Your doctor told you to include more high fiber foods in your diet, but why is that so important, and what are the most fiber rich foods, anyway? Getting the daily fiber you need and eating a healthy, wholesome, real-foods diet are synonymous – and we’ll show you how to do it simply each day…
We’ll discuss the amount of fiber you need so your body runs like a well-oiled car and the immense potential fiber holds for weight loss (basically, without it you cannot succeed). And finally we’ll explore how meal replacement shakes fall into the equation – and how they can help you get your daily fiber almost effortlessly.
So let’s start with the top question most likely running through your mind… How much fiber do I really need each day?
On food product labels, you’ll find fiber nestled underneath the “Total Carbohydrates” category, and you want to aim for…
Recommended Amount of Daily Fiber for Adults: (1)
- Men age 50 or younger: 38 grams
- Men age 51 or older: 30 grams
- Women age 50 or younger: 25 grams
- Women age 51 or older: 21 grams
Now the bigger question… Where do you get it? You may be surprised that the sources extend far beyond oatmeal and fiber-fortified cereals.
To answer where to get it, we have to start with what it actually is… Fiber is a type of carb, and though it sounds counter-intuitive to what you would imagine is healthy, your body actually doesn’t digest it. Instead, it travels through your body undigested, performing some important tasks. (2)
There are two different types of fiber:
Soluble fiber– This type dissolves in water in your body, and is known to help lower glucose levels as well as blood cholesterol. It can also help improve blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber– This type doesn’t dissolve in water, and assists with moving food through your digestive system, helping things run smoothly and preventing constipation and other bowel disorders.
So, what are your best food options for a high fiber diet?
The Best High Fiber Foods By Category (3,4)
High Fiber Foods List
- Winner: Oats! –16.5 grams per cup of raw oats!
- Popcorn – 4g in 3 cups popped
- Whole grains – Includes brown rice, wild rice, bulgur and barley
- Whole grain breads – Dark rye, seven-grain and cracked wheat are great choices
- Some Cereals – Look for 5g or more per serving
- Winner: Raspberries, Blackberries and Guavas! – 8g per serving for raspberries and blackberries, and 9g for guavas
- Apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries– 3 to 4 grams if you eat the skin
- Mangos– 3 grams in one cup
- Blueberries – 3.6g per cup
- Avocado – 2g per 2 tablespoon serving
- Winner: Artichokes!– 10g per serving
- Collard greens and swiss chard – 4g per cup
- Carrots and beets – 3 to 4 grams per cup
- Broccoli – 2.4 grams per cup
- Brussel sprouts – 4g per cup
- Potatoes – 3g per serving if you eat the skin
Beans and Legumes:
- Winner – Split peas! – 16.3g per cup cooked
- Lentils – 15.6g per cup cooked
- Kidney beans – 11.3g per cup cooked
- Chickpeas – 12.5g per cup cooked
- Black beans – 15g per cup cooked
Nuts and Seeds:
- Winner – Chia seeds! – 10.6 grams per ounce
- Sunflower, pumpkin seeds and almonds – 3g of fiber in an ounce
- Almonds – 3.4g per ounce
- Quinoa – 5.2g per cup
Some Dairy Products:
- Look for labels on orange juice, milk or yogurt that says “fiber fortified”
Why Fiber is a Superhero (Benefits You May Not Know)
As mentioned, fiber helps your digestive system run smoothly, promotes good bowel health and helps support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. But did you know it may also… (1)
- Lower your risk of colon cancer– Fiber is fermented in the colon and researchers are dissecting how this might play a role in prevention of colon diseases.
- Have additional heart-health benefits– Helps to reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
- Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes– A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may help ward off this disease.
- Promote healthy weight loss– High-fiber foods are denser and more filling than low-fiber ones, so they satisfy you longer while being fewer calories.
- May help prolong your life– Studies show that increasing daily fiber intake may be linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Tips For Consuming High Fiber Foods
Grab a new slice– Instead of reaching for white bread, get a whole-wheat, multi-grain, pumpernickel or rye bread (or any other type that lists whole wheat, whole wheat flour of another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label).
Experiment with pasta– Think beyond the typical white pasta, and try a wheat or veggie-based one. You can even think bigger… forget grains and go with a pure vegetable (like spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash).
Snack smarter – You don’t need to eat the bagged chips or cookies that are staples in vending machines. There’s a whole world of interesting and fiber-rich snacks like carrots or radishes dipped in hummus, celery or apple dipped in peanut butter, and Greek yogurt with almonds and granola.
Bring on the beans – Legumes and beans often get forgotten, which is a shame since they’re some of the healthiest foods for you! If you think of the meals you make fairly often, there’s a good chance you can add in some beans or legumes to make it more nourishing and fiber-rich! Think soups, chilis, salads, tacos and more.
Shake it right – One of the best meal replacement shakes will have optimal fiber (look for one with 5-10g per serving). Not only are diet shakes a great way to eat healthy on-the-go, they’re also a great, easy and convenient way to help you reach your daily fiber goals.