Vegetables are among the most nutrient-packed food groups in nature. And while it’s easy to go for your favorite veggies time and time again, it’s important to make sure you eat a wide variety of veggies. Of course, this is doubly important for vegans who are more reliant on plant foods.1
Now, let’s talk about one of the greatest advantages to consuming a heap of veggies – fiber. Most people think fiber just helps you go to the bathroom, but that’s only one small part of a bigger puzzle.
For one, there are several different types of fiber out there.
So, What Kinds of Fiber Are There?
There are two different types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.2
- Soluble fiber: In water, this dissolves into a gel-like material that can contribute to digestive support.
- Insoluble fiber: This fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, but can contribute in a different way. By drawing water into the stool, it can promote regularity.
Insoluble and soluble fibers can be found in several different foods, and you want to make sure you’re getting both in order to be at your healthy best.
What Can Fiber Do For You?
One of the major reasons people make dietary changes is to lose weight. Turns out, adding fiber may be helpful in this area.
For example, fiber can slow nutrient absorption and make you feel fuller, longer. This can be key if you struggle with portion control.4 It’s also important to note that this isn’t the case for all fiber (or fibrous foods, for that matter) — all the more reason to eat a balanced amount of fiber-rich foods.
And did you know dietary fiber may have more applications than one would think? Several studies have shown that high dietary fiber intake can help :
- Maintain a healthy heart
- Keep glucose levels stable
- Support a healthy body weight5
So, Which Fiber-Rich Vegetables Should You Put on Your Shopping List?
Despite all that fiber can do for you, more than half of Americans aren’t getting enough.6 Men should try to get at least 38 grams of fiber per day, while women should eat around 25 grams daily.7
The following foods can help you meet those goals.
It’s a commonly known fact that carrots are good for your eyes, but that’s not the half of what this veggie can do for you. Carrots are rich in vitamin K, vitamin B6, magnesium, and important antioxidants like beta-carotene.8
The cruciferous family should be invited to your dinner table often. Cruciferous veggies are extremely nutrient-rich. On top of their dietary fiber content, broccoli is rich in vitamin K and vitamin C.9
3. Brussels Sprouts
Let’s stick with the cruciferous vegetables for a second. Did you know Brussels sprouts have 4.1 grams of fiber per cup (boiled)? They also have massive levels of vitamin C and K, just like their cousin broccoli.
However, be sure not to overcook your Brussels sprouts – you run the risk of losing some of their nutritional value if you do.11
It’s called a superfood for a reason. Beyond its fiber content, kale has plenty of vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. And the calcium is extremely important for vegans who don’t have access to conventional dairy products.12
Spinach has a pretty similar nutrient profile to kale, but it doesn’t have the bitter taste and you won’t get as much of it caught in your teeth. So, if kale isn’t for you, you can still enjoy the fiber, calcium, and antioxidants by eating spinach instead.13
6. Collard Greens
This Southern favorite has over 7 grams of fiber per cup and is comparable to kale in terms of antioxidants. One area where it stands out among its fellow leafy greens is manganese. One serving has 49% of the daily recommended value.14
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes make a great healthy alternative to unhealthy comfort foods like mac n’ cheese or mashed potatoes. On top of being rich in fiber, they also have plenty of vitamin A and other important antioxidants.15
Beets combine fiber with other important nutrients like folate, iron, copper, manganese, and potassium. They also have naturally high levels of nitrates, which may be able to support better athletic performance.16
On top of its great fiber content, squash has a wide nutritional profile. In fact, just one serving has 400% of your recommended daily value for vitamin A. Not only that, but squash is chock full of potassium and magnesium.17
The best thing about peas is you can enjoy the nutritional benefits no matter how you prepare them. Whether you crack them from their pod, cook them as a side, or prepare a hot bowl of split-pea soup, you won’t mess much with their nutritional content.
If you want to get the most fiber out of your vegetables, artichokes are the way to go. Artichokes offer up more fiber per serving than any other vegetable. Seriously, just one medium-sized artichoke has about 10.3 grams of fiber. The artichoke also boasts plenty of potassium and high water content.20
Dietary Fiber and Fiber Intake In Review
Again, fiber-rich vegetables are a great way to get the fiber your body needs. If you’re vegan, you’re also going to want to enjoy lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. Legumes are also a great source of vegan protein.21 There are also several fruits and other whole grains that are good sources of fiber.
It’s best to balance your options and create a great, fiber-filled foundation for your plant-based diet. The veggies above will really help you get the nutrients you need in a tasty, healthy way.
For more eating for health tips, keep reading here:
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