Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps promote digestive health and can aid in weight management. Many common Mexican vegetables are great sources of fiber.
– Jicama is one of the highest fiber Mexican vegetables with over 5g per 100g.
– Squash varieties like zucchini and yellow squash also contain around 1-2g of fiber per 100g.
– Common beans are an excellent source with around 8-10g of fiber per 100g.
– Tomatillos contain around 2g of fiber per 100g.
– Avocados have around 6-7g of fiber per 100g.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant foods that the body cannot fully break down. Instead, fiber passes through the digestive system mostly intact. This adds bulk to stool and helps food and waste pass through the intestines more easily.
Fiber is commonly classified into two main types: soluble and insoluble fiber. Both play important roles in digestive health. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. It helps slow digestion and nutrient absorption. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve and helps add bulk to stool.
Experts recommend adults consume 25-30g of fiber per day. Unfortunately, most Americans fall short of this goal and only get around half the recommended amount. Incorporating more high fiber Mexican veggies like jicama, beans, and squash can help boost your daily fiber intake.
Below is a more detailed overview of some of the top high fiber Mexican vegetables, their fiber content, and health benefits.
High Fiber Mexican Vegetables
Jicama is one of the highest fiber Mexican vegetables. This round root vegetable contains over 5g of fiber per 100g. Jicama has a tan colored skin and crisp, juicy white flesh. It has a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.
Jicama fiber is approximately 60% insoluble and 40% soluble. The combination of both types offers multiple health benefits. The insoluble fiber in jicama acts as a prebiotic. This helps nourish and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Soluble fiber helps slow digestion and regulate blood sugar levels.
In addition to its high fiber content, jicama is low in calories and high in water content. This makes it a very filling, hydrating vegetable. Jicama can be eaten raw for a crunchy snack or chopped up in salads. It also holds up well when roasted or sauteed.
Beans are one of the most popular and versatile ingredients used in Mexican cuisine. They are an excellent source of fiber, providing 8-10g per 100g. Different types of common beans used frequently in Mexican cooking include:
– Pinto beans: 7g of fiber per 100g
– Black beans: 8g of fiber per 100g
– Kidney beans: 6g of fiber per 100g
– Garbanzo beans (chickpeas): 10g of fiber per 100g
The fiber in beans is mostly insoluble. Beans also contain resistant starch that escapes digestion and acts like soluble fiber. This combination makes beans particularly beneficial for digestive health. Studies show beans help reduce cholesterol, control blood sugar, and lower heart disease risk.
Beans are very satisfying and can be used to make a variety of Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, dips, and side dishes. Canned beans are quick and convenient to use, but dry beans soaked overnight and cooked from scratch have a better texture and flavor.
Squash varieties commonly used in Mexican cuisine are good sources of fiber. Popular types include:
– Zucchini: 1g of fiber per 100g
– Yellow squash: 2g of fiber per 100g
– Spaghetti squash: 2g of fiber per 100g
– Butternut squash: 3g of fiber per 100g
– Calabaza squash: 5g of fiber per 100g
Squashes provide a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. The soft flesh and edible seeds also supply important vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium. Squash can be baked, sauteed, grilled, or incorporated into soups and casseroles. Spiralized into noodles or rice, squash is a nutrient-dense substitute for refined grains.
Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican salsa verde and have a unique tart and citrusy flavor. They contain about 2g of fiber per 100g. Tomatillos have a firmer texture and lower water content than tomatoes.
The main type of fiber in tomatillos is pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that forms a gel-like matrix and slows down the digestive process. In addition to fiber, tomatillos provide vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, potassium and antioxidants.
Avocados offer 6-7g of fiber per 100g. They contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber. The rich, creamy texture comes from their high monounsaturated fat content. Avocados are a unique fruit that offer the heart-healthy benefits of fiber, potassium, antioxidants and healthy fats.
Avocado fiber has prebiotic effects and helps feed beneficial gut bacteria. Studies also show avocados help reduce cholesterol and may lower risks of heart disease and diabetes. Ripe avocados can be eaten raw, made into guacamole, added to sandwiches and tacos, or used as a topping for salads, soups and eggs.
Other High Fiber Mexican Vegetables
In addition to the vegetables listed above, here are some other good sources of fiber commonly used in Mexican cuisine:
|Fiber (per 100g)
As shown, many vegetables commonly used in Mexican cooking provide a healthy dose of dietary fiber. Mixing different high fiber veggies together can help boost the overall fiber content of dishes like tacos, salads, soups and stir fries.
Health Benefits of High Fiber Mexican Vegetables
Incorporating more high fiber Mexican vegetables like jicama, beans, squash, and tomatillos into your diet provides many potential health benefits:
Improves Digestive Health
Fiber adds bulk to stool and helps keep bowel movements regular. This reduces constipation and lowers risks of digestive conditions like diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and gastric ulcers. The prebiotic effects of fiber also help support a healthy gut microbiome.
Aids Weight Loss
High fiber foods tend to be very filling and low in calories. Fiber can help suppress appetite and control overeating. By promoting fullness between meals, high fiber vegetables may aid in weight management.
Regulates Blood Sugar
The fiber in Mexican veggies helps slow the absorption of sugar from foods into the bloodstream. This helps prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, especially beneficial for diabetics.
Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the gut and removes it from the body before it can be absorbed. Mexican vegetables with soluble fiber like jicama, avocado and squash all help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Reduces Heart Disease Risk
The combination of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in Mexican veggies makes them beneficial for heart health. Fiber protects the heart by reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation.
Potentially Lowers Cancer Risk
High fiber diets have been associated with reduced risks of colon, gastrointestinal, and breast cancers. Fiber supports detoxification and elimination of waste, lowering contact time of carcinogens in the body.
Mexican veggies with fiber take longer to chew and digest. This leads to increased feelings of fullness compared to low fiber foods. Adding high fiber vegetables to meals and snacks helps support appetite control and prevents overeating.
Supports Nutrient Absorption
While fiber can inhibit absorption of sugar and cholesterol, it also supports absorption of important minerals. Soluble fiber helps draw in calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc from other foods in your diet. This optimizes the amount of nutrients your body is able to extract from whole foods.
Tips for Increasing Fiber from Mexican Vegetables
Here are some simple tips to help increase your daily fiber intake from nutritious Mexican vegetables:
– Use jicama slices or sticks for scooping up guacamole or salsa
– Add chopped jicama, tomatillos or squash to salads and slaws
– Mix different types of beans together in soups, dips and burritos
– Try “ricing” cauliflower or roasting spaghetti squash as a fiber-rich substitute for grains in meals
– Stuff bell peppers, tomatoes, and avocados with bean salads or mix-ins
– Replace tortillas with lettuce or cabbage leaves for fiber-rich taco wraps
– Puree high fiber vegetables like beans and peas into dips, spreads and sauces
– Stir roasted vegetables like zucchini, eggplant and carrots into eggs or grain bowls
– Roast chickpeas and mix with peanuts, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit for a crunchy high fiber snack
Focus on getting a good variety of different colored veggies. This will provide a diversity of nutrients and fiber types. Aim to include both cooked and raw high fiber Mexican vegetables in your dishes.
High Fiber Mexican Vegetable Recipes
Here are some nutritious and delicious recipes incorporating high fiber Mexican vegetables:
Jicama Avocado Salad
– 2 cups cubed jicama
– 2 avocados, diced
– 1 jalapeno, minced
– 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
– 1 lime, juiced
– 1/4 cup red onion, diced
– Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix gently. Squeeze lime juice over salad just before serving.
Roasted Squash and Bean Tacos
– 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
– 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 tbsp chili powder
– 1 tsp cumin
– 8 small corn tortillas
– Lime wedges for serving
– salsa, avocado slices, cilantro for topping
Toss squash cubes with chili powder, cumin and salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 425 ̊F for 20 minutes until tender. Heat beans either on the stove or microwave until warmed through. Warm tortillas. Assemble tacos with roasted squash, beans, desired toppings and lime juice.
Tomatillo Chicken Soup
– 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
– 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
– 1 lb tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
– 1 white onion, diced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
– 1 avocado, cubed
– 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
– Lime wedges for serving
In a pot over medium heat, add chicken, broth, tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapeno. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and shred or chop. Return to soup and continue simmering 10 more minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with avocado, cilantro and lime juice.
Spicy Black Bean Dip
– 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 avocado
– 1/4 cup cilantro
– 1 lime, juiced
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/4 tsp chili powder
– Salt to taste
– Corn chips for serving
In a food processor or blender, combine black beans, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, jalapeno, garlic and spices. Process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt. Serve immediately with corn chips or raw veggies.
There are many delicious Mexican vegetables that are great sources of important dietary fiber. Jicama, beans, squash, tomatillos and avocado are some examples that can help boost your fiber intake and provide other valuable nutrients.
Incorporating a variety of high fiber Mexican veggies into your diet provides many benefits for digestion, heart health, weight management and disease prevention. Try some of the fiber-rich Mexican recipes using jicama, beans, squash and tomatillos. Focus on getting both raw and cooked vegetables in a diversity of colors for maximum nutrition and fiber benefits.