Naturopathic Kitchen: High-Fiber Foods

An array of high-fiber foods on a wooden tabletop.

The Difference Between Soluble & Insoluble Fiber

There are two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are essential to health but function in different ways.

Soluble fiber is dissolved by water and becomes a gel-like substance that then travels to the colon, providing food for healthy bacteria essential for proper gut functioning. 1 

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is not digested in the stomach. Instead, it makes its way through the digestive tract, where it helps to form and regulate healthy bowel movements and provides bulk or mass, aiding in bowel movements. 2 

Soluble fiber is more common and can be found in foods such as peas, oats, apples, and citrus. Good sources of insoluble fiber include whole wheat or bran products, beans, and nuts. Many high-fiber foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. 

The Benefits of High-Fiber Foods

Promote Healthy Weight

Consuming an adequate amount of high-fiber food helps to prevent obesity and promote weight management. Fiber impacts weight through a number of different mechanisms, including altering the secretion of gut hormones, increasing satiation (the feeling of fullness), and decreasing absorption of macronutrients. 3

Aid Blood Sugar Management

Fiber slows the absorption of sugar and the digestion of carbohydrates, which helps to manage blood sugar levels. 4 This is particularly important for those concerned about high blood sugar, metabolic syndromeor diabetes. 

Boost Gastrointestinal Health

Both soluble and insoluble fiber help to improve digestion and gastrointestinal health. Soluble fiber nourishes healthy gut bacteria and insoluble fiber helps to reduce constipation and aid in bowel movement regularity. 5 6

High-Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet

It is recommended that you get approximately 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume. 7 However, It is estimated that 95% of residents of the United States do not get the recommended daily amount of fiber. 8 Highly processed foods strip naturally occuring fiber, so aim for no to minimally processed versions of the items below.

Add more of these foods to your diet to up your fiber intake:

  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Lentils
  • Chia seeds
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Organic peanut butter
  • Kale
  • Wild rice
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Artichokes
  • Beans
  • Nuts

Sweet Potato Ramen in Bone Broth

This nourishing, gluten-free, sweet potato ramen recipe is packed with flavor and nutritional value. Add broccoli or top with avocado for a boost of even more fiber!

Recipe courtesy of Bastyr University.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup green onions (sliced at an angle)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 thinly sliced sweet potato (spiralized)
  • 1 two-inch piece of ginger (sliced)soluble
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 quart bone broth (substitute vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
  • 1⁄4 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 1⁄4 cup white miso
  • 2 eggs (hard boiled, sliced in half)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts

Optional Toppings

  • Green onions (green parts only)
  • Toasted nori sheets (cut in thin strips)
  • Avocado (chopped or thinly sliced)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Hot chili oil

Instructions

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the white parts of the green onions, the garlic, and the ginger for about 1 minute. Add the spiralized sweet potatoes and salt. Sauté gently for about 1 minute. Add the bone broth and tamari, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off, and remove the ginger slices. Add the miso and mix until dissolved. Divide into 4 bowls and top with your choice of garnishes.

 

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