High-fiber diets reduce the risk of appendicitis, colon cancer, constipation, diabetes, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome, according to Mike Samuels and Nancy Samuels, authors of “The Well Adult.” Eating fruits and vegetables can help play a role in preventing these diseases because so many of them contain impressive amounts of fiber. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranks the fiber content of about 700 foods, and numerous fruits and vegetables are very high on the list.
There are two major categories of fiber--insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fibers don’t dissolve. Whole-grain foods have the most insoluble fiber, but fruits, vegetables and beans also often have a large amount. Diets high in insoluble fiber “are associated with markedly lower rates of colon cancer,” reports Robert Pritikin, author of “The New Pritikin Program.” The Pritikin book lists green peas, corn and Brussels sprouts as the vegetables with the most insoluble fiber, and dried figs, apples with skin and strawberries as the fruits with the most insoluble fiber. Green peas as the vegetable with the second-most total fiber with 8.8 grams. Brussels contain 6.4 grams, corn has 4.2 grams, strawberries contain 4.8 grams, figs have 3.7 grams and apples have 3.3 grams per serving.
Soluble fibers reduce your body’s total and bad cholesterol, stabilize your blood sugar, and reduce your insulin. Consequently, foods with lots of soluble fiber help you control your diabetes, according to Pritikin. Foods with the most soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, beans and barley. The Pritikin book lists raspberries, pears, oranges and bananas as fruits with a lot of soluble fiber, and potatoes, squash, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots as vegetables with large amounts of soluble fiber. Raspberries contain 11grams of fiber per serving, pears have 9.9 grams and oranges contain 4.3 grams. Potatoes provide 5.9 grams of fiber and squash delivers 5.7 grams. Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are also good vegetable sources of fiber.
High-fiber foods have very little fat because fiber comes from plants and there is no fiber in animals. Consequently, a high-fiber diet reduces heart-disease risks, according to Dean Ornish, author of “Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program For Reversing Heart Disease.” The top 10 fruits and vegetables on the USDA’s fiber content list are all recommended foods on Ornish’s Reversal Diet. Dates, with 14.2 grams of fiber per serving are the top fruit on the USDA list. They are followed by raspberries, pears, plums, blackberries, papayas, raisins, blueberries, strawberries and peaches. Artichokes, with 14.4 grams of fiber are the top vegetable on the USDA list. They are followed by green peas, pumpkins, spinach, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and turnip greens.
- The Well Adult; Dr. Mike Samuels and Nancy Samuels
- Dr. Dean Ornish's Program For Reversing Heart Disease; Dr. Dean Ornish
- The New Pritikin Program; Robert Pritikin
- raspberries image by Freeze Frame Photography from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.