Fiber is a really big deal. It has a significant impact on just about all parts of our health - from boosting weight loss to decreasing cholesterol. Chances are, getting more fiber in your diet will do your body good.
The struggle for most people is simply knowing which foods are a good source of fiber. Lucky you! You've come to the right place. I've broken down 70 high-fiber foods you can start eating today. The good news is that you probably have many of these foods in your kitchen right now...and if you don't, they're not hard to find and not particularly expensive.
The average adult American today eats somewhere around 15 grams of fiber a day. Recommendations, however, are between 25 and 35 grams of fiber. That number drops much lower for people who are following a keto-style diet or aiming for a diet that is much higher in fat or protein.
Every gram of fiber has huge value to our body. But before you make the jump to eating more fiber, there are a few things you should know.
Here's what I'm going to breakdown for you:
- The Benefits of Getting More Fiber In Your Diet
- The Difference Between Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
- A Sample High Fiber Meal Plan
- How Much Fiber Do You Need?
- 70 High Fiber Foods You Can Eat Right Now
Adding More Fiber to Your Diet: Why It's Important
Fiber does a lot of things for our body - both directly and indirectly. Here are a few good reasons you should kick up the amount of fiber you eat within every meal.
Fiber Helps Boost Weight Loss & Keep Blood Sugar Levels in Check
You've probably heard a million times that fiber is filling, or that it makes you feel fuller. It's true. Foods that are higher in fiber take longer to break down in your stomach, helping to keep hunger in check. It's also worth noting that if we digest foods more steadily, our blood sugar levels are more even. This is great news for anyone living with diabetes.
On the flip side, many refined foods are stripped of fiber, emptying from your stomach quickly and making you feel hungry faster.
Fiber Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer
Research has shown that increasing the amount of fiber in your diet helps to reduce your risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer. It's believed that increasing fiber decreases the amount of circulating estrogen levels that are closely linked with breast cancer.
One interesting study showed that women who regularly ate high-fiber foods like beans and lentils were at a lower risk of developing breast cancer, as opposed to women who ate refined foods, like biscuits and white bread, who were at a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
Fiber Helps to Decrease the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Filling your plate with plenty of fiber on a regular basis has been shown to greatly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Increasing fiber helps to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood, thereby decreasing your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
Fiber Helps Your Body Detoxify Naturally
When you have more fiber in your diet, your gut is grateful! Harmful toxins tend to harbor in our gut, affecting our microbiome and immune system. Fiber acts as something of a sponge for garbage that doesn't need to be in our gut. As fiber works its way through our intestines toward our colon, toxins hitch a ride and work their way out of our body.
If toxins remain in our body, they can recirculate and make us sick.
Fiber Helps Relieve Constipation
Bulking up your diet with more fiber means that you're also bulking up your stool, making bathroom breaks much more productive. If you're dealing with constipation right now, please don't make the jump from 15 grams of fiber to 35 grams. You'll probably regret it. Instead, add small amounts of foods with more fiber into your diet every day so your body can make the transition from low to high fiber a little easier.
As you increase the amount of fiber in your diet, make sure that you're also increasing the amount of water you're drinking. Fiber adds bulk by absorbing water.
It's also important to note that constipation might not be caused by what you're eating or the amount of fiber you're getting in your diet. If you have a problem going that's associated with unusual pain or discomfort, check in with your doctor for the best advice.
Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber: What's the Difference?
First, it's important to know that there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Most vegetables, fruits and grains are a combination of both. Don't stress about which type of fiber you're eating, just get more fiber!
The very uncomplicated definition of soluble vs insoluble fiber goes like this:
- Soluble fiber breaks down and is absorbed by our blood, acting like a sponge, pulling all the gunk out. Fiber has the ability to lower bad cholesterol and pull toxins in our bloodstream. That's pretty incredible!
- Soluble fiber is also a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut. If you're currently taking a probiotic, or eating lots of fermented foods filled with beneficial bacteria, soluble fiber is going to boost the amount in your gut. Not sure what type of probiotic to take? Get my recommendations here.
- Another great benefit of soluble fiber is that it helps to balance blood sugar levels. If you're a diabetic or have pre-diabetes, this is good news for you.
- Insoluble fiber can't break down and stays in our digestive tract but does a great job helping to drag unwanted toxins out of our system.
- This type of fiber also helps to add bulk to our stool, which, when combined with water, helps us 'go' easier.
- You'll also feel fuller when you eat foods with more insoluble fiber.
But there's more. Much, more more!
Sure, fiber helps us poop and is associated with lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, but it's also an amazing aid in keeping our body's delicate ecosystem in balance. Fiber helps to increase the number of good bacteria by feeding it. That's right, just when you thought all that fiber was just going through you, it turns out the good bacteria in our bellies are making a meal out of this rough stuff. Good for them. Thanks to fiber and healthier bacteria, we're able to better control insulin levels (and by association blood sugar levels). It's a win-win!
Most of us already know that fiber makes us feel fuller longer, helping us control our weight. That's old news. But did you know that increasing dietary fiber helps to decrease the chances of you developing diverticulitis (an inflammation of the little pouches in our digestive tract called diverticula)?
Sample High Fiber Meal Plan
Not sure where to start? I'll make it easy for you. Here is a simple high fiber meal plan you can enjoy starting right now!
Breakfast (2 Options)
1 c Old Fashioned Oats
1 tbsp Almond Butter
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 c Fresh or Frozen Berries
2 Slices Sprouted Grain Toast
1/2 C Sliced Cucumbers or Tomatoes
A little sea salt
Lunch (2 Options)
Large Chopped Salad with
2 to 3 c any type of green
1 Carrot, chopped
1/2 c cucumber, chopped
1/4 c walnuts
Lemon juice & sea salt
1 1/2 c Lentil Soup (nearly any type is great, but here is a recipe I like)
Dinner (2 Options)
Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers with a side of Brussels sprouts
How many high fiber foods do you need?
As mentioned above, we should consume somewhere between 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day. I like to aim high and say 35, but that's me. Twenty-five grams may sound doable, but you might be surprised to know that most Americans consume far less.
If you're not eating vegetables a few times a day, or consciously getting fiber from other sources, such as supplements, then you're probably getting no more than 15 grams of fiber a day.
Check out this list and search for some of your favorite foods. Pick out a few of your favorite foods and increase the quantities slowly over the next week, building the amount of fiber you eat. If you ramp up too fast, you might feel a little uncomfortable. Fiber gives our digestive tract a workout much in the same way as exercise does our muscles. Too much too soon, and you'll feel it!
Don't forget to share this article with friends or family if you think they could benefit from it!
Healthy High Fiber Foods
|Food||Serving||Total Fiber in Grams|
|Beans (black)||1/3 cup||10|
|Beans (chickpeas)||1/3 cup||4|
|Beans (pinto)||1/3 cup||4|
|Broccoli (cooked)||1 cup||4.5|
|Broccoli (raw)||1 cup||2.5|
|Brussels Sprouts (cooked)||1 cup||6.5|
|Cabbage (green and cooked)||1 cup||3.5|
|Cabbage (green and raw)||1 cup||2|
|Carrots (raw and sliced)||1 cup||3.5|
|Carrots (fresh and cooked)||1 cup||5|
|Cauliflower (fresh and cooked)||1 cup||3.5|
|Cauliflower (raw)||1 cup||2.5|
|Celery (raw)||1 cup||2|
|Cocoa Powder||1 tsp||0.5|
|Coconut (unsweetened)||1 cup||13|
|Dark Chocolate||1 ounce||2|
|Flaxseed (ground)||2 tbsp||3|
|Hearts of Palm||1 cup||3.5|
|Kale (raw)||1 cup||1|
|Kale (cooked)||1 cup||2.5|
|Mixed Vegetables (frozen)||1 cup||8|
|Oatmeal (cooked)||1 cup||4|
|Onion (raw)||1/2 cup||1.5|
|Peach (fresh and medium)||1||2|
|Peas and Carrots (frozen)||1 cup||5|
|Peas (cooked)||1 cup||9|
|Peas (split and yellow)||1/2 cup||8|
|Peppers (green)||1 cup||2|
|Peppers (red)||1 cup||3|
|Quinoa (cooked)||1 cup||5|
|Spinach (fresh and cooked)||1 cup||5.5|
|Squash (butternut)||1 cup||3|
|Squash (spaghetti)||1 cup||2|
|Squash (summer)||1 cup||1.5|
|Sunflower Seeds||1/4 cup||3.5|
|Sweet Potato||1 cup||7.5|
|Tomato (raw)||1 cup||2|
|Tomato Paste||1 cup||10.5|
|Vegetable Juice||1 cup||2|
|Yams (cooked)||1 cup||7.5|
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