneficial for lowering levels of LDL cholesterol.
Plain oats are ideal because they don’t have added sugar. Top oatmeal with other high-fiber foods like fruit, nuts, and seeds to further boost the fiber content and help keep you regular.
Avocados probably don’t look like a high-fiber food because of their creamy texture, but don’t be fooled – one whole avocado provides 13 grams of fiber. The unsaturated fat in avocados is considered heart-healthy, making them a great choice for people with a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol. Add avocados to sandwiches, salads, smoothies, slice them on top of chili, or enjoy them plain with a sprinkle of salt.
6. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are a great source of fiber, with one small orange providing around 10% of the daily value for fiber. Citrus fruits are also a fantastic source of vitamin C, which can help your body absorb iron and prevent anemia.
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One medium pear provides six grams of fiber, which is almost a quarter of the daily recommended amount. Fiber also acts as a prebiotic, meaning it helps feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Maintaining a healthy gut flora can keep your digestive system feeling good. In fact, having an imbalance of these beneficial bacteria can cause symptoms like nausea, upset stomach, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
One of the most well-known constipation fighters, prunes have a long history of helping to fight constipation. Prunes contain a sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which isn’t well digested by the body. To aid in the digestion of sorbitol, the body pulls more water into the colon, which can have a laxative effect. As long as you don’t overdo it on the prunes, this laxative effect can be beneficial for those struggling with constipation or to help prevent it.
9. Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a nutrient powerhouse, as well as being a great source of fiber. 100 grams (around 3.5 ounces) provides a little over two grams of fiber. Spinach is rich in insoluble fiber, which can help speed up digestion and promote digestive regularity. Spinach is really versatile and easy to include with several different meals; add it to smoothies, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, salads, soups, and casseroles.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are another versatile source of fiber, as well as heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One tablespoon of chia seeds provides four grams of fiber and can be added to smoothies, stirred into yogurt, or used to make overnight oats for a super fiber-packed breakfast.
One medium artichoke provides seven grams of fiber, which is over a quarter of the daily recommended amount. Artichoke hearts are great on pizza and in salads, or you can eat their leaves dipped in melted butter for a delicious snack.
Artichokes are also rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help promote muscle relaxation. When the muscles of the intestines are relaxed, it can help promote regularity.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Eating sweet potatoes with the skin on provides around four grams of fiber. Sweet potatoes can be used in place of regular potatoes and eaten baked with toppings added, or cubed and added to other dishes. Try making healthy baked fries by tossing sweet potato slices in olive oil, sprinkling with salt, and baking them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they’re golden brown and crispy.
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