A high-fiber diet offers many health benefits. A high-fiber diet may lower cholesterol, help relieve constipation and assist in weight loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, adding dietary fiber may decrease the risk for heart disease and diabetes. Foods high in fiber also offer other healthy nutrients that will contribute to a healthier lifestyle. The many high-fiber food choices make it easy to add to your diet.
Whole grain foods offer more health benefits than grains that have been refined. When grains are refined, the bran is removed, resulting in a lower-fiber content. Choose the whole grain version of your favorite foods when possible. Whole wheat bread, pasta, crackers and tortillas are readily available at the supermarket. Other whole grains to add to a high fiber diet include bulgur, barley, oatmeal and brown rice. Whole grain flour may be substituted for part of the white flour generally used in baking.
Many fruits are high in fiber. As a general rule, you should keep the skin on the fruit when possible, as it contains the highest content of fiber. Many types of berries are high in fiber, including raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. Other fruits that rank high in fiber content are prunes, oranges, apples with the peel, pears with the peel and figs. A fruit salad works well with any meal. Berries can be added to cereal or salads. Fruits also make a good replacement for dessert because they have the sweet flavor without the fat and calories.
Everyone knows they should eat vegetables. Adding fiber to your diet is another benefit of piling your plate with vegetables. Broccoli, green beans, carrots and sweet potatoes are good vegetable choices with high fiber content. Steaming vegetables helps retain more of the nutritional value. Try adding vegetables to dishes you already prepare such as rice, casseroles or pasta.
Beans and Legumes
Not only are beans and legumes high in dietary fiber, they also offer protein and good fat needed by the body. Beans and legumes are an affordable purchase at the supermarket and lend themselves well to many different dishes. Split peas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans and pinto beans offer a high amount of fiber. Beans and legumes work well in soups, casseroles and Mexican dishes. They can be used as the base of homemade vegetarian burgers.
Nuts and Seeds
While nuts have a high fat and calorie content, they also offer a lot of nutritional value. Fiber is one of the benefits of adding nuts to your diet. Nuts and seeds make a quick snack and can be added to salads, yogurt and other dishes. Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, peanuts and sunflower seeds are a few of the high fiber nut and seed options.
High Fiber Snacks
Hummus is a dip made from garbanzo beans and goes well with vegetables, whole grain crackers or whole grain tortillas. Popcorn from an air popper contains fiber and is low in fat and calories if you skip the butter. Spread peanut butter or another nut butter on whole wheat crackers. Peanut butter also makes an easy dip for sliced apples. Make a snack mix with whole grain cereal, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Mix high fiber fruits into a serving of yogurt. Flaxseeds or bran cereal are high fiber options to add crunch to your yogurt.