Dietary Fiber is an important element in a proper balanced human diet. Also known as roughage, it can be derived from various plants, in the form of soluble and insoluble fiber. Although it cannot be digested directly by humans, its presence in the diet is important for the proper functioning of the digestive system as it limits and regulates the blood sugar levels in the blood by absorbing water, decreases the risk of heart disease by lowering the level of cholesterol, and even normalizes bowel movements to avoid constipation and control obesity. It is estimated, that on an average, a normal adult must consume at least 20-35 grams of dietary fiber as part of their normal diet, along with other important nutrients. But in today’s modern world, with the coming of advanced cooking, processing, and storing, the intake of fiber has gone down and the estimations reveal that an average adult who consumes these processed products, takes in only 12-18 grams of fiber in his daily diet. Many whole foods contain a good amount of fiber in them, as much as 5 grams or more, but when they are processed, all the important fibers are washed out. Some examples of this are wheat, bran, fruits and vegetable juices, which are high-fiber products in their whole form, but end up with virtually no fiber after they are processed.
Fruits provide an excellent source of fiber. Fruits that contain high fiber content and are rich in various vitamins, helps us to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. When they are processed, and packaged to be made into juice, they lose all their important fiber which is present in the skin and the pulp of these fruits. There a lot of fruits which contain a high amount of dietary fiber. The 10 Fruits that have the highest fiber content in them are:
An apple a day can do much more than keeping the doctor away. An average apple contains approximately 4.4 grams of fiber, if we include its skin, which is a major source of this important nutrient.
People generally peel off the skin while eating it, without realizing how much important fiber they are losing. Apples contain pectin, which is a soluble fiber. It is grown in cold areas and is available easily in the winter season. Eat it raw or braised, make sure to keep the skin on for assuring your fiber intake.
Whether dried or fresh, figs provide for an excellent source for dietary fiber. On an average, a dried fig contains 6 grams of fiber while a fresh one has around 2-4 grams. Their sugary sweet taste make them a favorite in salads and desserts, in their fresh form and as an addition to cereals in the dried form.
Originally known as Chinese gooseberry, it a tiny fruit packed with fiber – a tiny one contains about 2.5 to 3 grams of fiber. But because of its size, one can eat a couple of them together, thus taking in around 5-6 grams of fiber through one helping of this green fuzzy fruit. They are even almost fat free, making them an essential part of low calorie diets to help stay fit and healthy.
Difficult to be remembered as a fruit, avocados give one a very high dose of fiber, i.e. approximately 10 grams if eaten as a whole. But it is an equally high dose of calories – those creamy layers contain quite some fat, although of the healthy variety. It is preferred to not be overindulgent with such a fruit, a helping of it in fruit salads would give you around 5 grams of fiber, which is enough for your intake.
Apricots are small golden summer fruits with velvety skin and flesh, a great source of dietary fiber. An apricot normally provides with 2 grams of fiber per serving, and are also readily available in the canned form. Dried apricots are also a good source of fiber.
Members of the citrus family, oranges form a major part of the human diet for dietary fiber. A serving will contain around 2-3 grams of fiber. Eating them raw is the best idea to get the maximum benefit of the fiber because as they are processed and made into juice, they start losing their fiber content. A cup serving of canned orange juice will contain approximately 12 per cent less fiber as compared to a similar portion of raw oranges.
Pears are similar to apples, just that they their fiber content is slightly higher – around 5-6 grams for a good-sized one. Just like apples, the beneficial nutrient is contained within the skin of the fruit, and the fiber called pectin is present. It is also available generally in the winters, and is considered to be a “safe” fruit, suitable to be given to infants, because of its mild yet healthful characteristics.
Part of the berry family, these red berries are also a great source for fiber – a cup providing around 8 grams of fiber, almost making up one-third of your daily intake. Whether you like them frozen or fresh, the fiber content remains intact in either. The frozen ones would even be easier on the wallet when buying them in off-season and would add a zing to the boring cereals.
Best eaten in their fresh form, another member of the cherry family proves to be a rich source of fiber. 7 grams of fiber in one serving, this delicious fruit contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, in the ratio of 4:1 roughly. Just like other fresh fruits, it can jazz up any fruit salad with its fresh sweet taste and is advised for pregnant women because of its health benefits.
Found abundantly in coastal areas, coconuts are super-rich in fiber, a 100 gram serving contains 9 grams of fiber. With its versatile properties, it can be eaten in any form, raw or cooked, in the form of water or milk. But its calorie count is higher than most of the fruits, therefore is advised to be eaten judiciously.