Despite its popular association with trips to the restroom, fiber is no joke. The benefits of an efficient bowel aside, a high- fiber diet can also reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension , and heart disease . Unfortunately, fiber consumption is currently at an all-time low, with less than three percent of Americans meeting the recommended intake
Fiber is something the body needs but never actually digests —in fact, it remains more or less the same from plate to toilet. It comes in two varieties, soluble and insoluble, and most plant-based foods contain a mixture of the two. Soluble fiber turns to gel in the stomach and slows digestion , which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose . Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, remains unchanged all the way to the colon, making waste heavier and softer so it can shimmy through the intestines more easily. Regardless of these differences, neither type of fiber is ever absorbed into the body.
The Best High-Fiber Foods~
1. Split Peas
Fiber: 16.3 grams per cup, cooked. Go-To Recipe: Spinach and Yellow Split Pea Soup A staple in Indian cooking, split peas form a terrific, protein-rich base for soups, stews, and dhals . This South Asian recipe is the best kind of comfort food: healthy, satisfying, and super filling.
Fiber: 15.6 grams per cup, cooked. Go-To Recipe: Lentil Quinoa Burgers with Sautéed Mushrooms Lentils are kitchen all-stars— they take less time to cook and are more versatile than many other legumes. This recipe takes advantage of their slightly meatier taste and turns them into a juicy patty that’s held together with lemon juice, cilantro, and walnuts.
3. Black Beans
Fiber: 15 grams per cup, cooked. Go-To Recipe: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili Sweet potato pairs perfectly with the smokiness of chipotle peppers and adds even more fiber to this hearty bean dish. Loaded with complex carbs and protein, this cold-weather stew makes a perfect post-workout meal.
4. Lima Beans
Fiber: 13.2 grams per cup, cooked. Go-To Recipe: Leek and Lima Bean Soup with Bacon Lima beans might sound unappetizing, but when cooked in bacon fat, paired with leeks, puréed into a soup, and topped with sour cream, they’re pretty darn delicious.
Fiber: 10.3 grams per medium vegetable, cooked. Go-To Recipe: Roasted Artichokes for Two Packing more fiber per serving than any other vegetable, artichokes are curiously underused in most people’s kitchens (perhaps because they look a bit… prickly). Get creative and try this simple recipe with lime, garlic, and black pepper.