Fiber foods

High Fiber Foods | The Best High Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet

Of course, superfoods like açaí and spirulina spend a lot of time in the wellness spotlight thanks to their vibrant hues and Instagram-ability. But a much less sexy superfood — or rather, superfood category — really should be in the limelight. And that’s fiber.

Despite all the health benefits of fiber, only 1 in 20 Americans are getting enough of the nutrients, according to a 2017 article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

“The lack of fiber in Americans’ diets could be due to fad diets — think low-carb diets, keto, intermittent fasting — that cut out some of the most fiber-rich food categories. or drastically limit the amount of food eaten,” says Mary Stewart, RD, LDregistered dietitian and founder of Cultivate Nutrition in Dallas.

But our lack of fiber could also just be a factor in the Standard American Diet (aka SAD), adds Michelle Hyman, RD, Registered Dietitian at Simple Weight Loss Solutions At New York. the United States dietary guidelines 2020 to 2025 report that 90% of Americans don’t eat the recommended amount of vegetables, 80% are afraid of fruit, and 98% don’t eat enough whole grains, all fiber-packed foods.

“We’re just not eating enough foods that are naturally high in fiber, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes,” Hyman says. “Many ready-to-eat or ready-to-reheat foods and packaged snacks are made with low-fiber refined grains.”

Things get even more confusing when nutrition claims on product packaging are mixed into the mix. The words “made with whole grains,” for example, can be plastered on any item containing any amount of whole grains. This means that the percentage of fiber in different whole grain products ranges between 3.5% and 18%, says Stewart. This translates to a serving of whole grains containing between just 0.5 grams of fiber and nearly 3 grams of fiber per serving. That’s why you want to check the nutrition label and ingredient list of any product you buy and choose ones that contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, or even better, 5 grams of fiber per serving, suggests Stewart.

Why all the hype around this nutrient? Let’s break down the benefits of fiber and how to get more of it.

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What is fiber, exactly?

the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines fiber as a type of carbohydrate made up of many sugar molecules stitched together in a pattern that is not easily digested in the small intestine. Natural fibers are packed into plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.

When it comes to how much fiber to eat, the US Dietary Guidelines suggest ideal fiber intake based on daily calorie consumption. For 1,000 calories, we should aim to consume 14 grams of fiber. For those who identify as women, the general recommendation is 25 grams of fiber per day, and for those who identify as men, it’s 38 grams of fiber per day.

It is also important to know that there are three types of fibers:

  • Insoluble fiberWho Speeds up the digestive system so food and waste can move faster. Think of insoluble fiber as a broom that cleans the intestines along the way, which in turn bulks up your stool and forces you to go to the bathroom regularly.
  • Soluble fiberWho absorbs water like a sponge and, in turn, hinders the absorption of fats and cholesterol in the body. As it is, soluble fiber helps lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood and helps control blood sugar.
  • functional fiber is essentially a fiber supplement. This form of fiber is extracted from natural sources or authentically manufactured and then added to foods or powders.

    The dieticians we spoke to recommend consuming more of the first two types of fiber than the third “because fiber is so readily available in so many delicious and varied foods, I would recommend food as a benchmark,” explains Katherine Brooking, of the nutrition news company Appetite for health in San Francisco.

    The health benefits of fiber

    Think of fiber as an all-natural prescription for improving your total body wellness. It’s been linked in tons of studies and scientist Comments to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Not only does fiber fill you up, it also sets you free, because fiber also helps promote gut health.

    What happens if you don’t get enough fiber, the reality that 95% of us live in on a daily basis?

    You may encounter:

    • Irregular stools
    • Constipation
    • Blood sugar fluctuations
    • Lack of satiety after eating
    • Increased risk of hypercholesterolemia
    • Increased risk of high blood pressure
    • A less than optimal gut microbiota, which can impact the immune system, skin, mood, etc.
    • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes

        “Put simply, fiber is a powerful nutrient worth understanding and incorporating into every meal,” says Stewart.

        7 High Fiber Foods to Start Eating Today

        These dietitian-recommended foods will help you hit your fiber levels. Just be sure to drink plenty of water when changing your menu, especially if your current fiber intake is low. Start by adding one serving of a high-fiber food to one meal a day, then build from there, Stewart says.

        “Increase fiber intake gradually as tolerated. Make sure you have adequate fluid intake when you also increase your fiber intake,” Hyman adds, as too much fiber without enough fluid can lead to constipation, bowel movements bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort.

        1. Beans and legumes

        From lentils and limas to chickpeas and cannellini, almost all beans and legumes are high in fiber and protein. Try them as a meat substitute for an easy fiber fix, suggests Stewart. “Swap the ground beef in tacos for black beans, use lentils in place of meat in your bolognese, or replace the chicken in your salad with cannellini beans.”

        • Fiber for 1 cup of canned white beans: 13 grams

            2. Nuts and seeds

            “Nuts and seeds are not only a good source of fiber, but they also contain other vitamins, minerals and healthy fats,” says Stewart. Grab a handful of almonds, pecans, walnuts or pistachios for a filling snack, or opt for Hyman’s seed of choice: chia. These tiny seeds are a snap to toss into oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce, or blend into smoothies.

            • Fiber per 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of chia seeds: 10 grams
            • Fiber per 1 ounce (about 23) of almonds: 4 grams

              3. Berries

              In addition to being high in vitamin C, berries of all kinds almost unanimously top the fruit category for fiber content. Blackberries and raspberries, in particular, will help fill you up. Use berries to top oats, smoothie bowls or as a standalone snack, or even add them to your dessert. For a fiber-rich post-workout recipe, use a fork to mash the berries, then spread them on your nut butter sandwich instead of the jam.

              • Fiber for 1 cup of raspberries: 8 grams
              • Fiber for 1 cup of blackberries: 8 grams
              • Fiber for 1 cup of blueberries: 4 grams
              • Fiber for 1 cup strawberries, sliced: 3 grams

                4. Pears

                As an oatmeal topping, on-the-go snack, or lunch side dish, this fiber-rich fruit is surprisingly versatile. Hyman recommends sprinkling a halved pear with cinnamon and cooking until tender. serve topped with vanilla yogurt for dessert.

                • Fiber per medium pear: 5 grams

                  5. Whole grains

                  Whether you prefer rice, pasta, or bread, you can find a whole-grain option to swap out for the more refined white version. Try whole-wheat bread instead of potato bread, whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, and whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose . Oatmeal is also a smart choice to start your day with whole grains and fiber, says Brooking. Try it instead of a muffin, sugary cereal or a bagel. “[Oats] contain resistant starch that ferments and nourishes our gut flora, making oats an excellent food for supporting microbiome health,” adds Stewart.

                  • Fiber per 1 cup of cooked oatmeal: 4 grams

                    6. Lawyers

                    Although you might be more familiar with healthy fats, avocados are a surprisingly stellar source of fiber. Use it to top toast, mix into smoothies, as part of salads or cereal bowls, or as a garnish for any of your favorite Mexican dishes.

                    • Fiber per ¼ avocado: 4 grams

                      7. Bananas

                      These affordable and portable potassium stars are also an often overlooked source of fiber, Hyman says. Buy green bananas and other yellow ones each week so that they ripen at different rates. Brown too soon? Peel the fruit, cut it into bite-size pieces and freeze it to use later to thicken smoothies or puree it for a “nice cream.”

                      • Fiber per medium banana: 3 grams

                        Nutrition Information Estimates USDA FoodData Central Nutrition Database.

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