Natural high fiber foods are a great preventative medicine. Eating natural high fiber foods improves your colon function, regularity and cardiovascular health, and also helps you maintain the proper weight or lose weight by reducing your appetite. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which foods are naturally high in fiber, though. Following is a discussion of some good choices.
Natural high fiber foods fall into one of several categories: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and grains. Fruits that are naturally high in fiber include bananas, berries, apples, pears, and dried figs. By merely throwing a cup full of raspberries, blueberries or blackberries on your morning cereal, or cutting up a banana and doing the same, or having a pear, an apple or a handful of dried figs as your afternoon snack in place of a couple of cookies, you’re adding natural high fiber foods in significant amounts without even having to think about it much. In addition, if you drink orange juice choose the kind with pulp, because that’s what pulp is–natural fiber.
Natural high fiber foods in the vegetable family include brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, carrots, lima beans, and greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens or beet greens. All of these foods also offer many health benefits in addition to being natural high fiber foods, so anyone who is concerned with health should make them a regular part of his or her diet.
Natural high fiber foods in the legume family include peas (both green and black-eyed), lentils, and beans of all kind, including black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans, garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas), and great northern beans. Although baked beans can have a lot of additives to them like sugar, molasses, bacon or pork fat, they also still are naturally high in fiber so if you’re trying to get more fiber into a finicky child’s diet, this may be a good way to go. Also, take note that if you’re on a low carb diet, it’s very important to add fiber through vegetables or you may have unpleasant digestive side effects.
Grains can be natural high fiber foods as well, although you have to be careful with packaged or processed grain products that may misrepresent the amount of fiber in them. Truly natural high fiber foods in the grain family include sweet corn, popcorn, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, and spelt, and pumpernickel, seven-grain, or whole grain breads.
Finally, nuts can also be great natural high fiber foods, especially if, as noted earlier, you’re on a low carbohydrate diet. Nuts and seeds with a good amount of fiber in them include almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, chestnuts, pistachios, and peanuts (which technically are a legume but are always lumped in with tree nuts at the grocery store). Nuts also have a good amount of protein in them, making them a great choice as a snack for vegetarians, but beware that some nuts are very caloric so you can’t eat endless amounts of them without negating their health benefits.