Top 10 Fiber-Rich Foods
Supporting your health during any stage of life is important, but supporting it during menopause is even more crucial. The number of changes that your body goes through during the menopausal transition can be overwhelming, but there are things you can do to help offer some relief from those changes and preserve your health.
One of the best ways to preserve your health is to keep your gut healthy. There are millions of bacteria that populate your digestive tract. This is your gut microbiome, and it’s responsible for absorbing and regulating nutrients that are essential to your body’s health. Keeping those bacteria at healthy, balanced levels is one of the most crucial elements of maintaining your body’s health.
So, what can you do to make sure you’ve got a healthy gut?
Have A Fiber-Rich Diet
Your gut bacteria have their own specific dietary needs. In order for good bacteria cultures to grow and be maintained in the digestive tract, they need to consume fiber. Fibers are compounds from plant-based foods that cannot be digested by the human stomach alone. Gut bacteria help break down fibers and extract nutrients from food to be absorbed into the bloodstream and sent throughout the body.
So if fiber is the key to a healthy gut microbiome, how can you boost your fiber in your diet? Here are 10 fiber-rich foods that can help feed your gut microbiome and provide your body with necessary nutrients.
Kale, spinach, cabbage, you name it! Leafy greens are a great source of fiber and essential vitamins. One cup of kale has around 3.6 grams of fiber and can represent well over 600% of your daily value Vitamin K, among many other nutrients. Leafy greens are easy to add to any meal and are a fairly cost-effective option. You can get a lot out of a few bags of spinach for a decent price.
Beans are one of the highest sources of fiber per cup. One cup of cooked beans can be up to 12 grams of fiber depending on the type of bean. Some beans are more fiber-rich than others. Black beans, lima beans, and kidney beans have a higher fiber content. Baked and refried beans are going to have lower fiber content. Still, beans are an excellent and cost-effective source of dietary fibers that your gut microbiome craves!
All fruits have some form of fiber. Fruit skins are where we tend to get higher concentrations of fiber from. One of the things that make fruits, and berries more specifically, such excellent fiber options is because they are packed with Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps regulate the immune system, which the body is heavily dependent on, even the gut. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries can offer anywhere from 2 to 8 grams of fiber per cup.
You’ve probably been taught that bread is a great source of fiber. Well, that’s partially true, certain types of bread are better sources of fiber than others. Whole-grain breads, whole wheat breads, rye breads, and so on are excellent sources of fiber because they tend not to be refined breads. Refined breads like white breads are actually stripped of a lot of the natural components found in grains, and therefore don’t have as much fiber in them. Whole grains also extend beyond bread and can include things like rice, quinoa, and oats.
Cruciferous vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. They’re full of nutrients like Vitamin K, B vitamins, folate, iron, and potassium, all of which can help maintain a healthy heart, healthy skin, and neurological functions. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are some of the more popular choices for cruciferous vegetables and also more cost-effective.
You might not think that popcorn would give you much in terms of fiber, but it’s not a bad option! Popcorn is one of the more fiber-dense foods per calorie. You can potentially receive up to 14 grams of fiber from popcorn. On top of that, popcorn is a good source of iron, which your body needs to create new red blood cells. So when you need a snack, reach for the popcorn and boost those iron levels!
Chia seeds have grown in popularity in recent years. They’re great for adding to smoothies, oatmeal, granola, and even salads. Chia seeds are probably one of the best sources of fiber there are. You can get almost 10 grams of fiber from an ounce of chia seeds. You can also get pretty high quantities of essential nutrients like calcium and magnesium, which can help support bone health and neurological health.
On the other end of the spectrum of popularity is the artichoke. Artichokes aren’t exactly sought after by many people, but they are one of the more fiber-rich and nutrient-rich vegetables to be found in the produce aisle. One artichoke can yield up to 7 grams of fiber. Artichokes are also rich in folate, an important type of B-vitamin that helps create red blood cells and helps maintain healthy cell growth.
While beets may not be commonplace in the American diet, they are one of the more nutrient-dense vegetable options out there. Beets are high in iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and high in fiber. A cup of beets works out to around 3.8 grams of fiber. Some grocers put a high price on beets, but depending on where you live, beets are actually pretty easy to grow yourself. They tend not to need a lot of water so long as the soil doesn’t dry out easily.
A lot of people tend to overlook nuts and seeds as fiber-rich snacks, but they’re one of the healthier snacking options. Almonds, especially, are rich in nutrients and full of fiber! One cup of almonds can give you up to 3.5 grams of fiber and supply you with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin E, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can also help keep your skin healthy!
Fiber Is Your Friend
Fiber can help feed your gut microbiome right and help your body get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. So instead of skimping on the fiber, take a look at what fiber-rich foods you can easily include in your diet. Your gut is your friend, and fiber is ready to join the party!