An important group of nutrients are fibers, which are found in many plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. They can improve digestive health, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. On this page, you can find our fiber chart with vegan and plant-based foods.
What are fibers?
Fibers are indigestible carbohydrates that cannot be absorbed by the body. However, they serve as a food source for bacteria in the intestine. They contribute to a healthy gut flora and intestinal function.
There are two types of fibers: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water and form a gel-like substance, while insoluble fibers do not absorb water. They pass through the digestive system without being digested.
Inulin is such a soluble fiber that naturally occurs in many plants. Chicory, artichokes, onions, garlic, and asparagus are among the foods that contain inulin. Inulin can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, improve digestive health, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Fibers are present in many different foods, especially in plant sources. According to the chart, some of the best sources of fiber are:
Apples, pears, bananas, oranges, berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries), peaches, plums, kiwis, pineapples, mangos, papayas, and grapefruits are good examples of fiber-rich fruits according to the chart. You can incorporate these fruits into your fiber-rich diet in various ways, such as eating them raw, processing them in smoothies or juices, or using them in desserts and fruit salads.
Vegetables are an excellent source of fiber. Broccoli is such a source. You can enjoy it raw as a snack or use it in salads, stir-fries, or soups. Carrots are also high in fiber according to the fiber table. You can serve them in salads, as a snack, or as a side dish to meals. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are great ingredients for salads, side dishes, or sautéed vegetables. Additional fiber-rich vegetables listed are onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and celery. You can use them in various dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles, or as a side dish.
Chickpeas, lentils, beans, and peas are good examples of fiber-rich legumes. You can add cooked legumes like chickpeas or beans to salads. This adds extra texture and a nutritious kick to the salad. Lentils work great as a meat substitute in soups and stews. You can also make vegan burgers or meatballs from lentils. Another option is to make hummus or other dips from chickpeas. Chickpeas can also be used in stews and as a side dish to meals.
Whole grains are also included in fiber-rich foods because they contain the entire grain compared to refined products. This includes whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oats, brown rice, and quinoa. To incorporate them into your fiber-rich diet, you can prepare oats with fruits, nuts, and plant-based milk in the morning. Whole wheat bread or pasta can also be easily integrated into meals. If you like pizza, why not try making one with whole wheat crust. You can find additional fiber-rich grains in this table.
Nuts and seeds should also be part of a fiber-rich diet. According to the table, fiber-rich nuts and seeds include chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. You can eat them as a snack or add them to cereal, yogurt alternatives, and salads. Baking with ground nuts or seeds is possible. Keep in mind that nuts and seeds are high in calories and fat. Our calorie chart can help you improve the consumption of nuts and seeds as part of a balanced diet.
The main fiber-poor plant-based foods are those that have a high content of refined carbohydrates and sugar. These include, for example, white bread, white flour products, sugary sweets, cakes, and beverages, as well as fatty plant-based foods such as margarine, oils, and nut creams. Processed plant-based products like vegan meat alternatives and snacks like chips and crackers usually contain little fiber as well.
How much fiber-rich food should you eat?
Most nutritionists recommend an intake of 18–38 g of fiber per day for adults (source). This can be achieved through a fiber-rich diet that includes a variety of fiber-rich foods.
Note that too much fiber can also have negative effects on digestion. A sudden increase in fiber intake can cause bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Gradually increase fiber intake and drink enough water with it. This ensures smooth digestion.
Do Fiber Have an Impact on Muscle Building?
Fiber is not directly necessary for muscle building as it does not play a direct role in protein synthesis, which is important for muscle growth. However, they can indirectly support muscle building by promoting healthy digestion and good nutrient absorption.
Fiber helps with digestion by softening the stool and stimulating bowel movements. Nutrients can be better absorbed, which are essential as energy for training or in the form of amino acids for muscle building.
How to Have a High-Fiber Diet?
In the following list, we have compiled a few tips for a high-fiber diet:
- Replace refined grain products with whole grain products such as whole grain bread, pasta, and rice to increase fiber and nutrient intake.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables to get enough fiber and vitamins. Try to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. For example, add more vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers to a salad or sandwich.
- Use a variety of spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of your meals without relying on additional calories.
- Add more legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas to your diet to increase your fiber and protein intake. Legumes can also be used as a substitute for meat in many dishes.
- Incorporate seeds and nuts such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and almonds into your fiber-rich diet.
- Choose fiber-rich snacks like vegetable sticks with hummus and fruit with nut butter to satisfy your hunger between meals.
- Add leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale to your smoothies to get additional fiber.
- Use oatmeal or quinoa as a base for your breakfast instead of sugary cereals or toast.
- Use coconut flour or almond flour instead of white flour when baking.
- Opt for fresh fruits as snacks instead of fruit juices or processed fruits to increase your fiber intake and reduce sugar.
- Include fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi in your fiber-rich diet. This promotes healthy gut bacteria and improves digestion.
- Always eat enough fruits and vegetables with peel, as most of the fiber is found there. Buy organic produce without harmful substances on the peel.
- Include healthy fats like avocado or olive oil, which aid in the digestion of fiber.
- Add fresh fruits and seeds to your cereal or yogurt alternatives to increase your fiber content.
Losing Weight with Fiber
Fiber-rich foods can be a useful aid in weight loss. They increase satiety and reduce appetite. Additionally, they can stabilize blood sugar levels, helping to avoid cravings.
Keep in mind that consuming fiber-rich foods alone is not sufficient for losing weight. A calorie-restricted diet, physical activity, and adequate sleep are other important factors that need to be considered. You can access the table of low-calorie foods here.