By Mike Roussell, Ph.D Men's Fitness
One of the keys to unlocking a lifelong lean and healthy body is fueling your body with low impact high fiber foods. These are foods that contain ample amounts of fiber but don’t contain a lot of other carbohydrates that will send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. Fiber provides bulk to your diet allowing you to feel fuller while eating less calories (even though you will often be eating a larger volume of food). Fiber also acts as a speed bump for digestion, slowing the rate in which the nutrients enter your body; this is good for weight loss, sustained energy, and managing hunger. Here are 10 MUST EAT foods for maximizing your fiber intake.
Berries as not normally known for their high fiber content but 1 cup of raspberries contains as much fiber as 3 slices of most whole grain breads. Their sweet flavor makes them perfect for quenching sweet cravings without blowing your diet. Raspberries also contain over half your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
Known for their high levels of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados are also a great source of fiber. One avocado contains 9 grams of fiber, making it a perfect choice for guys on a carbohydrate restricted diet that are looking for more fiber.
Yes, the same seeds from the famous infomercial. Chia seeds are little nutrient packed balls full of omega-3 fats and fiber. 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5.5 grams of fiber. Add chia seeds to smoothies or sprinkle them on top of Greek yogurt.
Flaxseeds, like chia, are a very versatile omega-3 and fiber packed seed. Unlike chia seeds, make sure your flax is ground to ensure that your body can extract all the nutrients. In addition to 4 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoon serving flax also contain lignans, a special antioxidant that has anti-estrogenic actions.
Oats are a classic muscle building food. Steel cut oats are a less processed and more flavorful version. A quarter cup of steel cut oats contains 5 grams of fiber. Oats also contain a super fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is the fiber that gives oats its cholesterol lowering effect. It is the beta-glucan in oats that will also help slow the digestion of your meal down, allowing you to feel satisfied for several hours.
Lentils are a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and they should be a staple in your diet as well. 1 cup of cooked lentils (about ¼ cup uncooked) contains 12 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber making lentils one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Unlike other dry beans, like black or kidney beans, lentils cook up in as little as 10 minutes (red lentils cook the fastest).
Broccoli is a perennial superfood that also has high fiber content. 1 cup of broccoli contains 5 grams of fiber and just over 50 calories. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, which means it contains calcium D-glucarate, a compound with the capability to bind and clear excess estrogen from the body. Broccoli is also very versatile in the diet as you can enjoy it raw, steamed, sautéed, or roasted.
Cabbage is known for its cancer fighting antioxidants such as indole-3 carbinol, but it also packs quite the fiber punch. 1 cup of cabbage contains only 5 grams of carbohydrates, half of which come from fiber. If buying a head of cabbage to cook and prepare seems a little intimidating, just opt for the pre-shredded bags of coleslaw or broccoli slaw mix. The pre-shredded bags are ready to eat and come mixed with other super foods such as broccoli, carrots, and other cabbage variations (like red cabbage).
Fiber is one of the reasons that an apple a day will keep the doctor away. One medium sized apple contains almost 5 grams of fiber, some of which comes from a special fiber called pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber which means that it forms a gel in your stomach causing your food to be digested and absorbed much slower.
Brussel sprouts are the food that every kid loves to hate. You should love them. Because Brussels sprouts have a similar plant origin to broccoli and cabbage, they share many of the same health promoting nutrients, including being high in fiber. 10 sprouts contain 7 grams of fiber. To prepare them, cut them in half, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them, flat side down at 400-450 degrees until the bottoms being to crisp up (about 20 minutes). Cooking them this way will caramelize some of their carbohydrates giving you a simple and irresistible way to prepare Brussels sprouts that are a far cry from the boiled ones you were forced to eat as a kid.