What are the common forms of nutrients you know? Some names that strike the mind first are carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins. Fiber or roughage is an essential nutrient, an indigestible component that keeps the digestive system healthy.
What Is Fiber In Food?
Generally, carbohydrates break down into sugar molecules. However, if you are wondering what fiber is in food, you should know it does not break into sugar molecules like other carbohydrates. Fiber is thus one of the types of carbohydrates that remain indigestible.
If it does not break into sugar molecules and remains undigested, what benefits does it provide to our body?
Dietary fiber or roughage helps regulate blood sugar and hunger. Moreover, it reduces the risk of various diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, constipation, hemorrhoids, etc. Children need approx 20-30 grams of fiber daily.
Generally, fiber-rich Indian food is of two categories based on the kind of fiber they contain:
1) Soluble fiber: It easily dissolves in water, helping lower the glucose level and blood cholesterol. Some soluble fiber-rich Indian food includes barley, flaxseed, blueberries, apples, lentils, etc.
2) Insoluble fiber: It does not dissolve in water, thereby helping add bulk to stool. Dried beans, seeds, nuts, carrots, brown rice, and tomatoes are a few insoluble fiber foods.
Although fiber is highly nutritious, its quality intake is crucial to maintaining good health. Men should consume 30-38 grams of fiber daily, while women should consume 21-25 grams daily.
Fiber-Rich Indian Food
1. Cluster Beans
One cup of cluster beans or 'Guvar Fali' contains 5g of fiber. It is a popular soluble fiber-rich Indian food that helps slow down digestion, keeping one satiated.
2. Brown Rice
It is an essential insoluble fiber food that provides relief from digestive problems. One cup of brown rice contains 4g of fiber that solves digestive issues, keeping your bowel movements regular.
It is one of the best fiber-rich fruits in India. It is a rich soluble fiber food that helps eliminate toxins from the colon. Vitamin C and antioxidants in guava aid weight loss and eliminate harmful free radicals. Moreover, antioxidants burn up body fat while eliminating toxins. One can consume it in breakfast or as a mid-morning snack.
4. Green Peas
This fiber-rich Indian food contains Vitamin K, helpful in treating Alzheimer's disease and arthritis. It has high insoluble fiber with low calories. It helps keep your stomach full while fulfilling the daily calorie requirement. Moreover, Vitamin A in green peas improves eyesight.
5. Sweet Potato
The essential Vitamin content in 'Shakarkandi' or sweet potato relieves stress and promotes a healthy heart. The sweet flavor makes its flour a tasty substitute for bread and a better base for nachos. It is a mixture of insoluble and soluble fiber that meets the body's caloric needs. One hundred grams of cooked or roasted sweet potato provides 3-4g of fiber.
It lies on the top of the fiber-rich Indian food list. It has high soluble fiber content that helps normalize the blood sugar level. However, those with diabetes should avoid excess intake of potatoes.
The high water content in potatoes keeps one satiated, preventing you from consuming heavy foods. The vital nutrients in one cup of boiled potato (typically 136 grams) contain 3g of proteins, 2.5g of fiber, potassium, manganese, Vitamin C, and B6.
Lentils offer plant-based protein that has high dietary fiber content. Lentils differ in their nutritional content. Approximately 198 grams of lentils contain 15.6g of fiber, providing approx 230 calories. It is a popular fiber-rich Indian food that supports regular bowel movements. It also supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria that enhances stool mass, eventually improving gut function.
Around 2 cups of cooked barley fulfills the daily requirement of fiber. It contains insoluble fiber that enhances the functioning of healthy bacteria in the colon and gut. Hence, it helps eliminate infections and improve digestion. Moreover, this fiber-rich Indian food keeps your stomach full for longer and helps maintain the calorie count.
9. Moringa Leaves
The moringa plant is available in different parts of the country. Every part of this plant, including the leaves and stems, can be used. The leaves of the moringa plant contain high fiber that keeps your stomach full for a longer time. In many parts of the world, people drink tea made from moringa leaves for weight loss.
10. Whole Grains
Whole grains have plenty of nutrients, with high insoluble fiber content. The presence of insoluble fiber in grains adds bulk to your stool and helps prevent constipation. Moreover, high fiber foods like whole grains protect one from Type 1 diabetes while regulating the blood sugar levels.
11. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a highly nutritious and delicious antioxidant-rich food. It contains approx 70-80% cocoa, with 1 ounce of dark chocolate providing 3.1g of fiber. Instead of cutting chocolate entirely from your diet, go for dark chocolate shakes with low sugar content for a healthy diet.
12. Chia Seeds
Approx 3 tablespoons (around 28 grams) of chia seeds provide 10.6g of fiber. Its high fiber content keeps one satiated for long. It has soluble fiber and leptin that reduces cravings and balances your appetite. Soak them in water for a few hours or overnight and take on an empty stomach for better results.
13. Split Peas
Around 100 grams of boiled split peas provide 8.2g of fiber. The soluble fiber in split peas helps control blood sugar levels and prevent IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) disorder while improving digestive health. It also promotes a healthy heart. The presence of isoflavones in split peas reduces the growth of cancerous tumors.
These are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber that aid weight loss. It helps muscle building and keeps one satiated for long. Lower calories and high-fat content help control appetite.
It is a high fiber-rich Indian food containing essential vitamins like vitamins K and E that promote healthy skin. Soybeans have both soluble and insoluble fiber that help lower blood cholesterol levels and build lean muscles. The presence of phytoestrogen in soybeans enhances calcium absorption, preventing osteoporosis.
Bengal gram or Garbanzo beans contain soluble and insoluble fiber that help lower bad cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. With high protein and fiber, chickpeas are ideal for burning fat and building muscles. They provide extra energy to improve fitness levels towards losing weight.
17. Wheat Flakes
Around 29 grams of wheat flakes contain 5g of fiber. They have an insoluble fiber that provides loads of benefits. When consumed as breakfast with a bowl of milk, wheat flakes improve digestion, prevent colon cancer, and reduce the risk of strokes and cardiovascular disorders. Moreover, the fiber content keeps one full and prevents cravings.
Also known as 'kuttu ka atta,' buckwheat contains folate and Vitamin B6. Approx 30 grams of buckwheat provides 2.8g of fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Buckwheat is ideal for a weight loss diet as compared to other grains. It does not have any saturated fat, aiding in weight loss.
19. Pumpkin Seeds
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds provide 5g of fiber. These seeds are a good source of insoluble fiber that keeps one's stomach full for long. They contain zinc that helps improve the body's immune system. They also contain antioxidants that help clear the body of toxins.
20. Black Gram
This is also known as 'urad dal.' About 86 grams of black gram provides 8.5g of fiber. It also offers essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus that reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Moreover, the soluble and insoluble fiber in black gram enhances metabolic rate and provides energy to burn fat faster while exercising hard.
Coconut has high insoluble dietary fiber with healthy fats like MCFA. Coconut has a low glycemic index that reduces the risk of diabetes while lowering blood sugar. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and improve digestion. It also improves body metabolism and provides extra energy to exercise more and lose weight.
Approximately 125 grams of raspberries contain 8g of soluble fiber. It has pectin fiber, vitamins K and C, and manganese that boosts the body's immunity. It also has anthocyanins called antioxidants that help in clearing body toxins. The fruit tastes better when combined with oatmeal or added to smoothies.
Around 90 grams of broccoli provides 2.4g of fiber. Steamed broccoli is highly nutritious and tastes well with salmon and soups. Its anti-inflammatory properties help protect the blood vessel lining and keep the heart healthier.
The vegetable contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins K and A, B6 and C, and potassium that help prevent eye-related issues like night blindness. Carotenoids in carrots control diabetes while regulating blood sugar levels. Around 128 grams of raw carrot provides 3.6g of fiber, enough to keep you full for long.
Half cup or 100 grams of dates contain 6.7g of fiber. It has essential nutrients like magnesium, manganese, selenium, and copper that boosts bone health. It also has insoluble fiber that satiates and prevents frequent cravings.
Summing Up On Fiber Rich Indian Food
Dietary fiber plays an effective role in the healthy functioning of the body. When including fiber-rich Indian food in your diet, you are working on improving digestion, preventing constipation, and regulating blood sugar levels.
Fiber thus provides countless benefits. However, there should be a proper balance between soluble and insoluble fiber intake. Both are crucial for gut health. Include fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts to improve your digestive health.
To know more about specific fiber-rich foods, read on.
1) Are Nuts High In Fiber?
Nuts are crunchy, delicious, and nutritious foods with high fiber content. Nuts support healthy body weight and help reduce the risks of many diseases, including heart disease.
A handful of nuts enhances the intake of healthy fats, protein, and fiber and are an excellent option for a child's diet. Some types of nuts you must include in your diet are:
1) Almonds: They have a high nutrient profile with 170 calories in 28 grams of almonds. The high fiber content promotes gut health while enhancing the growth of gut bacteria.
2) Walnuts: Approximately 28 grams of walnuts contain 2g of fiber, 4g of carbohydrates, 18.5g of fats, protein, etc. The copper content in walnuts boosts enzyme production in the body, promoting neurotransmitter synthesis and energy production.
3) Macadamia nuts: One ounce of macadamia nuts provide 2.5g of fiber. They have a buttery texture with healthy fats and low carbs.
4) Pistachios: They offer lower calories and fat in comparison to other nuts. Approximately 1 ounce of pistachios provides 3g of fiber.
2) Is Banana A Fiber Food?
Yes, Bananas are a fiber food. In fact, approx 200 grams of peeled banana offers 5.2g of insoluble fiber to the body. It is one of the best fiber-rich Indian foods, which helps slow down digestion, helping you feel satiated for longer.
Moreover, a study shows that bananas and other fiber-rich fruits help lower the risk of coronary and cardiovascular heart disease. Being a good source of fiber, the fruit provides relief from constipation.
3) Is Chapati High In Fiber?
Yes, Chapati is high in fiber. Generally, wheat flour is the common ingredient for making chapatis in India. If it is not sieved, it has high fiber content, protein, and essential minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.
People dealing with obesity and being overweight should prefer chapati over rice as it contains enough fiber. Chapati is healthy and a better alternative to white or brown rice.
4) Which Dal Is High In Fiber?
Moong dal has a high dietary fiber content compared to different kinds of pulses. A cup of dal in a single serving provides 40.5 to 70% of the daily nutrient requirement. The fiber content in moong dal lowers blood cholesterol levels, preventing any nutritional issues.
Split moong dal contains high protein, while skinned moong dal provides high dietary fiber. Sprouted moong dal enhances the nutritional content of the dal. It contains approximately 18.06% of fiber, compared to yellow moong dal, which has 8.2% fiber.
- Marc P. McRae, December 2017; Dietary Fiber Is Beneficial for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5731843/
- Wendy J. Dahl, Maria L. Stewart, October 2015; Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber - https://www.jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01386-6/fulltext
- Marc P. McRae, March 2018; Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883628/
- Eleanor Beck, Hayfa Salman & Linda Tapsell , February 2016; New Horizons for the Study of Dietary Fiber and Health: A Review - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-016-0529-6