Dietary fibers play a crucial role in your body's healthy functioning. Wondering why they are so important and where can you get them from? Keep reading to find out about 20 fiber rich food items and the role they play in maintaining your metabolism.
What Is Fiber?
Dietary fiber, a.k.a. roughage, is an essential carbohydrate that includes vegetables, plants, fruits and legumes. High fiber food helps maintain bowel health and keeps you full for a longer time. However, your body can't fully digest or break it down. Undigested fiber flushes out harmful carcinogens and cholesterol from your digestive tract.
The daily fiber intake recommended by The Institute of Medicine is given below:
Types of Fiber
There are two categories of fiber with different health benefits:
1) Soluble Fiber:
This type of fiber absorbs water and transforms into a gel-type substance during digestion. This gel slows down your digestive process, makes you feel fuller quickly. It thus helps in losing weight. Soluble fiber rich food includes oats, legumes, edible plant skins, peas, beans, fruits, barley, nuts, etc.
2) Insoluble Fiber:
It doesn’t dissolve into water. Instead, it repels water and remains unchanged during the digestion process. Insoluble fiber-rich foods such as whole-wheat flour, nuts, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, etc., help ease bowel movements.
Fiber Rich Foods in India
Here is a high fiber Indian food list along with their health benefits:
This fruit is loaded with soluble fiber. An apple of medium size contains about 4 grams of fiber. It helps in treating diabetes and reduces the risk of gallstones. It also helps decrease the cholesterol level of your body, thereby leading to weight loss.
Apples consist of polyphenols (a micronutrient) that may help in lowering blood pressure and stroke risk. They also contain antioxidants, which help in preventing cataracts. They are best to control sudden hunger cravings.
2) Banana (Peeled)
Bananas are rich in insoluble fiber. They slow down your digestion process and make you feel full for longer. According to a study, bananas and other fiber rich fruits reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other heart diseases.
A banana, when had before a workout, gives enough energy to exercise more and stay active. Along with fiber, It contains potassium that helps in building muscles.
It is rich in soluble fiber and removes toxins from your colon. It helps in weight loss by making you feel satiated. Guava contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which protect the body from harmful radicals and excessive burn of body fat.
One medium-sized guava contains approximately 8.9 grams of fiber. It provides 12% of your recommended daily fiber intake.
4) Pears (Nashpati)
Pears are not only tasty fiber rich fruits in India but also contain antioxidants and Vitamin C. They protect you from radicals by strengthening your immune system.
Pears also contain boron that protects you from osteoporosis and maintains your bone health. The glucose content of pears gives you energy and keeps you active.
5) Dried Fruits
Dry fruits such as figs, prunes and dates contain high quantities of fiber. These are recommended to people having constipation problems as they contain a sugar called sorbitol that helps in easy bowel movement.
Dried figs also contain zinc, magnesium, iron and manganese, which balance hormonal changes and help women cope with menstrual problems. These are made up of insoluble fiber, so they are best to balance cholesterol levels.
You can add them to your smoothies or oatmeal or have them with your cereal. However, avoid overeating them because that may result in cramping or diarrhea.
Nuts such as almonds and sunflower seeds contain healthy fats and more than 3 grams of fiber in a serving. Avoid over-eating these as it may lead to gas, bloating, and digestive issues.
Lentils (dal) and other beans are plant-based protein and contain high dietary fibre. You can add them to your soups, stews and salads. Steamed soybean is a great snack if you’re looking for high fiber snacks. The high fibre and carbohydrate in dals and beans give you prolonged energy.
A cup of chopped broccoli contains around 5 grams of fiber. It supports your gut and keeps it healthy and balanced by boosting the healthy gut bacteria. It also improves your skin and texture. This vegetable has anti-inflammatory properties that protect the blood vessel linings and keep your heart healthy.
It keeps you satiated and helps you in building lean muscles. You can bake or sauté broccoli with other veggies and have them as part of your full meals. You can also make broccoli soup that is great for weight loss.
Coconut contains insoluble dietary fiber and healthy fatty acids such as MCFA. It helps reduce your cholesterol level and improve your heart health. Because of its low glycemic index, coconut reduces the risk of diabetes and lowers your blood sugar levels.
Coconut boosts the metabolic rate, thereby helping you burn calories and fat faster. You can directly eat coconut or add grated fresh coconut over your oatmeal or smoothie.
Carrots consist of soluble and insoluble fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. They prevent night blindness and other eye-related problems.
Carrots also contain carotenoids that lower your blood sugar levels and control diabetes. They have low calories, so they are extremely helpful in reducing your calorie intake.
You can make carrot soup or add the vegetable to your salads, smoothies, meals or juices.
11) Sweet Potato (Shakarkand)
The essential vitamins such as C and D present in sweet potatoes give you healthy skin and strong bones. They promote healthy heart functioning and relieve stress. Sweet potatoes also have carotenoids, which improve your immunity and prevent aging.
They contain both types of fibres, i.e., soluble and insoluble, that immediately fills you up and controls your hunger. You can roast them with spices or make sweet potato fruit chaat by adding fruits like apples and grapes.
Along with both soluble and insoluble fibres, eggplant has phenolic compounds that help to promote stronger bone health and prevent osteoporosis. It also has iron content that helps in preventing anemia. Its fiber content prevents constipation and aids in weight loss.
You can make various types of dishes with eggplant. A famous traditional Indian eggplant recipe is “baigan ka bharta”. It is prepared by adding other veggies such as onion and tomatoes to mashed eggplant.
Onions are amongst one of the highest fiber rich vegetables in India. They also contain quercetin (an essential compound) that prevents the formation of cancerous cells in your body.
Onions make your immunity system stronger and healthier. They control blood sugar levels and thus lower the risk of diabetes. The antioxidant properties of onion burn fat and aid in weight loss.
You can add onions to your veggies and salads.
It keeps your eyes healthy by preventing several eye-related problems such as macular degeneration. It also helps in lowering the cholesterol level in your body. Papaya reduces aging effects and protects you against arthritis.
Cauliflower can fulfill 10 percent of your body’s daily fibre needs. It contains choline, which improves your brain health. It reduces the risk of cancer by killing tumor cells.
Cauliflower boosts immunity and reduces signs of aging, such as skin wrinkles. It is effective for weight loss as well.
You can include cauliflowers in your diet by mixing them with other veggies.
16) Green Peas
The high fiber content of peas helps treat diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, eye problems, etc. It also helps in making collagen that gives you healthy and wrinkle-free skin.
As these are rich in insoluble fiber and low in calories, you can have them as much as you want without worrying about your daily calorie count. This helps maintain your weight by reducing excessive fat.
You can add green peas to your veggies and soups.
17) Cluster Beans (Guvar Fali)
Cluster beans have loads of soluble fiber. They are helpful in treating anemia. The beans protect your bones and teeth and make them stronger. They have a low glycemic index and hence slow down the digestive process, which ultimately helps you with weight loss.
18) Parsnip (Chukander)
Parsnip has a high quantity of soluble fiber content that helps control blood sugar levels. It aids in weight loss by burning extra fat. It protects your heart, boosts immunity and maintains blood pressure in your body.
Parsnips are also beneficial to boost eye health and prevent congenital disabilities. You can eat them with salads. They provide good color, crunch and taste.
It boosts your brain health and makes you more active by accelerating your concentration power. It increases keratin production and improves your hair and skin health. It also balances blood sugar levels in your body. Its soluble fiber content is incredible for weight loss.
You can have cabbage in your soup or salads. You can also add it to your noodles or other veggies.
20) Chia Seeds
Chia seeds keep you satiated for a longer period as they contain high soluble fiber. They reduce frequent food cravings and appetite. They improve your metabolic rate and give you high energy to exercise harder.
Chia seeds help in reducing inflammation and also prevent premature aging symptoms. You can take chia seeds with water or add them to your smoothies, shakes, oatmeal, etc.
Summing Up on Fiber Rich Foods in India
It is evident that fiber is the ultimate solution to improving your digestive system and preventing obesity. It promotes fermentation and gas formation and makes stools easier to pass. However, that's also the reason why too much fiber intake could negatively affect your digestive system.
So, a fiber rich Indian diet should not exceed more than the recommended limit as it may lead to bloating, diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, other digestive problems and intestinal blockage in rare cases. You can prevent the side-effects of excessive fiber intake by:
- reducing fiber quantity in your diet
- increasing water or fluid intake
- focusing on exercising more
- avoiding having food that causes bloating or indigestion, such as chewing gum.
Junk food has currently taken the place of fibrous snacks, due to which people are suffering from multiple types of diseases, especially obesity. You can easily avoid obesity with a diet full of fiber.
A fiber enriched diet provides countless other benefits such as preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis and decreasing blood cholesterol levels. Hence, you should include the above high fiber Indian foods in your diet to fulfill your daily intake. Aim to add varieties of fiber to your regular meals as well as your snacks.
Q. Are Bananas High in Fiber?
A. Yes, bananas are a rich source of fiber. Green bananas contain resistant starch that works as soluble fiber and helps relieve constipation. One medium banana has 3 grams of fiber. As this fruit ripens, the fiber decreases and sugar content increases.
Q. Is Rice High in Fiber?
A. Not all types of rice are high in fiber. However, brown rice is particularly rich in fiber.
Q. Are Carrots High in Fiber?
A. Yes, carrots have fiber in abundance. A cup of chopped raw carrots provides almost 4 grams of fiber. You can add them to your salads and veggies. You can munch on carrots to curb uninvited food cravings.
Q. What Are High Fiber Snacks?
A. High fiber snacks include jicama, pear, avocados, almonds, popcorn, oat bran, wheat germ, whole-grain bread, all beans, legumes and quinoa.