15 fiber-packed foods and tasty tips for how to eat them

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15 fiber-packed foods and tasty tips for how to eat them
© Hyoung Chang / Contributor / Getty Images 15 fiber-packed foods and tasty tips for how to eat them

  • High fiber foods include chia seeds, beans, coconut, guava, peas, and much more.
  • Make a quick high-fiber snack with some carrots and hummus or avocado toast.
  • Aim to get as much fiber as you can from whole foods compared to supplements.

Fiber is beneficial for your health: It helps support regular bowel movements and keeps you feeling fuller, longer, which may aid weight management.

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Moreover, “getting enough fiber helps promote a healthy gut and digestive tract, and has been shown to help reduce risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancers,” says Lon Ben-Asher, RD, a dietician with Pritikin Longevity Center, a health resort.

Types of fiber

Fiber is a substance found in plants and there are two types (both equally important for your health):

  • Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel. This helps slow digestion, which helps control blood sugar and can reduce risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber is found in beans, whole wheat, seeds, nuts, and fruits.
  • Insoluble fiber is found in vegetables and whole grains. It doesn’t dissolve in water. Instead, it helps food pass through the stomach and intestines and adds substance to the stool.
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Females should get 25 grams (g) of fiber each day, while males should get 38 g. Unfortunately, only about 7% of Americans reach their recommended daily, so most of us could benefit from eating more fiber.

The best sources of fiber are whole, minimally-processed plant-based foods, says Ben-Asher. So, incorporating these 15 high-fiber foods into your diet can help you meet your fiber needs.

1. Chia seeds

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Just one tablespoon of dry chia seeds contains nearly 4 g of fiber. Incorporate chia seeds into a smoothie or yogurt for breakfast, or make chia seed pudding for a fiber-rich dessert.

Just be careful when eating dry chia seeds because they can cause swallowing problems as they absorb fluid. Generally, it’s recommended to soak chia seeds in a liquid for at least 10 minutes before consuming.

2. High-fiber cereal

An unsweetened, high-fiber cereal, like Fiber One Original Bran or Nature’s Path No Added Sugar granolas, is a great way to start your day with a dose of fiber.

Half of a cup of high-fiber cereal contains about 14 g of fiber, so you’ll be well on your way to hitting your daily goal.

3. Guava

When you eat guava you consume the flesh, rind and seed, making this fruit an awesome source of fiber. One cup has 9 g of fiber.

4. Raspberries

If you prefer your fiber with a touch of sweetness, grab some raspberries. You’ll get 8 g of fiber in each cup.

Blackberries and blueberries are also rich in fiber and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or eaten fresh.

5. Chickpeas

Cooked chickpeas have more than 6 g of fiber in just half a cup. Roast them for a crunchy snack, or puree them into hummus for a healthier veggie dip compared to ranch or blue cheese dressing.

6. Lentils

Lentils are bursting with fiber and also rich in protein, so they’re super healthy, says Ben-Asher. Add these to salads or eat them in soups or sauces. A half cup of cooked lentils has nearly 8 g of fiber.

There are various types of lentils including red, green, and brown. Some types may have more fiber than others so check the nutrition label before purchasing if your focus is fiber.

7. Beans

Beans are full of fiber and can be incorporated into many dishes like soups, spreads, and salads.

Navy, white, and yellow beans all have more than 9 g of fiber in just half a cup, making them one of the most fiber-rich food options.

8. Avocado

Half a cup of avocado has 5 g of fiber. James J. Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist with Providence St. Joseph Hospital recommends spreading avocado on sandwiches, or incorporating diced avocado with beans for a fiber-rich meal.

9. Peas

Frozen peas are one of the simplest vegetables to prepare and an easy source of fiber, with 9 g per cup. Eat peas on their own, in soups or curries, over a salad, or over whole grain bowls.

10. Kiwi

A cup of kiwi contains 5.5 g of fiber. Kiwi is particularly helpful for people who have chronic constipation, Lee says, and it can help with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Add kiwi to a fruit salad or cube it and freeze it to add to smoothies.

11. Bananas

Bananas are easy to carry, so they’re great for snacking on the go, says Lee. A medium banana has about 4 g of fiber, while larger bananas have up to 6 g, he says.

12. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a low-calorie vegetable, and is a great substitute for rice or refined flour in dishes like pizza, Ben-Asher says. You’ll get 5 g of fiber in each cup of cooked cauliflower, including lots of insoluble fiber.

13. Coconut

Coconut probably doesn’t spring to mind when you think of fiber. And yet one ounce of coconut has 4.5 g of fiber. Sprinkle unsweetened shaved coconut on oatmeal or yogurt to add some texture and additional flavor.

14. Popcorn

If you’re craving a crunchy snack but want to incorporate fiber, popcorn is a great choice.

Each cup has about 2 g of fiber, but since you usually eat a few cups at a time you’ll end up with a substantial dose. Just be sure not to go overboard with butter and salt.

15. Almonds

One ounce of raw almonds has 3.5 g of fiber. Grab a handful of almonds on the go as a snack or sprinkle them over a salad. They’ll add texture and a bit of sweetness to any dish.

Insider’s takeaway

Whole-wheat breads, cereals, and pastas generally have more fiber than alternatives that are not whole-wheat, so choosing those along with the foods above can help bolster your fiber intake.

Some people may benefit from fiber supplements, but you should talk to your doctor before using them. Some supplements only provide 2 to 4 grams of fiber per serving, says Lee, so you’ll still need to eat fiber-rich foods to meet your daily recommendations.

Because of that, almost all Americans should be focused on eating more fiber-rich foods, says Ben-Asher. “Consuming an adequate amount of dietary fiber daily is essential to overall health and wellness,” he says.

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