Fiber, often referred to as dietary fiber, is the indigestible part of plant foods that cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules. In other words, fiber travels through our digestive system relatively intact, absorbing water along our intestinal tract and feeding friendly gut bacteria.
First things first. What exactly is fiber, and why do we need it?
The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, and according to Health.Gov low intake of dietary fiber is associated with health concerns. So, start eating your fiber!
What’s the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?
Fiber is split into two types; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and as a result, it becomes gelatinous. On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and does not change its form whilst going through our intestinal tract.
This is all good in theory – but how do we start adding fiber to our everyday diet? To make your life a bit easier, we‘ve done the research, analyzed data from Health.Gov, and put together a list of 30 high-fiber foods that you definitely need to start eating.
So, scroll through the list below, find the foods that you love, and start eating more of them. Simple as that!
Most fruits are high in fiber, but there are some fruits that are more fibrous than others. We have made things simple and gathered together some of the fruits with the highest fiber content.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples are a great way to increase your fiber intake as they are easy to get hold of, tasty, and filling. Make sure to eat the apple’s skin as well as the flesh, as the skin contains much of the fruit’s fiber.
Fiber: 2.4 grams per 100 grams/ 5.4 grams per 1 large apple
Pears are also great for upping your daily fiber intake. Pears are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamins, so make sure to keep a pear at your office desk for a quick snack during a busy day.
Fiber: 3.1 grams per 100 grams/ 5.5 grams per medium pear.
Raspberries are a rich, sweet fruit with high dietary fiber content and a unique composition of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. Raspberries can make a great addition to your breakfast smoothie, or even your overnight oats jar!
Fiber: 6 grams per 100 grams/ 4 grams per half a cup
Bananas are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber, and they pack all these beneficial nutrients into a 100 calorie snack. You can use bananas in everything and anything, from adding frozen bananas to your smoothie, to baking bananas into delicious oat cookies! It only takes a little bit of experimentation.
Fiber: 2.6 grams per 100 grams / 3.1 grams per banana
This is a surprising one… Yes, as well as Vitamin C, Oranges are loaded with dietary fiber that can help your digestive tract function the way it should. Just make sure to opt for the whole fruit rather than the orange juice (even if it’s fresh) since otherwise most of the fiber content is lost.
Fiber: 2.4 grams per 100 grams/ 3.4 grams per orange
Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. And even more exciting, they are creamy and delicious. Feel free to enjoy them in salads and sandwiches. And why not make them into a rich and velvety guacamole dip?
Fiber: 6.7 grams per 100 grams/ 10 grams per cup
Prunes, either fresh or dried, are a great source of dietary fiber and are very often used as a natural remedy against constipation. However, prunes are quite high in sugar, so just make sure that you eat them in moderation.
Fiber:7 grams per 100 grams/ 3.4 grams per five prunes
Blackberries can be a delicious, fibrous addition to your diet. They contain an array of key nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. They also carry a high fiber content, as a 100g serving contains 14% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of fiber.
Fiber: 5 grams per 100 grams / 3.8 grams per half a cup
Still not getting enough fiber from all that fruit? Let’s also look at some vegetables which can help you increase your fiber intake.
If you are watching your weight, carrots are a great source of fiber, as they contain an incredibly high fiber content compared to their calorie content. And not only that, carrots are also high in vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin B6, and beta-carotene. So, make sure that your next salad has a few carrots in it!
Fiber: 2.8 grams per 100 grams / 3.6 grams per 1 cup
When it comes to fiber content, beets can’t be beaten! This sweet and earthy vegetable should be a key part of your diet. Not only are beets loaded with healthy nutrients and vitamins, but they also have a high fiber content which will be much appreciated by your digestive system. Don’t be alarmed if their red colour spreads a little bit further from your plate (hint: your toilet) – this is normal after eating foods heavy in beets and is due to excretion of betalain pigments.
Fiber: 2.8 grams per 100 grams / 3.8 grams per cup
It goes without saying that Broccoli is one of the most fiberous foods and nutrient-dense foods out there. This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, iron, manganese, and antioxidant polyphenols. One cup of cooked broccoli contains 15% of your daily recommended fiber intake – so load up on broccoli!
Fiber: 2.6 grams per 100 grams / 5.1 grams per cup
11. Brussels Sprouts
These little healthy cruciferous vegetables are much more powerful than you might think. A one cup serving supplies 10% of your daily recommended intake of fiber, along with an array of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins, such as vitamin K, potassium and folate.
Fiber:3.8 grams per 100 grams / 3.3 grams per 1 cup
With around 3 grams of fiber per serving and a lot of nutrients and vitamins, pumpkins can be a great, exotic addition to your dishes. So maybe you should start thinking of pumpkins as a bit more than just a Halloween decoration.
Fiber: 3.3 grams per ½ cup of canned pumpkin
OK, so this is a real game-changer. Even though artichokes receive minimal media coverage for their health benefits, they are nevertheless incredibly nutritious as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber. Let’s give artichokes the fame they deserve!
Fiber: 8.6 grams per 100 grams / 10.3 grams per 1 artichoke
One large potato contains 18.8% of your recommended daily fiber intake, plus the many vitamins and minerals that they have to offer. This one should be fairly easy for you… After all, who doesn’t like potatoes? Just make sure that you don’t throw the skin away, as the skin increases the quantity of fiber in your meal.
Fiber: 6.3 grams per 1 large potato (with skin)
Parsnips not only are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, but they are also packed with important nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. On top of all that, they are delicious and very easy to add to your everyday diet!
Fiber: 4.9 grams per 100 grams/ 5.8 grams per one parsnip
Don’t leave legumes out of your diet. Most members of the legume family will make a delicious high-fiber addition to your diet.
Just one cup of lentils can provide 50% of your daily recommended fiber intake. There are many types of lentils in the legume family, so choose your favourites and start adding them to different dishes such as quinoa salads, couscous, or even enjoy them on their own! Lentils are also a great way to up your protein game as 1 cup of boiled lentils provides 18g of protein.
Fiber: 8 grams per 100 grams / 15.6 grams per 1 cup
Chickpeas are incredibly nutritious and offer a variety of health benefits, such as improving digestion and aiding in weight management. Chickpeas also have a high fiber content – one cup of cooked chickpeas provides 40% of your recommended daily allowance. And if you don’t like chickpeas on their own, why not try hummus or falafel?
Fiber: 7.6 grams per 100 grams / 12.5 grams per 1 cup (cooked)
3. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are among the most nutritious foods on earth. They are a rich source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, and they contain a high amount of plant-based protein. Kidney beans can be a tasty, healthy addition to your salads, casseroles, and couscous.
Fiber: 6.4 grams per 100 grams / 11.3 grams per 1 cup (cooked)
4. Green peas
Green peas provide a substantial amount of fiber to help you meet your daily recommended intake. What’s more, green peas provide an array of vitamins and minerals that are vital for our health and well-being. You can find green peas canned, frozen or fresh.
Fiber: 5 grams per 100 grams/ 7 grams per 1 cup
Nuts and Seeds
1. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a high-fiber and protein rich powerhouse. These tiny black seeds are highly nutritious as they contain an array of antioxidants, vitamins, and omega-3s. So if you are looking for an easy way to increase your fiber and protein daily intake, then we‘ve got you covered with this one. Chia seeds can make a great addition to your breakfast smoothie, porridge bowl, and salads!
Fiber: 34 grams per 100 grams/4.1 grams per 1 tablespoon
▶ ALSO READ: Chia Seeds: The Ultimate Guide
Quinoa is much higher in fiber than many other grains, with 1/2 cup providing 7.7% of your daily recommended fiber intake. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, low in saturated fat, and high various vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and iron. You can enjoy quinoa for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Fiber: 2.8 grams per 100 grams (cooked)/ 5 grams per 1 cup
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Whether roasted, dried, shelled or unshelled, pumpkin seeds have long been valued for their high nutrient and vitamin content, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, zinc, and iron. They also contain a healthy amount of fiber which is highly beneficial for our digestive health and overall wellbeing. So, make sure to add some pumpkin seeds to your breakfast porridge bowl!
Fiber: 1.9 grams per ¼ cup/ 18 grams per 100 grams
Almonds are a great way to add some extra fiber to your diet – adding 10 almonds to your meal will provide you with 4.5% of your daily recommended fiber intake. Almonds are also packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.
Fiber: 1.5 grams per 10 almonds/ 12.5 grams per 100 grams
Studies show that flaxseed can help lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and help with weight management. Flaxseed is also packed with dietary fiber which can enhance your gut health and improve your digestion. You can sprinkle whole or ground flaxseed onto various baked goods, smoothies, or even onto your salads for a nutritious addition!
Fiber: 2.8 grams per tablespoon/ 28 grams per 100 grams
Popcorn is the perfect snack – it’s delicious, fibrous and filling! It is a great source of zinc, folate, and vitamin A. Just make sure to opt for plain popcorn in order to avoid hidden sugar and salt.
Fiber: 1.2 grams per 1 cup (air-popped popcorn)/ 14.5 grams per 100 grams
From oats to freekeh, grains can deliver more fiber to your diet in delicious ways that will switch up your routine. So, keep the grains coming.
When it comes to fiber, oats are a great choice. The majority of fiber found in oats is soluble – particularly a fiber called beta-glucan which is strongly linked to heart health and lowered cholesterol levels. Oats also provide insoluble fibers, including lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. You can use oats to make delicious plates, from overnight oats to chocolate chip cookies!
Tip: Try using steel-cut or rolled oats instead of instant oats to maximize the fiber content!
Fiber: 16.5 grams per 1 cup (raw)/ 10.6 grams per 100 grams
2. Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur wheat is another great source of fiber which can be used as a delicious addition to traditional plates such as tabouleh and pilafs. It can also make a great addition to your exotic salads. Bulgur wheat is super easy to prepare and provides many health benefits, including improved digestion, gut health, and weight loss management.
Fiber: 4.5 grams per 100 grams/ 8.2 grams per 1 cup (cooked)
3. Brown Rice
Opting for brown rice instead of white will definitely bring you one step closer towards your daily recommended fiber intake. One cup of brown rice contains 4 grams of fiber, while the same amount of white rice offers only 2 grams. Brown rice is also considered a food with a low glycemic index (GI) which translates to improved blood sugar control and heart health.
Fiber: 4 grams per 1 cup (cooked)/ 1.8 grams per 100 grams (cooked)
4. Whole Wheat Pasta
Just like brown rice, whole wheat pasta is much more fibrous and healthy than white pasta. Kick up your fiber intake even more by adding fibrous vegetables such as avocado and artichokes to your pasta meal. Opting for fibrous grains can also help you manage your weight more effectively, since you will find yourself getting full much more quickly!
Fiber: 6 grams per 1 cup (cooked), 3 grams per 100 grams (cooked)
Final tips and tricks:
1. Check the label
Whatever product you are buying, make sure to check the label for the fiber content per serving. There are many items that are fortified with fiber such as pasta, granola bars, yogurt, and cereal. For instance, ½ – ¾ cup of high-fiber ready to eat bran cereal could contain between 9.1 -14.3 grams of fiber (Health.gov). Common names you should look out for are inulin and polydextrose. Nevertheless, keep in mind that whole plant foods are always the ideal way to reach your recommended daily fiber intake.
2. Opt for whole grains over refined grains
Whole grains go through minimal processing compared to refined grains, and as a result, they have a much higher fiber content. So make sure to replace refined grains in your diet with the whole grain version. For instance, try brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta instead of white, and rolled oats instead of porridge oats.
3. Opt for natural sources of fiber
Sometimes, if you know that your fiber intake is too low, you may consider buying a fiber supplement such as psyllium or guar fiber. However, it is much better to try to obtain your recommended fiber intake from your food before resorting to supplements. There are so many delicious, natural sources of fiber out there – fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains, and more!
4. Go for whole fruits and vegetables instead of fruit juice
Eating whole fruits and vegetables over fruit juices will definitely increase your fiber count. Even cold-pressed juices are stripped of fiber, which in turn leaves them with a high carb and sugar content.
5. Leave the skin
A lot of people tend to peel the skin off fruits and vegetables, including apples, potatoes, and cucumber. However, in doing so, almost half of the fiber content is stripped off and all the health benefits that come along with that are instantly thrown away. For this reason, make sure that you leave the skin on your fruits and veggies – after all, it’s delicious!
6. Spread your fiber intake throughout the day
Eating all your fiber in one sitting is definitely not the easiest or wisest thing to do. Aim to divide up your daily fiber intake throughout your meals and snacks. For example, opt for a high-fiber cereal in the morning, snack on some fibrous apples and pears, enjoy your legumes for lunch, and have a salad sprinkled with chia seeds for dinner.
7. Switch it up
Eating the same food over and over again is definitely boring and dull. Make sure to switch your diet up a little and add some variety to your everyday meal plan. There are so many delicious recipes out there just waiting to be tried!
8. Don’t forget your water
We have been talking about food, but have not yet highlighted the vital importance of water in your diet. As you are increasing your fiber intake, it is really important to drink more water throughout the day. This will help you to get things get moving and avoid unnecessary side-effects such as gas, constipation and bloating. If you are having trouble with drinking enough water, try some unsweetened beverages – just make sure you don’t overdo it.
Ready to step up your fiber game?
Fiber is an important nutrient that you should definitely be getting enough of. It has a wide array of health benefits including lowered blood sugar levels, weight loss management, improved digestion, enhanced gut health, and lower cholesterol levels – to name just a few. Despite it’s importance, statistics from Health.gov suggest that many people are not even close to meeting their Estimated Average Requirement or Adequate Intake levels of fiber.
To help you reach your fiber goal, we have done the research and gathered together a list of some of the most fibrous foods to include to your fiber rich diet plan. So, make sure you start adding foods from the above list to your diet to increase your fiber intake without even noticing that you’re doing it!
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