Fiber is More Than a Hill of Beans

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Although legumes are a great source for fiber, fiber is more than just a hill of beans.

Fiber is a good source of nutrition and necessary to natural health. Fiber can be found in legumes, vegetables, fruits, cereals, grains, and nuts. There are also two types of dietary fiber—soluble and insoluble—and you need both in your diet because they offer valuable health benefits.

Soluble fiber is soluble in water, which means it swells when wet. Soluble fiber also helps to lower cholesterol levels, which aids in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and you need it to help maintain proper glucose levels, which is important in the prevention of diabetes.

Insoluble fiber acts just the opposite of soluble fiber in that it does not absorb water. Instead, insoluble fiber passes through our bodies in its original form. Like soluble fiber, insoluble fiber offers many health benefits but particularly to our intestines. Insoluble fiber decreases the risk of colon cancer, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis disease, and hemorrhoids.

Experts believe you need around 25 grams of fiber each day, but most people average 12 grams. To ensure you get enough fiber in your diet, here are three charts. The first one shows the top fifteen high-fiber foods, the second one shows some of the top fifteen soluble fiber foods, and the last chart shows some of the top fifteen insoluble fiber foods.

Top High Fiber Foods

Fiber Source

Serving Size

Fiber Content
(based on grams)

 Navy Beans, cooked 1 cup 19.1
 Whole Wheat Bran Cereal 1 cup 17.6
 Kidney Beans, canned 1 cup 16.4
 Split peas, cooked 1 cup 16.3
 Lentils, cooked 1 cup 15.6
 Refried Beans, canned 1 cup 13.4
 Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) 1 cup 12.5
 Prunes, uncooked and pitted 1 cup 12.1
 Asian pear 1 medium 9.9
 Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 9.3
 Artichoke Hearts, cooked 1 cup 9.1
 Guava, fresh 1 cup 8.9
 Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 8.2
 Raspberries, fresh 1 cup 8.0
 Blackberries, fresh 1 cup 7.6
 Brusell Sprouts, cooked 1 cup 6.4
Top Soluble Fiber Foods

Soluble Fiber Source

Serving Size

Fiber Content
(based on grams)

 Bran Cereal, 100% 1/2 cup 9.7
 Psyllium Seeds, ground 1 Tablespoon 5.0
 Brussels Sprouts, cooked  1/2 cup 3.0
 Whole Grain Bread 1 slice 2.8
 Apple 1 small 2.3
 Potato 1 small 2.2
 Pinto Beans, cooked 1/2 cup 2.2
 Grapefruit 1 medium 2.0
 Green Peas 1/2 cup 2.0
 Navy Beans, cooked 1/2 cup 2.0
 Orange 1 medium 2.0
 Prunes 1/4 cup 1.5
 Tangerine 1 medium 1.4
 Broccoli 1 stalk 1.3
 Plums 2 medium 1.3
 Rolled Oats, cooked 3/4 cup 1.3
 Summer Squash 1/2 cup 1.1
 Zucchini 1/2 cup 1.1
 Carrots, cooked 1/2 cup 1.0
 Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans) 1/2 cup 1.0
 Oatbran, cooked 1/2 cup 1.0
 Oatmeal, cooked 1/2 cup 1.0
 Peaches 1 medium 1.0
 Plums 1 medium 1.0
 Apricots 2 medium 0.9
 Grapefruit 1 medium 0.9
 Strawberries 3/4 cup 0.9
 Spaghetti or Egg Noodles, cooked 1/2 cup 0.8
Top Insoluble Fiber Foods

Insoluble Fiber Source

Serving Size

Fiber Content
(based on grams)

 Bran cereal 1/2 cup 9.7
 Kidney Beans 1/2 cup 4.0
 Lentils, cooked 2/3 cup 3.9
 White beans, cooked 1/2 cup 3.8
 Green Peas 1/2 cup 3.2
 Blackberries 1/2 cup 3.0
 Whole grain bread 1 slice 2.8
 Rye Wafers 3 wafers 2.2
 Popcorn, popped 3 cups 2.0
 Pear 1 small 1.9
 Rye Bread 1 slice 1.9
 Rolled Oats, cooked 3/4 cup 1.7
 Carrot 1 large 1.6
 Potato 1 small 1.6
 Strawberries 3/4 cup 1.5
 Corn 2/3 cup 1.4
 Graham Crackers 2 crackers 1.4
 Tomato 1 small 0.7
 Pineapple 1/2 cup 0.6
 Cornflakes 1 cup 0.5
 White Bread 1 slice 0.5

 

As mentioned, fiber foods are necessary for optimal total health. Try to incorporate fiber foods into each meal. In addition, when you add more fiber to your diet, increase the amount of water you drink. Otherwise, you will have bulk and no lubrication, which will result in constipation and distress. Water is important as it helps move everything along and aids the body in ridding itself of wastes.  

An easy way to know how much water you should drink is to take your weight and divide it in half. The halfed number is the number of ounces you need to drink each day. So, if I weigh 150 pounds, half is 75 pounds. The 75 pounds converts to 75 ounces, which is what I need to drink each day. (This is a guideline. If you eat alot of fresh vegetables and fruit, you probably need less water. If you eat alot of prepared or packaged foods and meat, you likely need more.) Also, don’t think drinking coffee or tea adds to your total water intake. It’s a diuretic and actually increases your need for water. So, for every cup of tea or coffee you drink, drink an extra cup of water.

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