Fiber not only helps you lose weight, but it also keeps your intestines fit. There are a considerable number of them in these foods
You have probably heard or read the word fiber many times in connection with a healthy diet. And also that you should eat around 30 grams of it every day. The only question is: what exactly is fiber, and which foods contain a vast amount of it?
What Is Fiber?
Dietary fiber is indigestible food (fiber) from plant sources such as fruit, vegetables or grains. In the large intestine, fiber is partially broken down by intestinal bacteria. A distinction is made between the following two groups:
- Water-soluble fiber can be broken down by the intestinal bacteria and serve as “food”. They are mainly found in fruits and vegetables. In addition to fatty acids and acetic acid, decomposition produces numerous gases which can cause flatulence.
- Water-insoluble fiber cannot be broken down by bacteria and is excreted undigested. However, due to their high swelling capacity, they increase stool volume and thus support healthy intestinal activity. They are mainly found in cereal products such as oatmeal or whole-grain pasta.
Why Is Fiber So Important?
A high-fiber diet has a positive effect on your digestion. However, there are many other advantages:
- Dietary fiber binds harmful substances: In addition to fat, bile acid and cholesterol, dietary fiber can also bind harmful substances, which means that the body excretes them.
- Healthy intestinal flora: With water-soluble fiber, you “feed” the trillion of vital bacteria that live in your intestines. The decomposition processes produce short-chain fatty acids that positively affect your health, for example, your immune system.
- Cholesterol-lowering: On the one hand, the liver produces less of its cholesterol due to fiber. By binding the bile acid, less fat can be broken down, which means that your body absorbs less fat from food. In addition, fiber thins the pulp, which means that less fat comes into contact with the digestive surface of the small intestine. In other words: your body absorbs less fat.
- Reduced risk of obesity: According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), those who eat a lot of fiber have a lower risk of being very overweight (obesity), high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
- Natural satiety: Due to their high swelling capacity, dietary fiber increases the volume of food, which causes the stomach and intestines to stretch more, which quickly triggers a feeling of satiety. This also delays gastric emptying, which makes you complete for a long time. Perfect if you want to lose weight.
Which Foods Are High In Fiber?
Dietary fiber is only found in plant-based foods. According to the DGE recommendations, you should eat around 30 grams a day – at least. No problem with these high-fiber foods.
Berries score with their high fiber content and above all because of the secondary plant substances they contain, which give them their bright colors, among other things. The most important representatives are carotenoids, anthocyanins, and polyphenols, which act as antioxidants to protect your body from harmful influences and work against cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Overview of the fiber content of various berry fruits per 100 grams:
- Blueberries: 5 grams
- Raspberries: 5 grams
- Black currants: 7 grams
- Red currants: 4 grams
- Strawberries: 2 grams
100 gam oatmeal has 370 calories – that is not low in calories, but don’t panic: Oatmeal is still absolutely recommendable, both for athletes and those who want to lose weight. The insoluble fiber will keep you full for a long time because it swells up in the stomach. Therefore: drink a lot if you eat high in fiber!
Oat flakes are also one of the best magnesium suppliers (134 grams per 100 grams). Among other things, the mineral protects you from muscle cramps and improves your ability to regenerate after exercise. The carbs it contains also provide you with plenty of energy for your workout.
Quinoa is not only a good source of fiber, but it also provides high-quality vegetable protein and is, therefore, a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. In addition, the gluten-free pseudo-grain contains plenty of magnesium and lysine: the mineral magnesium has a crucial function in muscle contraction, and the amino acid lysine is a significant muscle and protein building block.
The high protein content and B vitamins in nuts ensure solid nerves and a good mood. When looking at the calorie and fat content, you also need strong nerves: A serving of nuts weighing 40 grams provides around 30 grams of fat and up to 300 calories. But the many unsaturated fatty acids are even healthy for the heart, blood vessels and circulation.
Overview of the fiber content of various nuts per 100 grams *:
- Almonds: 15 grams
- Peanuts: 11 grams
- Macadamia: 11 grams
- Pecans: 9 grams
- Hazelnut kernels: 8 grams
- Cashews: 3 grams
- Walnuts: 6 grams
* 1 serving / 1 handful of nuts corresponds to around 30 to 40 grams.
The best-known fiber is pectin, which is hidden in apples directly under the skin (so it is best not to peel it!). It acts as a natural appetite suppressant, as the swelling fiber signals satiety. An apple provides 3 to 4 grams of fiber (depending on its size).
Mushrooms are also excellent sources of fiber and can be prepared in various ways in the kitchen. In addition to mushrooms, you can also eat oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, porcini mushrooms or morels. All types of mushrooms are low in calories and carbohydrates, contain a lot of vegetable protein and, in addition to plenty of “ballast”, provide essential B vitamins that strengthen your nervous system and reduce stress.
The cabbage family are natural health boosters because they not only contain a lot of fiber, the combination of minerals and vitamins is also impressive: potassium, calcium and blood-forming iron, as well as vitamins from the group of B vitamins, vitamin K and vitamin E. frolic in the cabbage vegetables. Broccoli and cabbage are also very rich in vitamin C.
Overview of the fiber content of different types of cabbage per 100 grams:
- Broccoli: 3 grams
- Cauliflower: 3 grams
- Brussels sprouts: 4 grams
- White cabbage: 3 grams
- Chinese cabbage: 2 grams
- Kale: 4 grams
- Kohlrabi: 2 grams
Sauerkraut is indirectly included as a cabbage vegetable, as it is made from white cabbage. Still, we think it deserves a special place in our list because it scores twice in terms of health: In addition to the dietary fiber, it contains (4 grams per 100 grams), sauerkraut also contains lactic acid bacteria that arise naturally during production (fermentation). And they have a probiotic effect by stabilizing your intestinal flora, protecting the beneficial intestinal bacteria and fighting the harmful ones.
Dried plums are a popular home remedy for constipation – and it works. Eat 100 grams of dried, sulphurated plums throughout the day (it is best to soak them overnight in advance) or drink prune juice. But only eat so much of the dried fruits in exceptional cases because they also contain a lot of fructose.
Dried figs, apricots or dates are also delicious and contain a lot of fiber, but unfortunately also quite a lot of calories and, as already mentioned, fructose – so don’t eat as much of it. 3 to 4 pieces as a snack are ideal.
Overview of the fiber content of various dried fruits per 100 grams **:
- Dried plums: 18 grams
- Dried figs: 12 grams
- Dried apricots: 11 grams
- Dried apple (apple wedges): 11 grams
- Dried dates: 9 grams
- Dried cranberries: 6 grams
- Raisins: 5 grams
** 1 serving / 1 handful of dried fruits corresponds to around 30 to 40 grams.
With bulgur, you bring variety and plenty of filling fiber to your plate. 100 grams of raw bulgur provide around 9 to 13 grams of it. The “big brother” of couscous is also made from durum wheat semolina and, thanks to the gentle processing, is rich in B vitamins, iron and minerals.
Wheat Bran And Wheat Germ
One tablespoon of wheat germ alone contains 2 grams of fiber, a tablespoon of wheat bran even 3 grams. You should best enjoy germs and bran neat, for example, sprinkled over muesli. Bran and germs are a by-product of flour production and contain minerals and vitamins such as B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc and magnesium.
Pears are good sources of fiber. This is mainly due to their high content of lignin. Lignin is a fiber that helps break down cholesterol in the intestines. Above all, the substance lowers the “bad” LDL cholesterol. One pear provides around 5 grams of fiber.
Flax Seeds And Chia Seeds
Dietary fiber cannot be digested, but soluble fiber acts as a natural swelling substance that binds water and ensures a prolonged feeling of satiety. Therefore, incredibly crushed flax seeds are considered a miracle weapon against digestive problems: The dietary fiber it contains (6 grams per tablespoon) stimulates digestion and transports the contents towards the “end of the line”.
Chia seeds , known as superfoods, also contain plenty of fiber (around 5 grams per tablespoon) and can be used similarly to flax seeds, for example, as a muesli topping.
Whole Wheat Pasta And Whole Wheat Bread
White flour products (whether with bread or pasta) are usually real carbohydrate bombs – the whole grain variant, on the other hand, is healthy. Whole wheat noodles have fewer calories than regular pasta, but whole wheat noodles have clear advantages when it comes to fiber and protein content. A serving of whole wheat pasta (raw weight 100 grams) contains around 12 grams of fiber, a slice of whole wheat bread – depending on the variety – 2 to 5 grams.
Legumes not only contain plenty of healthy fiber but also plenty of vegetable protein and hardly any fat. Also in the luggage: a lot of B vitamins and the mineral zinc, which plays an important role not only for athletes but also for sexual performance.
Overview of the fiber content of various legumes per 100 grams:
- White beans: 23 grams (dry product) versus 4 grams (can)
- Peas: 6 grams (fresh / frozen / can)
- Chickpeas: 16 grams (dry product) versus 5 grams (can)
- Kidney beans: 25 grams (dry product) versus 5 grams (can)
- Lentils: 17 grams (dry product)
- Soybeans: 22 grams (dry product)
- Green beans: 3 grams (fresh/frozen)
It’s not that difficult to eat a diet rich in fiber, is it? If you have been eating low-fiber before, then gradually get used to the unusual strain with small amounts of your intestines and drink a lot with it, as the fiber can otherwise be complex for you to find in your stomach or intestines.