- 1 Best fiber foods to add to your diet
- 2 Why is fiber important?
- 3 How much fiber should you eat daily?
- 4 High fiber foods: Legumes
- 5 High fiber foods: Vegetables
- 6 High fiber foods: Fruit
- 7 High fiber foods: Nuts and Seeds
- 8 How to eat more fiber daily
- 8.1 1. Include high fiber foods at every meal
- 8.2 2. Substitute refined for whole grains options
- 8.3 3. Eat avocados daily
- 8.4 4. Include vegetables in all meals and eat them first
- 8.5 5. Eat chia seeds
- 8.6 6. Include legumes in your daily meals
- 8.7 7. Choose snacks rich in fiber
- 8.8 8. Consider a fiber supplement
- 9 Best fiber supplements you can use
- 10 Should you be worried about eating too much fiber?
- 11 Final Thoughts on High Fiber Foods
- 12 Best Fiber Foods You Should Eat Daily
Best fiber foods to add to your diet
High fiber foods are an essential part of a healthy digestive system. There are two types of fiber that you get from foods, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that slows down the digestion of food and this is what keeps you full for longer.
On the hand, insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool helping it move faster through the intestines. This is what keeps your bowel movements regular and also prevents constipation.
However, the benefits of fiber foods go beyond just improving digestion.
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Why is fiber important?
High fiber foods do more than just keep your bowel movements regular. Here are some of the best reasons to eat more of these fiber foods daily
1. It feeds good gut bacteria
Perhaps one of the major reasons everyone should consider eating more fiber foods is because it acts as a prebiotic. Unlike other foods such as carbs and proteins, fiber remains undigested and unused as it reaches your digestive system.
This allows the good gut bacteria aka probiotics in your body to feed on it and break it down.
There’s more, you want to maintain good gut bacteria because these guys support your immune system, brain function, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Eating fiber foods daily ensures gut bacteria have enough food to thrive in order to support important body functions. You can also buy some probiotics aka the good live bacteria found in fermented foods to restore the health of your gut.
2. Boosts weight loss
When you eat fiber foods, they form a gel-like substance in your stomach that slows down the digestion of food and keeps you full for longer.
This is why high fiber foods are considered one of the best weight loss foods.
3. Help control blood sugar.
Fiber foods are very low on the glycemic index meaning that when you eat them they don’t result in a rapid spike in your blood sugar. This is not just important for those with diabetes.
You see when you eat a high-carb meal, your blood sugar levels go up signaling your body to store fat as some carbs are broken down to be used as energy.
However, this is not the case with fiber foods as they can actually help you lose weight fast as they keep you full and satisfied.
How much fiber should you eat daily?
According to dietary recommendations, how much fiber you should eat depends on factors such as your age and gender;
- Adult women should eat at least 28g daily
- Adult men require at least 34g
Children teenagers and adolescents should eat less as energy requirements are not similar
- Female teenagers from ages 14- 18 require 25.2g
- Male teenagers from ages 14- 18 should eat at least 30.8g
- Female adolescents from ages 9- 13 require 22.4g
- Male adolescents from ages 9- 13 should eat at least 25g
- Female children from ages 4 – 8 require 16.8g
- Male children from ages 4 – 8 require 19.6g
- Children from ages 1- 4 should eat 14g
To be able to meet this requirement, you need to know the right fiber foods to eat. There is no fiber in animal protein, fiber is only available in plant-based foods.
In this article, we cover the best high fiber foods to include in your daily diet;
High fiber foods: Legumes
Adzuki beans are commonly used to make red bean paste a dish common with Japanese cuisine. You can add them to soups, or make an easy stew for rice.1 cup of cooked adzuki beans provide 16.8 g of fiber (2)
3. Split peas
Though often overlooked, split peas come in various colors and are one of the easiest legumes to cook. They taste great in soups, salads, or curries. In addition, they make for a great side dish for weekend breakfasts.
1 cup of cooked split peas provides 16.3 g of fiber (3)
In addition to being a great plant-based protein, lentils are also great at reducing blood sugar levels. They come in different varieties and colors such as brown, red, green, and black.
1 cup of cooked lentils beans provides 15.6 g of fiber (4)
5. Pinto beans
Pinto beans have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol. They’re commonly eaten whole, refried or mashed. Furthermore, they are an excellent source of plant-based protein and folate.
1 cup of cooked pinto beans provides 15.4 g of fiber (5)
6. Mung beans
Mung beans are small green legumes that eaten cooked or sprouted. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well as plant-based protein. Furthermore, they are considered heart-healthy food.
1 cup of cooked lentils beans provide 15.4 g of fiber(6)
7. Black beans
Black beans are considered low on the glycemic index as they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar. Not only are they diabetic-friendly, but they’re also weight loss-friendly and heart-healthy.
1 cup of cooked black beans provides 15 g of fiber (7)
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8. Lima beans
Also known as butterbeans due to their buttery texture, lima beans are also a great source of plant-based proteins. 1 cup of cooked lima beans provides 13.2 g of fiber (8)
9. Kidney beans
The most popular of all plant-based proteins. Kidney beans are a rich source of high protein, fiber, and iron. Red kidney beans are commonly used in casseroles and chilies.
1 cup of red kidney beans provides 13.1 g of fiber(9)
Also known as garbanzo beans or Bengal gram. This high-carb legume is one of the most popular fiber foods. Not only is it rich in protein but also fiber, folate, and manganese.
1 cup of chickpeas provides 12.5 g of fiber(10)
High fiber foods: Vegetables
Artichokes though often overlooked are considered one of the best sources of antioxidants. In addition, they also contain minerals, folate, and fiber with zero fat.
1 medium artichoke provides 10.3 g of fiber (11)
2. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are one of the most popular root tubers in the world. They have a naturally sweet taste that makes it a favorite to many. This starchy vegetable is a nutritious powerhouse full of vitamin A.
Furthermore, it’s also rich in fiber and antioxidants. 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes provides 8.2 g of fiber (12)
Considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables in the world, broccoli should be a staple in your diet.
Besides, it has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and heart health. 1 medium stalk of broccoli provides 5.9 g of fiber ( 21% of the daily recommendation) (13)
Parsnips are cream root tubers that look like white carrots. These sweet vegetables are easy to prepare and incorporate into any dish. Not only are they rich in fiber but also rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
1 parsnip provides 5.8 g of fiber (14)
5. Winter squash
This low cholesterol vegetable is also a good source of vitamin k, riboflavin, folate, potassium, and copper. I cup of cubed winter squash provides 5.7 g of fiber (15)
High fiber foods: Fruit
The undisputed king of healthy fats. Not only are avocados high in fiber but they contain at least 20 vitamins and minerals. In addition to these nutrients, this superfood is considered one of the best brain foods to eat daily.
1 whole avocado provides 13. 5g of fiber (16)
Prunes are sweet and easy to incorporate into your diet as the dried varieties require no preparation. Not only will they relieve any constipation, but prunes are also full of antioxidants that reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
1 cup of prunes provides 7.1 g of fiber (17)
A staple among breakfast foods, raspberries can be added to pancakes, cereals, oatmeal basically any dish.
In addition to high fiber content, raspberries are rich in antioxidants that boost heart health and reduce the risk of certain cancers. 100 grams of raspberries provides 6.5 g of fiber (18)
Pears are among the best weigh-loss friendly fruits available. Not only are they sweet and rich in fiber but they’re cholesterol and fat-free.
1 medium pear provides 5.5 g of fiber (19)
Another breakfast staple, blackberries are a sweet addition to any meal. You can add them to these meal replacement shakes or enjoy them with your breakfast pancakes
In addition to fiber and antioxidants, they’re also rich in vitamins C, K, and A. 100 grams of blackberries provides 5.3 g of fiber ( 23% of the daily recommendation) (20)
High fiber foods: Nuts and Seeds
Oats have become one of the healthiest breakfast options available. From oatmeal, overnight oats, or baked oat cookies, oats are versatile and fiber-rich alternatives.
Unlike the name suggests, buckwheat is actually a seed. It can be added to everyday breakfast foods or flours. As it does not contain any gluten, it is a perfect alternative to those with gluten intolerances.
1/2 cup of buckwheat provides 8.5 g of fiber(22)
How to eat more fiber daily
1. Include high fiber foods at every meal
Eating 28g of fiber daily is going to be a challenge. The best way to make sure you’re meeting your requirements is to include high-fiber foods with every meal.
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For breakfast, start with oatmeal and include fiber-rich blackberries or raspberries. For dinner and lunch, add some chickpeas and beans for a filling option.
Opt for healthy snacks such as apples, pears, or popcorn that are high in fiber.
2. Substitute refined for whole grains options
Perhaps the easiest substitution that most of us can make but are not aware of. Because whole grains are minimally processed, they retain much of their good fiber and nutrients.
In most cases, you will find that fiber in whole grains is 2x as much as that found in refined grains. Try this, instead of white rice and pasta, try some wild rice, wholewheat pasta, or barley.
3. Eat avocados daily
With avocado, you’re not just getting fiber, you’re also getting healthy fats and a good boost of vitamins and minerals. Besides, creamy avocados are so rich in flavor they are guaranteed to enhance any meal.
What’s more, just 1/2 an avocado will provide you with 6.7g of fiber (12). You can have it on your breakfast toast as a snack. Add it to your lunch salad or include it in your dinner.
4. Include vegetables in all meals and eat them first
Easier said than done but including vegetables in all your meals will significantly improve your diet. For most people eating vegetables seems almost impossible, because you just can’t think of new broccoli recipes daily.
However that doesn’t have to be the case, with meal services like Nutrisystem, you get ready-made meals balanced to meet your weight loss goals.
Let’s face it, carbs and protein can be tempting and once you dig in it’s pretty hard to stop. Most times you’ll feel full with a plate full of greens that you didn’t even touch.
Avoid the temptation and the guilt afterward and eat your vegetables first.
5. Eat chia seeds
If you enjoy meal replacement smoothies for breakfast, you can them in or just add them to plain water to drink throughout the day. If you prefer some flavor, add them to healthy snacks such as yogurt for a filling treat.
6. Include legumes in your daily meals
Legumes are probably the best fiber foods you can eat. They are a must-have in your daily diet as they perform double-duty. Not only do they serve as fiber foods, but they’re also high in protein.
What’s more, it’s actually better for your health to switch some of your animal protein for legumes. This helps to reduce the risk of chronic disease due to high saturated fat in animal proteins.
Start slow and alternate between animal proteins and legumes at mealtimes. If you had meat for lunch then consider beans for dinner and vice versa.
7. Choose snacks rich in fiber
Choose snacks such as high-fiber berries, apples, or pears. You can pair them with nut butter for a filling treat.
8. Consider a fiber supplement
The best way to fiber to your diet is by eating fiber foods. However, if you do find that your diet is not providing you with enough fiber, consider supplementing.
Even though supplements will help you add more fiber to your diet they do come with some challenges. Many people do experience bloating and gas. Also, keep in mind that’s it’s always best to start slow with supplements.
Best fiber supplements you can use
If you do choose to supplement, it’s important to start slowly and follow the dosage instructions. Be mindful of sugar in some supplements especially in chewable tablets.
Because different brands offer different forms of supplements. Always check the nutrition label for the amount of fiber you’ll get per serving. With that in mind: these are the best fiber supplements worth your money:
Psyllium is a soluble fiber derived from an Indian herb known as Plantago Ovata.
As a fiber supplement, you can buy it in powder, granules, capsules, or husk form. This supplement is most often used to relieve constipation due to its excellent gelling properties.
What’s more, psyllium has been shown to help reduce bad cholesterol when consumed regularly due to its ability to bind to fat.
Here’s an excellent selection of different forms of psyllium you can use.
If you’re looking for a fiber that is will boost your gut health, consider inulin. It’s a prebiotic fiber that is found in the roots of foods such as chicory root, whole wheat, onion, and Jerusalem artichoke.
In addition to boosting gut health, inulin has been shown to help with blood sugar, reduce appetite, and boost weight loss. Despite its many benefits, inulin can cause gas and is not advisable for those struggling with constipation.
You can either buy it in powder or capsule form
Methylcellulose is a synthetic fiber that is derived from plant cellulose. However, unlike psyllium, it does not ferment and is less likely to cause gas or bloating.
Do its ability to absorb water and add bulk to stool, this supplement is often used to treat constipation.
4. Wheat dextrin
Commonly sold under the name Benefiber, what dextrin is a fiber supplement obtained from wheat starch. It is a tasteless soluble fiber that expands to form a gelatinous substance when mixed with water.
5. Acacia fiber
If you’re looking for a gluten-free fiber supplement, try acacia fiber. This prebiotic fiber is sourced from the acacia tree. This soluble fiber is a good way to boost gut health, control blood sugar, and even lower cholesterol.
Unlike other fiber powders, it dissolves but doesn’t thicken in water. Its mild taste means it can be a good addition to weight loss shakes or just added to plain water.
Should you be worried about eating too much fiber?
Even with fiber foods, too much of a good thing can turn bad.
If you increase your fiber intake too fast, you won’t allow you gut bacteria and body enough time to catch up and this might result in some negative side effects.
You may experience bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhea or even intestinal blockage especially in those with bowel issues such as Crohn’s disease.
If you do feel that your symptoms are due to eating too much fiber, here’s what you can do;
- Drink plenty of fluids and water
- Do light exercises such as walking,
- Discontinue any fiber supplements
- Eat bland food diet
- Keep a food diary to determine just how much fiber you’re actually consuming
Most times this will relieve the symptoms and you can slowly reintroduce fiber foods to your diet. To avoid a reoccurrence, eat fiber foods throughout the day rather than one big meal.
Final Thoughts on High Fiber Foods
High fiber foods are essential to a healthy diet as they promote good gut health, fight constipation, promote weight loss, and even lower blood sugar. However, to benefit you have to ensure your daily diet has enough of these fiber foods
You can choose from a variety of legumes, vegetables, fruits, and seeds. Include these foods in all your meals throughout the day starting with high-fiber breakfast options such as oatmeal topped with raspberries.
However if you do find that you’re having a hard time eating enough fiber foods, you can consider using fiber supplements