This article is about Super foods that are high in fiber and low in calories. But first, what exactly is fiber and why is eating foods high in fiber a healthy thing to do? These are the 2 questions I will attempt to answer in this article but many of my favorite “superfoods” naturally have plenty of it. The type of fiber I am talking about should not be confused with “fiber added” products, but only those foods which are naturally fiber-rich.
So what is fiber? Fiber is that dietary component of carbohydrates, that come from plant foods, which cannot be digested. It is also known as “roughage”. Meat, by comparison, does not contain any fiber. Basically, fiber comes in 2 forms: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is dissolvable in water, helps in lowering cholesterol levels, regulating blood sugar, and promotes good cardiovascular health and weight management.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, adds bulk to the stool, helps move food through the intestinal tract, and helps prevent constipation. Both of these forms of fiber are vital to maintaining good health.
When it comes to weight loss and weight management, foods that are high in fiber and low in calories are perfect since they can fill you up while preventing the intake of empty, or unhealthy, extra calories.
Of course some people’s bodily system is more sensitive to fiber intake, or lack thereof, than others. For example, my body seems to function better when I eat a high fiber diet than when I do not, so I know mine is more sensitive to the consumption of fiber which come from whole foods, not supplements. In any case, fiber is an essential dietary nutrient in any bodily system.
Why Is Eating Fiber Healthy?
Besides whats already been mentioned above, whole fiber is loaded with phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are also what make fiber from whole foods better than any supplement as supplements do no contain the phytonutrients which work together with fiber to produce disease-fighting qualities.
One of the diseases that a high fiber diet may help to prevent is coronary heart disease. This is because the fiber helps move extra cholesterol out of the system. The body does need some cholesterol but not all of it, and most meat-based diets take in way too much of it. So getting more fiber into a meat-based diet becomes crucial.
Diabetes is another disease that is at epidemic levels in the United States, where foods high in fiber may help lower the risk for, or prevent outright, the development of this disease. Fiber does this by reducing the sudden rise in blood sugar that happens after eating foods high in carbs.
What about cancer? Yes, fiber has been shown to reduce risk for cancers such as breast, rectal, colon, prostate, ovarian, and laryngeal cancers. Even though scientists don’t know exactly what the relationship between fiber and cancer is, they have observed in studies an inverse relationship between dietary fiber and the development of cancerous cells.
This is why eating those fruits and veggies are always a good idea because they contain whole natural fiber that does more for your health than you probably think! With that being said, here are some of my favorite superfoods that are high in fiber, low in calories…
5 High in Fiber, Low in Calories Superfoods
Beans (Legumes) – this at the top of my list because all the beans in the legume family are so powerfully packed with fiber and surprising low in calories. Some of the ones with the highest fiber content are lentils and black beans. Black beans are my favorite and are also packed with a high amount of antioxidant phytonutrients in addition to their fiber content. I like to make a bean stew with black and white beans.
Spinach – The very powerful green leafy spinach. High in fiber, low in calories – you can’t ever go wrong keeping my favorite “green leafy” superfood in your diet. In addition to fiber, spinach also contains calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, potassium, Omega -3s, Co-Q10 (Coenzyme-Q10), all the B Vitamins, beta-carotene, polyphenols, and many more nutrients. I like to eat raw organic baby spinach mostly in salads and in my sandwiches as a replacement for iceberg lettuce.
Broccoli – The cruciferous king of vegetables. This one is a powerful cancer and disease-fighter which also touts a high content of fiber. Broccoli is a superfood for many of the same reasons that spinach is, being the only other veggie beside spinach with high amounts of Co-Q10, so make sure to eat plenty of broccoli.
Pumpkin – This one doesn’t get the praise it deserves because of holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween using them more as decorations and symbols rather than a superfood which is high in fiber. So I thought I’d give it a rightful place in my list since no one else seems to! Besides being high in fiber and low in calories, pumpkin is host to a high concentration of carotenoids. For dietary purposes, these carotenoids act as antioxidants, such as lutein, which helps protect the eye retina from damaging ultraviolet rays. There is a lot more reason to eat pumpkin but this alone is already enough to put it on your shopping list. Make sure you use all natural pumpkin filling if you’re baking a pie!
Blueberries – Last but certainly not the least of this short list! Blueberries are one of the most densely packed with fiber, polyphenols, phytonutrients, and antioxidants of any natural food, and my favorite fruit of all when it comes to having superfood qualities. Blueberries are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber, that helps promote digestive health. They also have anti-bacterial properties and helps reduce inflammation in the digestive system. These are just a few things that blueberries are good for, besides a good low calorie source of soluble fiber, so definitely get these in your diet. I eat these fresh and blend them up in a fruit smoothie.
This is just a very short list to get you started and are my favorites. There are a lot more great sources of fiber such as nuts, seeds, grains, and cereals. I didn’t put it on this particular list, mainly because they aren’t so low in calories, but my favorite high fiber nuts are walnuts.
Now that you know what fiber is, why it is healthy for you to eat, and you now know some very good sources of high “superfood” fiber, it is my hope that you will eat a lot more of these foods high in fiber and low in calories, and notice the healthy benefits in your own body as I do in mine.
Related Post: Top Ten High Fiber Low Calorie Foods