Table of Contents
Nowadays, everybody knows the importance of having enough fiber in our diets, even though few of us actually eat the right amount. A high-fiber diet is paramount for an efficient bowel movement, as well as for lowering the risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. (1)
This being said, fiber should be introduced gradually into the diet, as a sudden or dramatic increase can lead to mineral imbalances in the body.
Fiber, with its two varieties, soluble and insoluble, never gets digested and absorbed, but acts in a different way in our bodies (2). Once ingested, soluble fiber turns into a gel that slows digestion and decreases cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber does not change at all, but it makes waste softer, thus aiding excretion.
Consequently, a low fiber intake causes constipation, increased appetite and high blood sugar levels (3). On the other hand, eating too much fiber can cause gas, cramps, and bloating, and can deprive you of some of the minerals you get from food. (4)
Broccoli is a great veggie to have on your plate. It contains 50 calories and 0 mg cholesterol, and it is rich in potassium (468 mg), vitamin C (90 mg when raw, and 65 mg when cooked; 220% of the daily value), vitamin A (18% of the daily value), and vitamin B6 (15%).
Broccoli and the daily amount of fiber
So, how much fiber is in broccoli ?
- There are 5.1 grams per cup of boiled broccoli, or 3.8 grams of dietary fiber in a serving of 148 grams.
- 1/2 cup of raw broccoli has 4.0 grams fiber,
- 4 spears of frozen broccoli have 5.0 grams fiber,
- a portion of frozen or of raw broccoli contains 20 calories,
- 3/4 cup of fresh, cooked broccoli has 0 grams fiber and 30 calories.
More specifically, there are 2.60 grams of fiber in 1 cup of raw broccoli, out of which 1.70 g are insoluble, and 0.90 g are soluble fiber.
Cooking 1 cup of fresh broccoli provides a total of 4.60 grams of fiber, with 2.30 g being insoluble and 2.30 g soluble. On the other hand, cooking 1 cup of frozen broccoli yields 5.50 grams of fiber: 2.70 g insoluble and 2.80 g soluble.
However, the daily recommended value for fiber is 25 grams for women under 50 and 38 grams for men under 50. Women over 50 are recommended to eat 21 grams daily, while men over 50 about 30 grams of fiber.
In other words, while the daily values for broccoli are impressive on their own, you would have to eat a large amount to get your daily fiber just from it. Obviously, the solution is to eat a varied diet, and add not just broccoli to it, but also other fiber rich foods (see below).
The bottom line is that broccoli is rich in fiber, regardless of how you choose to eat it, and there are various tasty recipes out there that use this vegetable. Broccoli fritters are one rather simple dish that will make the task of eating your veggies a lot easier.
- 2 cups shredded broccoli stems (the equivalent of 7 broccoli stems)
- 2 eggs
- 1¾ cup almond meal
- ½ sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper
- Shred the broccoli stems, then place them in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, chop the onion finely, and add these and the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. Mix well.
- Put some fat in a large skillet, and heat it up over medium-high heat.
- With your hands and a large spoon, make fritters one by one, and add them to the skillet.
- Cook them for no more than 4 minutes before flipping them with a spatula. At this point, you can also use the spatula to flatten each fritter in case you were unable to make them flat before adding them to the skillet.
- Cook the fritters for another 4 minutes after turning them on the other side, so that they become crisp front and back.
Other fiber-rich foods
Besides broccoli, there are other vegetables and fruits that can help you increase your daily fiber consumption to an acceptable amount. Here are some suggestions, but make sure not to up your fiber intake overnight:
A cup of cooked lentils packs 15.6 grams of fiber. Due to their meatier taste and versatility, lentils can be used in a variety of dishes, and they also take less time to cook than other veggies.
Black beans come closely behind lentils, with 15 grams fiber per cup, when cooked. Black beans can also be used in plenty of recipes, and work particularly well when paired with sweet potatoes. Such a dish has plenty of fiber, complex carbs and protein, which makes it perfect to have after a workout.
A raw avocado has 10 grams of fiber, or 6.7 grams per raw half. It also packs healthy fats and vitamins, so avocados are great to have in salads, but also in milkshakes and in cakes (where the avocado can successfully replace butter, due to its creamy texture).
A medium, cooked artichoke has 10.3 grams of fiber.
Raspberries and blackberries
Raspberries and blackberries contain 8 and respectively 7.6 grams per cup, and are best eaten raw. However, if you want to make them into a dish, consider making a blackberry salad (with blackberries, lemon, scallions, and dill) and raspberry macaroons (raspberries, oatmeal, coconut, and vanilla).
There is 7 grams fiber per cup of raw bran flakes.
6.3 grams fiber per cooked cup. Whole-wheat pasta goes well with avocado and peas.
One cup of boiled sprouts contains 4.1 grams fiber.
Similarly to Brussels sprouts, one cup of cooked oatmeal includes 4 grams fiber. If you are looking for a healthy recipe that also makes you feel full, try an oatmeal cake with carrots, coconut and a tablespoon of maple syrup.