Fiber is a term that refers to any type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. It comes in two varieties: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Both types of fiber are important for your gut health.
Fiber is great for you as it helps with digestion and bowel motility.
It also helps keep you full for longer on a weight loss journey.
However, knowing that fiber is great for you is not enough as you also need to know what types of food will give you the best yields of fiber.
Keep on reading to learn about 10 Nigerian foods that are rich in fiber.
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are starchy, nutritious, and delicious.
In addition to being a rich source of fiber, they contain different vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin B.
They are also a rich source of the antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A.
Beta-carotene transforms into vitamin A in our liver – for every molecule of beta-carotene processed in the liver, two molecules of vitamin A are produced.
Vitamin A is vital in boosting the body’s ability to fight off infections and remain resistant to further infection.
Sweet potato is comprised of about 10-15% soluble fiber such as pectin and approximately 77% of insoluble fiber.
Beans are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and packed with several health benefits.
They are a rich source of fiber and plant-based protein while low in calories and fat.
In addition to these amazing properties, beans are also good for weight loss.
Their high protein and fiber content helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, thus reducing the quantity of food you eat.
One study also linked beans intake to improved nutrition and reduced belly fat.
They also contain lots of vital nutrients, one of which is folic acid.
Folic acid is vital for overall health as it helps produce healthy red blood cells. It is also non-negotiable during pregnancy as it helps prevent neural tube defects in a fetus.
- Plantain porridge
Plantains are a great source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins (A and C), and minerals.
They are easily digestible and a great source of iron and potassium.
In its unripe form, plantain is full of resistant starches and micronutrients which have several benefits.
Its resistant starches are poorly digested, thus they enter into the colon where they increase the population of gut flora.
Whole-grain wheat is a rich source of various antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
It is more nutritious than its refined counterpart.
It is a key ingredient in most baked foods and other foods like noodles, pasta, semolina, bulgur, and couscous.
Most of the fiber in wheat is insoluble, making it a great prebiotic.
It passes through the digestive system almost intact and settles in the gut where it adds to the microbial population and gives bulk to the stool.
- Apple and banana smoothie with a sprinkle of chia seeds
This is a combination meal that is a great breakfast option.
The individual components of the meal are rich in fiber and when combined, it is a power meal that will get your metabolism revving for the entire day.
Apples are rich in soluble fiber called pectin. In a medium-sized raw apple, you get about 4.4 grams of fiber or 2.4 grams per 100g apple.
Banana is a great source of many nutrients including vitamins C and B6 and potassium.
In its green or unripe state, it also contains resistant starch, which functions like fiber. In a medium-sized banana, you get about 3.1 grams or 2.6 grams per 100 grams.
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that are highly nutritious and contain high amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
One ounce of chia seeds will give you 9.75 grams of fiber or 34.4 grams per 100 grams.
Now imagine a meal made up of these three. Your fiber game will be top-notch!
- Green peas
Green peas are a vitamin powerhouse.
They are loaded with vitamins A, B-1, B-6, C, and K.
They are also high in fiber which makes them a great vegetable option for the family.
If you find the thought of boiling green peas as a single meal a bit difficult to swallow, consider integrating them into your rice.
They not only make your rice meal look more inviting, but they also make it more nutritious.
Soybeans are rich in insoluble fiber. This makes them a great option as a prebiotic.
They are also rich in different vitamins and minerals making soybeans a meal that has lots of health benefits.
A note of caution, though. Because of its high percentage of insoluble fiber, it can cause flatulence and diarrhea in people that tend to it.
- Whole wheat spaghetti
Whole wheat spaghetti is made up of 100% whole wheat flour.
That is to say that the flour still has the three essential parts of the whole grain kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm.
A one-cup serving of whole wheat spaghetti has about 23% of the recommended daily fiber intake. It is bulkier than its whiter refined version and stays in the gut for longer, making you feel fuller for longer.
It is thus a great meal option when you are trying to lose weight. For a more nutritious and balanced meal, pair it with a side of veggies and protein.
Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan which is very beneficial for regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
They are also very high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Its high fiber content makes it a great option when you are on a weight loss plan as it is a very filling meal.
The best way to enjoy oats is to have them as porridge for breakfast.
To make your oatmeal porridge even more nutritious and tastier, add a serving of cinnamon, fruits, nuts or seeds, and/or Greek yogurt.
Surprised to see yams make the list? Don’t be.
While yams may be an underrated staple in our diet, they are very nutritious and of course, rich in fiber.
Aside from being an excellent source of fiber, yam is also high in potassium and manganese; two nutrients important for supporting bone health, growth, metabolism, and heart function.
In one cup of cooked yams, you will find about 5 grams of fiber.
You know the saying you are what you eat? It was true yesterday, it is true today and it will be true tomorrow.
Eating healthy cannot be overemphasized especially in our world where fast foods and junk foods take up a large portion of shelf space in our stores.
To eat healthy, you don’t need to cut carbs from your diet.
As highlighted above, you can see that these foods are very nutritious.
You simply need to be mindful of your portion.
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