Fiber is important and many of us do not get nearly enough of it in our diet, despite how many easy fiber sources we have access to. There is a common misconception that fiber is just out there to keep you regular. There are many other health benefits to fiber beyond helping you “go.”  Fiber can help with weight loss, can improve your complexion, can lower your risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease as well as possibly help to prevent colon cancer.

Today I could like to let you know about some fiber sources to help you add it to your healthy diet. Fiber is one of the things about a plant-based diet that is so good. The whole plant foods included offer a great source of fiber. Fiber also helps your body digest food more effectively, reducing your risk of many diseases.  We hear about gut bacteria often nowadays. One of the ways to keep that gut bacteria healthy is by adding fiber to your diet. How do you do that, though? There is so much information to navigate and this article will help you navigate it more easily.


What is fiber?

Let’s get beyond associating fiber with digestive health and bowel function. Eating foods high in dietary fiber can do so much more than keep you regular. Adding fiber to your diet can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, improve the health of your skin, and help you lose weight. It might even help prevent colon cancer.

Roughage is another word for fiber. Fiber is the part of plant-based foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans that the body cannot break down. The fact that it passes through your body undigested is how it keeps your digestive system clean and healthy, easing bowel movements, and flushing cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of the body.


Types of Fiber

There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.

As you can guess, soluble fiber dissolves in water. It is responsible for controlling your blood sugar and reducing cholesterol so it is a good idea to include it in your diet.  Some of the soluble fiber sources include oatmeal, buts, barley, beans, and fruits (apples, citrus, pears and berries).fruit fiber sources

Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve. This type of fiber is the fiber used to prevent constipation (also the type included in products such as Metamucil). Some of the insoluble fiber sources include whole grain cereals, whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, vegetables (such as tomatoes, celery and carrots).

There are numerous sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber. As a rule, the highest fiber is found in food that has been processed the least. Foods that include refined flour do not contain much fiber at all. These include items such as cakes and pastries, white rice and white bread. Dairy, meat and sugar also contain no fiber. 


Health Benefits

Fiber has been touted too much as just a way to remedy constipation. The vast health benefits are not prominently represented so many people are unaware just how important adding some fiber sources to your diet can be. Eating a diet high in fiber has so many added benefits, including adding a boost to your immune system, improving how you feel, your skin health and your health in general.


Health Benefits of Fiber



Including enough high-fiber foods in your diet will help to lower your risk of developing mouth, stomach, pharynx and other cancers of the digestive system. There is also some preliminary research suggesting fiber can also reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.



Both types of fiber offer some health benefits related to diabetes. Soluble sugar helps to improve blood sugar levels and helps your body absorb sugar more slowly. Insoluble fiber helps lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 


Heart health 

Soluble fiber significantly helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, which in turn helps keep your heart healthy. Stroke and Coronary Artery Disease risk can also be reduced by a high fiber diet. Additional heart benefits include a reduction of inflammation, lower blood pressure, raising good cholesterol (HDL) levels and the loss of extra stomach fat.  


Digestive health

Insoluble fiber helps to bulk up stools, making them easier to pass.  The benefit to bowel movements can relieve both diarrhea and constipation. Eating fiber has more digestive health benefits, however. Eating fiber can reduce your risk of gallstones, kidney stones, hemorrhoids and can alleviate irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber can also reduce your risk of diverticulitis. Some studies have also determined that your risk of ulcers and GERD can also be reduced by a high fiber diet.


Skin healtH 

The health of your skin can improve greatly by a diet rich in fiber. Fiber can help reduce yeast and fungus in your system, lessening outbreaks of acne. Psyllium husk is a great fiber source for flushing your system of toxins. 


Healthy Weight

Fiber helps you feel full sooner and longer. This results in you eating less, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weighthealthy weight fiber sources for your body.  Cutting calories is easy when adding fiber, since most fiber sources such as fruits and vegetables, tend to be lower in calories.

Fruits are high fiber foods and give you plenty of energy. Fiber can streamline your metabolism, lessening blood sugar spikes and drops that can typically leave you tired and can give you cravings of less healthy food.

As well as aiding digestion and preventing constipation, fiber adds bulk to your diet, a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Adding bulk can help you feel full sooner. Since fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, that feeling of fullness will stay with you much longer, helping you to eat less. High-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to be low in calories, so by adding fiber to your diet, it’s easier to cut calories.

For optimal health, you should eat 21-38 grams of fiber at a minimum. Fruits vegetables and whole grains can all help you achieve that goal and start feeling healthier.





A few easy modifications to your diet might be all you need to incorporate more grains. Whole grains are one of the most beneficial fiber sources. Be sure to choose only whole grain options, since processed and refined foods are much lower in fiber. 

whole grain fiber sourcesBreakfast is a great time to add whole grains to your day. Choose a whole grain cereal as a starter. There are some great choices out there! You can also add some unprocessed wheat bran to your cereal or to your smoothie or even to oatmeal. A few tablespoons goes a long way.

Use whole grain varieties of breads and pastas and use brown rice instead of white rice to boost your fiber intake. These are all great fiber sources to add to your diet. You will find yourself eating much less and feeling much fuller, so it will also help reduce calories.

Baking is easy to add great fiber to. Substitute whole grain flours in place of the white all purpose flour. Whole wheat, smelt and coconut flors are all great fiber sources. Almond meal is also a great option for adding to your home baking. When baking breads, just be aware that whole grains will take longer to rise. Add some time to your rise and it will all be fine.

Muffins, cookies and cakes can all benefit from some fiber also. Wheat bran or crushed whole grain cereal can be added as a fiber source.  If you are gluten-free, psyllium husk is a great fiber source to add to your baked goods. It is heaven good in pizza crust!

Another of the great whole grain fiber sources is flaxseed. Flaxseed is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids  offering a great benefit to your heart health. Ground flax seed is easily incorporated in cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or even applesauce.



Fruit is easily added to your breakfast and is one of the healthiest fiber sources. Add some strawberries, blueberries or fruit fiber sourcesraspberries to your yogurt to cereal. Keep fruits in the refrigerator for a quick sweet snack. Keep pre-made smoothie bags in the freezer to blend up a quick healthy meal on the go. 

Be sure to choose whole, fresh fruits rather than juices (which actually have more calories in them). Unprocessed fruit will retain more fiber. Apple peels contain some of the great fiber, also, so don’t skip out on the peel when eating apples.

Fruit makes an easy and tasty dessert.  Make it more decadent with a little whipped cream if you like. 



Keep healthy veggies on hand all the time. Keep some baby carrots and celery in the refrigerator as quick snacks. Keep some bagged sliced veggies in the freezer for say additions to your recipes. Include some healthy kale or spinach in ready-to-go smoothie bags in the freezer for a quick power breakfast or meal on the go.

vegetables fiber sourcesBury some veggies in your meals. Spinach can easily be added to spots and tomato sauce. Add extra vegetables to your soups and stews. 

Don’t toss the peels. Many vegetables have edible peels that contain a lot of nutrients and fiber. Eat the peel on your potatoes, carrots and other vegetables with edible skins.

Add lots of goodies to your salad. Salads are easy to add plenty of vegetables to. They also offer the opportunity to add some nuts, seeds and even fruit.

Legumes are great fiber sources. Be sure to incorporate them in your healthy diet. Read 8 Tasty Legumes to learn more about legumes.

Chose fiber-rich snacks. Roasted chick peas, nuts, seeds and raw vegetables all make great snacks as well as being great fiber sources.



Supplements are another way to add fiber to your diet. Whole food sources are best, but if you are having trouble incorporating enough into your diet perhaps a supplement might be beneficial.

supplement fiber sourcesSupplements come in dissolvable powders, chewable tablets, powder that you sprinkle on food and even cookies. There are some considerations with getting your fiber from a supplement, however.

High fiber foods will offer many more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than a supplement

Supplements can have interactions with your prescription medication

Fiber supplements will not fill you up like a fiber rich diet will

Fiber supplements can affect your blood sugar levels, offering some challenges to diabetics.



Be sure to boost your fluid intake when adding fiber to your diet. You will need more water to process the fiber efficiently. Fiber absorbs water, which depletes it from your system. Drinking more water will eliminate that issue.

When first transitioning to a high fiber diet, you might experience some gastronomical discomforts such as gas, bloating, cramps and looser stool. This is all a normal part of your body adjusting to the added fiber. Once your body is adjusted (this happens fairly quickly) these discomforts go away.

There are a multitude of fiber sources to choose from, making it simple to start eating a more fiber-rich diet. The health benefits of fiber are wonderful and the whole foods you will eat as part of a healthy diet will make you feel great, boost your energy and improve your health.


Author: Angela Cook


All Sweeteners Are Not The Same!

Sugar is not the only sweetener you have to choose from. It is a good idea to learn about your options. Watching the glycemic index of sweeteners can help you make healthy choices.  Sugars with a higher glycemic index cause major spikes in your system, increasing the risk of developing diabetes, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Choosing natural sweeteners with a lower glycemic index is a better choice. So, what are your options? There are so many! Let’s talk about some of the sweeteners you could choose and the pros and cons of each of them.


Glycemic Index: 80 (between moderate and high)
Refined Sugar

Cane sugar is made up of sucrose, which is linked to sugar spikes and increases your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes.


Glycemic Index: 64 (between moderate and high)
Modified Sugar
Brown sugar is standard sugar that has had some of the molasses by-product mixed back in. Therefore, it does not offer any more health benefits than cane sugar. It is best avoided if you are watching your blood glucose.


Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Natural Sugar
Honey, while high in calories and carbs, offers some health benefits. The quality of the honey does have an impact on those benefits. Honey is both anti-bacterial and anti-microbial and can be used in small quantities. 


Glycemic Index: 10 (low)
Modified Sugar
While agave has a low glycemic index, it does still cause some issues. Agave is mostly fructose, which has been linked to conditions such as insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. Additionally, it has been known to increase bad cholesterol. If agave is consumed, it should be only in moderation on a very limited basis.


Glycemic Index: 0 (very low)
Natural Sugar
Stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is a natural sweetener and does have some anti-inflammatory benefits in your system. Also, it is extremely low on the glycemic index, offering virtually no disturbance to blood glucose levels.  However, stevia does have a bit of an aftertaste and consuming too much could increase cravings for sweets.


Glycemic Index: 1 (very low)
Natural Sugar
Monk fruit contains zero calories, is much sweeter than sugar and has antioxidant properties. Monk fruit has a minimal glycemic index so it will not have much impact on your blood glucose levels. However, monk fruit is extremely sweet. It is best mixed with other sweeteners or used in very miniscule amounts. It is sometimes combines with stevia, offering a healthy and natural alternative to sugar.


Glycemic Index: 35 (between low and moderate)
Natural Sugar
Coconut sugar is a natural alternative to sugar. It is minimally processed with just heat drying of the sap from the tree. It has health benefits in the minerals it contains, but it is high in calories and can lead to eventual breakdown of collagen, so it should only be used in moderation.


Glycemic Index: 0 (very low)
Artificial Sweetener
This is a sweetener commonly found in a multitude of diet foods. It has not been proven to help decrease weight and has been known to cause many problems however. In fact, it has been linked to lower levels of good cholesterol in your body. It also has been the culprit of side effects in many including migraines, dizziness and depression.


Glycemic Index: 54 (moderate)
Natural Sugar
While this is a natural sugar and has undergone minimal processing, it has a glycemic index just a little lower than cane sugar. This means that it will have an effect on your blood sugar and should be avoided by diabetics. Maple syrup does have health benefits, however. It contains some minerals and antioxidants, and has some anti-inflammatory effects. Darker maple syrups offer more of the health benefits than the lighter ones do


Glycemic Index: 0 (very low)
Artificial Sweetener

This is the sweetener found in Sweet’n’Low. Your body doesn’t have the ability to digest saccharine, which is why it is marketed as a good choice for reducing caloric intake. However, it has a negative effect on the microbiome in your gut, leading to obesity, colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.


Glycemic Index: 65 (between moderate and high)
Natural Sugar
“Raw Cane Sugar” is often marketed as a healthy alternative to standard white sugar. However, there is no real difference. Both white and raw sugar are made up of sucrose, which is linked to sugar spikes and increases your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes.



Glycemic Index: 12 (low)
Sugar Alcohol
With its low glycemic index, xylitol offers some benefits for people watching their blood sugar levels. However, it does have some laxative effects and has been known to cause stomach pain, loose stools and gas in high doses. It offers benefits in the form of collagen production, a reduction in bacteria, healthy bone growth and even has been known to help reduce cavities. Always start with a small dose and gradually increase it to gauge your tolerance to avoid the uncomfortable side effects. Also, please keep this away from your pets as it can be toxic to them.



Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Refined Sugar
Some view beet sugar as a good alternative to standard cane sugar. However, there is no real health difference.  Beet sugar comes from sugar beets instead of sugar cane, so the processing is a bit different, but it is also made up of sucrose, which is linked to sugar spikes and increases your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes.



Glycemic Index: 1 (very low)
Sugar Alcohol
With its low glycemic index, erythritol offers some benefits for people watching their blood sugar levels. However, like xylitol, it does have some laxative effects and has been known to cause stomach pain, loose stools and gas in high doses. It offers benefits in the form of collagen production, a reduction in bacteria, healthy bone growth and even has been known to help reduce cavities. Always start with a small dose and gradually increase it to gauge your tolerance to avoid the uncomfortable side effects.


Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Natural Sugar
Date sugar is made from dried dates. Date sugar has a moderate glycemic index, which is still a problem for blood sugar levels, but offers less calories and more vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants than white sugar. Date sugar is a little less sweet than some of the other natural sugars and sometimes will be mixed with flour so it does not clump. 



Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Sugar extract
Blackstrap molasses contains more minerals and vitamins than many sweeteners, however it is in the moderate level on the glycemic index, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and can taste bitter. 


Peanut butter on whole grain toast with fresh banana slices


The thing about eating this way is that you can eat much less, be much more full and be sated much longer.  This breakfast was super fast and easy. It carried me over all the way till lunch so it was perfect!  Balancing your foods is the important part.  This is two pieces of whole grain toast, organic sugar free peanut butter on the toast and fresh banana slices on top. Sprinkled on top of the bananas is hemp seed and ground flax and some blueberries were included on the side for some antioxidants. I could technically have made it a sandwich but it somehow feels like so much more food this way, plus it forces me to eat more slowly. If you eat slower, your body is better able to digest what you are eating. So give it a try!


Getting enough protein when on a vegan diet can be challenging. Legumes are a BIG help in that regard. Get to know some of the legumes you can choose from and incorporate them in your dishes for some added calcium that is also very tasty!!  In addition to the protein, they provide you with essential B12 , help reduce cholesterol, decrease blood sugar, add healthy bacteria to your gut and are a great source of fiber and you will see how great they can be to add to your diet.

What are legumes? They come from plants in the Fabaceae family that produce seeds inside of a pod.  Here is some great info so you can Know Your Legumes. These are 8 of some nutrient-packed legumes to include in your diet.


Lentils can help reduce blood sugar, benefit gut health and sprouted lentils can help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, helping your heart. They also provide fiber, Vitamins B9 and B1, Manganese and Copper. Lentils are a nutritional superfood that can be added to SO many dishes. I find they are the most versatile of all the legumes.

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Garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)

Garbanzo beans are also very versatile. They can be used many more ways than you probably are aware of and are the prime ingredient in things like hummus and falafel. They can help lower your heart disease risk, possibly lower your risk of cancer, can help you lose weight, reduce your blood sugar and improve your blood cholesterol levels. In addition to protein, garbanzo beans supply you with fiber, Vitamin B9, Manganese, Iron and Copper. Chickpeas can also help improve the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

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Kidney beans

Kidney beans are the beans you commonly see in traditional chili. They are also very good for your health! Kidney beans can help reduce your blood sugar levels, help reduce body weight, and are wonderful with rice. In addition to the protein, they provide a good source of fiber, Vitamins B1 and B9, Manganese, Iron and Copper. Great to add to your diet! 

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BLACK beans

Black beans are often served in rice or made into refried beans. They are a very common part of meals in Latin countries. Black beans can help reduce blood sugar spikes due to their low glycemic index. They are also packed with nutrients. In addition to the protein, they provide you with fiber, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamins B1 and B9 as well as Iron.

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PINTO beans

Pinto beans are the beans commonly used in refried beans. They can also be eaten as whole beans or incorporated in a chili. Eating pinto beans can help your cholesterol levels. Pinto Beans will help to reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol. They can also help prevent blood sugar spikes.  Pinto beans provide fiber, Manganese, Vitamins B1 & B9, Copper and Protein, making them a very healthy legume choice.

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soy beans

Soy beans are the beans used in tofu and in some shirataki style noodles, among other things. They have been shown to help reduce the risk of stomach and gastrointestinal cancer. Soybeans have particularly high levels of antioxidants also. Soy is helpful to women in menopause, due to the phytoestrogens in it. These can help take the place of the estrogen which so rapidly declines in those years.  This helps reduce the incidence of osteoporosis. Add to that the protein in them, plus Fiber, Iron, Phosphorus, Iron, Manganese, Vitamins B2, B9 and Vitamin K, making soybeans a powerhouse of health benefits.


Peas are also legumes, and they provide many health benefits. They can help grow beneficial gut bacteria, aiding in digestion and reducing belly fat. Peas help reduce blood sugar levels, help make you feel full and are downright tasty!  Some of the nutrients found in peas include Protein, Vitamin K, Fiber, Manganese, Vitamins B1 and B9 and Manganese.


You might not have realized it, but peanuts are actually a legume and have many health benefits. Peanuts can even lower your risk of stroke, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Peanuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are healthy fats that can help with weight loss and can help decrease inflammation in your body.  Whole, unsalted, unroasted varieties provided the most benefits. Peanuts also provide you with Protein, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Fiber, Vitamins B1 and B9 and Niacin. 

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