We need fiber.
You’ve heard it from your doctor, health magazines even printed on food packaging.
Despite all the warnings, fiber has been completely dismissed by the typical American diet. We take fiber out of our whole grains and consume them as refined (fiber free) grains. And we don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables to make up for it.
Both of which lead to insufficient fiber intake, which is a problem as fiber is vital to our health.
But it’s not entirely our faults, we’ve been groomed to eat foods high in sugar, fat and refined grains – all of which have little to no fiber content and/or nutritional value.
So, let’s get to the bottom of this shall we? Below we’ll share a brief summary on the importance of fiber, how much to eat, and some high fiber foods to get you eating more fiber!
Importance of Fiber
Fiber is a carbohydrate that moves through our bodies undigested/absorbed. There are two forms of fiber:
- Soluble Fiber which dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material.
- Insoluble Fiber which doesn’t dissolve in water, rather it adds “bulk” to stool and can help move things through the digestive tract.
Making sure we get enough fiber is important because:
– Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system by helping to increase the size of the stool. Larger stool is able to pass through the digestive tract more easily.
– Foods high in fiber can lower your cholesterol. Soluble fiber may lower cholesterol by lowering the “bad cholesterol” level in our bodies. (source)
– May help to maintain a healthy weight. Fiber rich foods tend to be lower in calories and more filling than other options. Potentially filling you up for longer periods of time.
– High fiber foods tend to be rich in other nutrients. Take most fruit and vegetables for example – they’re extremely high in nutrients so you receive the added benefits when consumed.
How Much Fiber Should I Eat?
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, most Americans only eat about 15 grams of fiber a day (source).
Which may sound like a lot, until you learn that women under 50 should consume 25 grams a day and men should eat 38! (source) We’re a little behind…
It’s never too late to make healthy changes! Use the list below for some fiber rich food recommendations.
24 Ultimate High Fiber Foods
Here’s our list of the 24 ultimate high fiber foods.
If your favorite fiber packed food isn’t on here, let us know in the comments below!
Avoid guava juice (juicing fruit/vegetables extracts the fiber from the produce) eating guava is the way to go!
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8.9 Grams of Fiber/Cup
With so many varieties, it’s truly hard to get sick of eating figs.
The one caveat is they can be hard to find out of season (their prime season is fall), although sometimes they’re sold in the freezer section.
14.6 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Dried
As with all other berries, raspberries are often the perfect meal topping. From salads, to parfaits to chicken… they’re hard not to love!
8 Grams of Fiber/Cup
Prunes are dried plums knowns for their ability relieve constipation.
Although relatively high in fiber, the reason behind their laxative effect isn’t fully understood, as 6 grams of fiber isn’t enough to get things moving as effectively as prunes do (source).
12.4 Grams of Fiber/Cup
Although not the most popular of beans, kidney beans pack a mean punch of fiber and protein into any diet!
Try using them in chili or as a side dish for your next family sit down.
11.3 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
Dates (Deglet Noor)
Dates are one of the most delicious yet underrated foods out there. They’re great in salads, stuffed with cheese and served as an app. Even used as a binder in most raw/vegan desserts!
11.8 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Chopped
If you’re looking to up your black bean game, try mixing them into a salad, or making black bean soup! You won’t be disappointed. 🙂
15 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
Mung Beans are very popular in the eastern hemisphere, and are traditionally used in many Chinese, Indian and Filipino cuisines.
They’re more commonly known for their sprouts, which are the white sprouts found in many Asian dishes. Sprouting these beans increases their B vitamin content dramatically! (source)
15.4 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
Avocado is bomb-diggity on it’s own… but it also makes for the perfect cream substitute!
Instead of smothering your toast with mayonnaise, try smashed avocado toast. Try swapping the mayo in your chicken salad with mashed avocado. Add half an avocado to your smoothie in lieu of a banana for a similar texture!
10 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cubed
Toss french beans in olive oil, salt, pepper and a generous amount of garlic for an incredible side to any meal!
16.6 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
Split peas are a great addition to any soup. They cook down into a creamy texture and their starchiness can help keep you nice and full.
16.3 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
In a study conducted on malnutrition in the tropics, winged beans were described as “a high protein crop, [and] one of the important underexploited legumes” (source) in that area.
I have yet to try these gems, have you?
47.1 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Raw
Bulgur is a whole grain with a nutty/rich flavor. It’s often overlooked in western cuisines. If you’d like to incorporate bulgur into your diet try making this tabouleh salad!
8.2 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
The gem of the squashes, acorn squash is low in cals, extremely high in flavor and packed with nutrients!
Get creative with your own acorn squash cooking endeavors. We love stuffing it with veggies and ground turkey, check out the recipe here.
9 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cubed/Baked
Lentils come in an array of colors, making it fun to mix and match into various dishes.
They’re also easy to cook. Unlike other dry beans, they don’t need to be soaked! Just rinsed, boiled and enjoyed.
15.6 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
You’ve heard people rave about almonds for their high protein and healthy fat content, can you believe they’re high in fiber too?!
Hopefully you won’t be eating an entire cup in a day 🙂 even one serving of almonds (typically 1/4 cup) will add a good amount of fiber to any snack or meal!
17.9 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Whole
Did you know that “barley is the oldest known domesticated grain, grown for 10,000 years”? (source)
It’s most commonly used as a base for soups and stews.
6 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
This whole grain is a great addition to any meal, whether it’s sweet or savory!
I love eating buckwheat porridge with almond milk and cinnamon. It’s hearty nature keeps me nice and full until lunch.
4.5 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
My favorite bean.
If you’re new to the chickpea game, try roasting them in a pan with olive oil until they “pop”. Sprinkle with s+p for a delicious midday snack. You’ll love them so much you’re going to want to top everything with chickpeas.
12.5 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
Sesame seeds are most commonly used as a seasoning in ethnic dishes. They can also be found in tahini (sesame seed paste), which is used to make hummus.
Did you know sesame seeds come from the sesame fruit, a pod shaped fruit that looks like okra?? (source).
17 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Dried
Not only is quinoa a killer source of fiber, it’s also:
“The richest source of protein of any grain. It is especially high in lysine, an amino acid that is typically low in other grains. Quinoa’s protein is complete, containing all nine essential amino acids – a rarity in the plant kingdom” (source).
5.2 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
Not only do sunflower seeds make for a delicious snack, they’re the perfect addition to any trail mix, topping to a sweet or savory salad, even sprinkled over breakfast oats!
12 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Dried
I sneak flaxseed meal into my diet by sprinkling some in my morning smoothie, oatmeal or protein pancakes.
4 Grams of Fiber/Tablespoon
Despite their name (which was given to them in the 20’s when they were a staple in the navy (source)), navy beans are a white bean typically used in soups and stews.
19.1 Grams of Fiber/Cup, Cooked
Enjoy these high fiber foods! Let us know your favorites, or if we missed any you love in the comments below 🙂