Healthy digestion is regarded as one of the cornerstones of health because of its critical role in nutrient absorption, as well as the elimination of wastes. Unfortunately, a large number of people suffer from frequent problems with digestion such as bloating, indigestion, acidity, abdominal cramps, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Many of these problems are linked to dietary habits and they can become chronic if not dealt with swiftly, thereby increasing the risk of more serious gastrointestinal disorders. The single most common cause for such digestive problems is the lack of fiber rich foods in our diets.
Dietary fiber, which is also described as roughage, includes parts of plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables that cannot be digested or absorbed in the body. Fiber actually passes through the body relatively intact. High fiber foods can contain two types of fiber, offering a variety of digestive health benefits.
While insoluble fiber helps bulk up stools and promotes bowel movements, soluble fiber forms a gel-like material that not only eases stool passage, but also helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Increasing your intake of high fiber foods will therefore help improve digestion, while also lowering the risk of other health conditions.
To help you get started, here’s a list of fiber rich food in India.
High Fiber Food List
Apples are one of the most popular of all fruits across the world, including in India. They are an excellent source of fiber, taste great, and are extremely nutritious. Just one medium size apple would give you about 5 grams of fiber (1). Just make sure that you’re eating your apples whole, since most of the fiber content is in the skin. In fact, the presence of pectin in apples, makes it one of the best soluble fiber foods.
Often described as the “poor man’s fruit”, bananas are a dietary staple in India and it’s important to include them in your regular diet if you aren’t already doing so. Aside from giving you a good amount of fiber, bananas are also a good source of potassium, and vitamins C and B6, among other nutrients. You’ll find the fruit in every fiber food list because they can help with a wide range of digestive problems, from diarrhea to constipation. Just one medium size banana contains roughly 3.2 grams of fiber (2).
Another tropical fruit that was widely consumed in India as a healthy snack, guava remains one of the best sources of insoluble fiber, as well as nutrients like vitamin C. As with apples, much of the fiber content is found in the skin. Just one medium size guava will give you about 3 grams of fiber (3).
Beets are widely cultivated and are among the most affordable of all fresh foods in India and they are also rich in fiber. In addition to being one of the healthiest sources of fiber, beets contain essential nutrients like folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Nitrates that are present in the tuber are also known to help with the regulation of blood pressure and can boost exercise performance. A single medium sized beetroot provides you with 2.3 grams of fiber (4).
Yes, carrots contain nutrients that are good for healthy vision, but the tasty root veggie is also a good source of dietary fiber. Adding carrots to your diet gives you a good amount of vitamins K and B6, as well as minerals like magnesium, and the antioxidant beta carotene. A single raw carrot will give you roughly 2 grams of fiber and surprisingly, boiled carrots will give you even more fiber (5).
This is actually a broad food category, including lentils or dals and beans. Dals like masoor, moong, tur, and urad are some of the cheapest sources of nutrition, providing you with a variety of nutrients and protein. They are also a good source of fiber, with a cup of cooked dal giving you about 15.6 grams of fiber (6). It’s worth noting that legumes are primarily regarded as soluble fiber foods. In addition to dals, beans like chawli and rajma, as well as kabuli channa are loaded with protein, minerals, and other nutrients, as well as soluble fiber. A single cup of cooked rajma contains 13 grams of fiber (7), while the same amount of cooked chickpeas contains 12.5 grams of fiber (8).
Oats are regarded as one of healthiest grains and they’re also one of the top soluble fiber foods. They contain a particular type of soluble fiber that is known as beta glucan. This fiber is known to have a positive influence on cholesterol and blood glucose levels (9). Beta glucans are also described as prebiotics, which are needed for the maintenance of healthy gut bacteria or probiotics – an essential for healthy digestion. One cup of raw oats contains a whopping 14.5 grams of fiber, making it one of the most fiber rich foods (10). It also contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are staples in the Indian diet and if you aren’t eating enough of these foods, you should consider including them in your diet. These high fiber foods make for great snacks, packing a whole lot of nutrients, including healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese. While almonds contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams (11), seeds like chia pack an astounding 34.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams (12). Other nuts and seeds that you can include in your fiber food list would be walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, to name a few.
Adding fiber rich foods like these to your diet is a good idea, but you should be cautious in your approach. Start by gradually increasing fiber intake because people who aren’t used to consuming much fiber can experience bloating and cramping when they suddenly increase fiber intake. Start slow and gradually increase fiber intake over a period of weeks. At the same time, it’s important to stay hydrated and it’s also a good idea to take probiotics. In addition to getting probiotics from food, you can also take supplements like SETU’s Your Gut. If you take these precautions when increasing your intake of high fiber foods, you won’t have any trouble and your gut will be grateful!