Dietary fibers are indigestible components in plant-based foods, commonly referred to as roughage. These carbohydrates, which maintain structure and shape in plants, can not be broken down by human digestion. Fiber regulates appetite by adding bulk to food without increasing caloric intake or contributing to glucose levels.
Insoluble fibers regulate digestion and alleviate constipation by clearing passage through digestive tracts. Soluble fibers support cardiovascular health by promoting cholesterol metabolism and regulating blood sugar balance. Fermentable fibers pass through the stomach and small intestine unscathed by digestive fluids and enzymes, to promote growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine where they are metabolized into fatty acids.
Optimal Food Sources for Fiber
- Beans and legumes (white/navy, peas, lentils, pinto, black, lima, kidney)
- Raspberries and blackberries
- Greens (collards, turnip greens, beet greens, spinach, brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, okra, mustard greens, kale, lettuce, bok choy)
- Soy products (tempeh, miso, soybeans)
- Grains (wheat, bran, barley, flaxseed, chia seed, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, oats)
- Herbs (cinnamon, fennel, chili pepper, black pepper, clove, parsley, tumeric, oregano, thyme)
- Squash (acorn, butternut, winter, pumpkin, summer, eggplant)
- Artichoke, broccoli, asparagus, celery, carrot, cauliflower, tomato, avocado and mushrooms
- Cranberries, orange, strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, pineapple and grapefruit
- Pear, papaya, coconut, apple, banana, cantaloupe, plum and apricot