Most fitness buffs focus on protein in their daily diet and overlook the importance of fiber. And that’s a big mistake!

Benefits Of Fiber In Diet

Whereas the role of high-fiber foods for weight loss is a known fact, not many people know that a high-fiber diet helps to improve digestive health, lowers cholesterol numbers, and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Fiber, along with sufficient fluid intake, causes an efficient bowel movement, so it helps in keeping constipation at bay. A study has found that individuals with a higher fiber intake have a longer lifespan than those with a lower intake.

Why Fiber Rich Foods?

Fiber is something the body requires but never absorbs or retains it. Actually, it remains more or less the same from plate to toilet. It is of two types, soluble and insoluble. Most plant-based foods contain a combination of the two. Soluble fiber converts into a gel in the stomach and slows digestion which helps to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. On the other hand, insoluble fiber stays as it is all the way to the colon, rendering waste bulkier and softer thus, it moves more easily through the intestines.

Missing the daily requirement of fiber causes constipation, which makes going to the toilet uncomfortable and laborious. Also, eating less than the daily needs makes it hard to control blood glucose and appetite as the fiber manages the pace of digestion and helps in bestowing a feeling of being full. As is universally true, too much of even a good thing can be bad, so overdoing it with fiber can cause moving food through the intestine too fast, which results in absorbing of much fewer nutrients from the food. It can also lead to bloating, cramping and gassy conditions, particularly when fiber intake is considerably increased overnight.

Unfortunately, few people are eating enough fiber. In reality, you may also not be getting enough fiber. Research suggests that more than 90 percent of Americans aren’t meeting their daily recommended fiber intake.

Recommended Fiber Intake

So, what are the magic numbers? It’s 38 grams of fiber per day for men under 50 and 25 grams for women. Adults over 50 need less fiber (30 grams for guys and 21 grams for ladies) because of reduced food consumption. But in reality, an average person consumes less than 15 grams a day. The solution is eating foods rich in fiber – not foods that tout “added fiber” – to increase your fiber intake. Continue reading here for our recommended list of high-fiber foods.

What Foods Are High In Fiber?

Do you know that whole grains are hardly the best sources of fiber around? Read on here to learn some of the best foods high in fiber.

Increase your fiber intake gradually. If you are eating low-fiber foods for now, don’t hastily switch to eating 38 grams a day as this will cause too much strain to your digestive system suddenly.

Legumes – Best Fiber Foods

1. Split Peas:

Fiber: 13 grams per cup, dry

Split peas are rightly the first item in our high-fiber foods list as they are not only jam-packed with fiber but are brimming with muscle-friendly protein. You will also reap the benefits of folate and B vitamin. They are easier and faster to cook than dry beans without needing a presoak.

2. Lentils:

Fiber – 15.6 grams per cup, cooked

Lentils (members of the legume family) stand in the front row of the highest-fiber foods. They are also a good source of plant-based protein, B vitamins, iron, and many other minerals. They are not only inexpensive but also take less time to cook in a pot of simmering water, which is much faster than dried beans. Green and brown lentils are higher in fiber than red (pink) ones.

3. Black Beans:

Fiber: 15 grams per cup, cooked

Black beans contain not only 15 grams of fiber per cup but also 15 grams of protein. Their dark, rich color portends rich flavonoid content – plant pigments, which are potent antioxidants. They are good for your heart health too.

4. Kidney Beans:

Fiber: 14 grams per cup, cooked

Although many bodybuilders prefer meat than beans, this high-fiber food (including other beans) is star of your kitchen. They are good sources of fiber, protein, and iron. They are inexpensive and convenient to cook as well. It’s a boon for weight watchers because if you eat beans regularly you will be 23% less likely to have a large waistline as compared to the people who shun beans.

5. Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans:

Fiber: 11 grams per cup

Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans. This fiber rich food also contains high amounts of plant protein, iron and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps to maintain a healthy nervous system.

6. Edamame:

Fiber: 8 grams per 1/2 cup

Edamame is green soybeans picked before fully matured. You can find them in the freezer section of most grocery stores. A mere half-cup serving of edamame provides up to 11 grams of protein (good for building your muscle) along with 8 grams of fiber.

7. Lima Beans:

Fiber: 13.2 grams per cup, cooked

They are a nutritious, buttery good source of iron, blood-pressure-lowering potassium, and magnesium. They come fresh in the market during summer times. At other times, you can get bags of frozen lima beans that are an easy way to fulfill your daily fiber needs.

8. White Beans:

Fiber: 10 grams per cup, boiled

They are (also called as navy beans) small, oval-shaped beans with white skin. They have a delicate flavor. These white beans were named Navy Beans because of their inclusion in the U.S. Naval diet during the second half of the 19th Century. They are not only rich in fiber but also contain high amounts of protein and iron and are one of the best nutritional sources of potassium—1 cup will cover 25% of your daily requirement for this hypertension-fighting nutrient.

High Fiber Vegetables

9. Peas:

Fiber: 8.8 grams per cup, cooked

This humble vegetable is an inexpensive fiber source. Peas fated for the freezer are frozen soon after harvest; thereby, their nutritional potency is preserved, including valuable amounts of vitamin K and vitamin A. On top of all that, you even get 4 grams of protein per serving.

Fitness Tip: Do you know one cup of split peas boasts 16.3 grams of fiber, and a cup of frozen peas contains 8.8 grams of the fiber after cooking?

10. Broccoli:

Fiber: 5.1 grams per cup, cooked

It not only provides you with 5.1 grams of fiber per cup of boiled broccoli but also has cancer-preventing properties.

11. Acorn Squash:

Fiber: 9 grams per cup, cooked

This winter vegetable is chockfull of fiber. Its sweet flesh contains high amounts of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gets transformed into vitamin A to boost your immunity and health.

12. Parsnips:

Fiber: 7 grams per cup

This veggie has an amazing nutty, little sweet flavor with an aromatic herbal touch. These tubers are gifted with 60% more dietary fiber than carrots. As a perk, you get a healthy dose of potassium to induce healthy muscle functioning.

13. Sweet Potato:

Fiber: 4 grams per 1 small sweet potato

Ensure to eat sweet potato with skin, as about half of the fiber is contained in the outer layer. We support this fiber source since it provides you with a good amount of fat-fighting fiber – thus good for the physique minded.

14. Brussels Sprouts:

Fiber: 3.5 grams per cup

Few foods are as nutrient-dense as the wrongly maligned brussels sprouts. Not only do they harbor fiber, but the sprouts are loaded with vitamin K and vitamin C. There’s even some research to suggest that vitamin C supplementation may reduce heart rate and perception of exertion during exercise, both of which can make your taxing workouts seem less difficult.

Fruits High In Fiber

15. Dried Figs:

Fiber: 15 grams per cup

Whereas fresh figs may be difficult to find at your local food store, dried figs – high fiber sources – are available year-round. Think of all those tiny seeds as packed with fiber. A perk you get is a range of nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K, which are not found in many other parched fruits.

16. Raspberries:

Fiber: 8 grams per cup, raw

When it comes to berries, these colored trinkets are high-fiber fruits. One cup of these flushed gems provides twice the amount of fiber contained in blueberries. One cup of raspberries not only provides you with 1/3rd of your daily fiber needs but they are also packed with powerful antioxidants, including a healthy dose of vitamin C. Eat them up – whether ruby-red or blue-black, they are nutrition superstars.

17. Blackberries:

Fiber: 7.6 grams per cup, raw

As with their red cousin, lusciously blackberries are rich fiber fruit. The colorful glees are loaded with vitamin K as well. It has been reported that higher intakes of vitamin K are co-related with a reduced risk of big-time killers such as heart disease and cancer.

18. Avocado:

Fiber: 13 grams per fruit, raw

This creamy fruit is one of the best high-fiber snacks. Just two tablespoons of avocado’s creamy flesh provide you with 2 grams of fiber, and the whole fruit about 13 grams. Avocados are also a rich source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats—the “healthy fats,” which can help lower cholesterol and reduce heart-disease risk. You also get the benefits of its nutrient jackpot, including significant amounts of vitamin K, folate, potassium, and vitamin B-6.

19. Pear:

Fiber: 5.5 grams per medium fruit, raw

As with most fruits with edible skins, pear is most nutritious and fiber-packed when its skin is left intact. Keeping the skin on is really important for fiber. Do you know pears contain about 30 percent more fiber than apples? Just ensure that you eat them with their skin intact, as that’s where most of the dietary fiber (as well as several important antioxidants) is found.

20. Frozen Cherries:

Fiber: 5 grams per cup

They are easily available during summer months, but once they bid goodbye, it’s hard to find them fresh. But wait, don’t get disappointed, you can get lusciously sweet frozen cherries that are already usefully pitted and chockfull of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.

21. Baby Oranges – High Fiber Snacks

Fiber: 5 grams per 5 fruits

Also called Kumquats, an exotic name. It is the size of a large grape that you can pop whole into your mouth – no need for peeling. They are like an orange that has been turned inside out – whereas the eatable rind is incredibly sweet, the flesh is a little sour. Since you can eat them with their skin, kumquats are high-fibrous food.

22. Apples:

Fiber: 4.4 grams per regular-size apple, raw

Just like other skin fruits, the most fiber is found in the apple’s skin. Make sure to eat apples with skin intact, otherwise, you will miss out on fiber and a horde of healthy phytochemicals. Once you take the skin off, you take off a host of the good stuff that’s in there.

Grains – Foods With Fiber

23. Dark Rye Flour:

Fiber: 7 grams per 1/4 cup

If you want to have a food high in fiber, use dark rye flour instead of wheat flour. It’s made by grinding up whole rye kernels into flour. Healthy rye flour is not so popular in the US but is usually used in Scandinavian kitchens for making foods like bread and crackers.

Besides fiber, it boasts of many crucial nutrients, including phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, and iron. Keep in mind that “light rye flour” is just like white flour, as a portion of its nutritional goodness is stripped off.

24. Wheat Bran:

Fiber: 6 grams per 1/4 cup

Grains comprise three elements – endosperm, germ, and bran. The latter part has most of the fiber. When the bran is separated from the whole wheat, you get bran flakes. It’s also full of manganese, a mineral that contributes a major role in metabolism.

Fitness Tip: Want to get plenty of fiber and protein all together. Whip up a nutritious smoothie and have your breakfast on the go!

25. Steel-Cut Oats:

Fiber: 5 grams per ¼ cup, Dry

It’s a super fiber source of food. Steel-cut version is more filling, which can help reduce mid-morning hunger pangs. It’s made when the whole grain is passed through steel blades, cutting them into pellet-like pieces. Oats have beta-glucan, a unique kind of fiber that works to lower cholesterol levels and boost your immune-system function. They also have a superior mix of soluble fiber food (the type that reduces blood cholesterol) and insoluble fiber (which keeps your digestive system running smoothly).

26. Popcorn:

Fiber: 4 grams per 4 cups

A high fiber source with low calories, about 4 grams per 4-cup serving. Go for the plain, air-popped version, or look for bagged versions with as short of an ingredient list as possible, but not the calorie-bomb multiplex variety. This humble snack is often overlooked when talking about high-fiber snacks. This fiber-loaded snack with just 130 calories per 4-cup serving makes it tough for you to find more snacks that are less menacing to your waistline.

27. Whole-Wheat Pasta:

Fiber: 6.3 grams per cup, cooked.

Swap out traditional pasta for the whole-wheat version. It’s a great way to bring more fiber into your diet. If you are used to white pasta, you can gradually acquire whole-wheat pasta taste.

Nuts And Seeds – High Fiber Sources

28. Chia Seeds:

Fiber: 11 grams per ounce

This genuine superfood is not only chockfull of fiber but also is a great source of the vital omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid that are reported to have heart-healthy benefits. You can go for either the white or dark chia seeds, as both are generally equally nutritious.

29. Ground Flaxseed:

Fiber: 4 grams per 2 tablespoons

This seed is an excellent source of soluble fiber. In your stomach, soluble fiber absorbs water and transforms into a gel, slowing digestion. As a result, it keeps you feeling full for longer. Perk is that it moderates your blood sugar levels as well.

Just like chia seeds, flax seeds provide omega fats and are also a source of beneficial lignans and plant compounds, which are reported to have cholesterol-lowering powers. To properly absorb the nutrients, the flax seeds must be ground into a powder.

Fitness Tip: You can make your own powerful nut butter spread by grinding a mix of 1 cup unsalted almonds, 1 cup pecan halves, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, and one tablespoon olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil in a food processor or blender until creamy.

30. Almonds:

Fiber: 3 grams per ounce

Almonds—and pretty much every other edible nut and seed that you can name—are good sources of fiber and filled with healthy fats and protein. Almonds also provide healthy monounsaturated fat, magnesium, and vitamin E. Research has also reported that increasing vitamin E intake can increase antioxidant activity, which can help offset some of the oxidative stress associated with intense training.

31. Sun Flower Seeds:

Fiber: 3 grams per ounce

The kernels of the sun-worshiping flower generally remain unnoticed under the shadow of nuts such as almonds and walnuts, but they’re a great way to introduce more fiber to your diet. The shelled kernels also offer vitamin E and selenium to help further lace your diet with beneficial nutrients. A study has found that the higher your selenium levels, the lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Whole wheat, brown rice, pearled barley, and dried coconut are some other foods that are high in fiber.

Fitness Tips:

(i) As you add foods with high fiber to your diet, be sure to drink more water, too.

(ii) Key is to increase your fiber intake gradually. If you normally eat (low-fiber) foods for now, don’t abruptly start eating 40 grams of fiber a day, as that can cause a lot of stress to the digestive system.

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq – Best Fitness Guru, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He Renu Bakshi - Fitness Buffhqpassed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”

Pin It on Pinterest