You’ve probably heard it before from your doctor, a parent, or that health-conscious friend: Eat more fiber! But do you know why dietary fiber is so important for your health?
Yes, fiber is an excellent way to fight constipation and promote regularity. But adding more fiber to your diet can also help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, improve your gut health, and more.
What is Dietary Fiber?
Dietary fiber is the part of plant-based foods your body can't digest or absorb. Instead, it passes mostly intact through and out of your body, absorbing water and bulking up your stool along the way.
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble.
- Insoluble fiber, or not-dissolvable fiber, mostly serves as a bulking agent for your stool. It helps promote the movement of material through your digestive system, but it does not significantly contribute to weight loss. Wheat, vegetables, and seeds are good sources of insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber, or dissolvable fiber, plays an important role in digestion and metabolism, assisting the body in maintaining a healthy weight. It does this by feeding the flora comprising your microbiome (the trillions of bacteria living in your gut that are responsible for breaking down food, among many other amazing functions). Soluble fiber can be found in fruits, oats, legumes and barley.
Both types of fiber are important for your health. But if your goal is to lose weight and boost your metabolism, make sure you are adding plenty of soluble fiber to your diet.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat in a Day?
How much fiber you should eat in a day depends on your biological makeup. In general:
- Women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day.
- Men should aim for 30 to 38 grams of fiber a day.
As you increase your fiber intake, make sure you drink plenty of water to prevent gas, bloating, and constipation.
In this list, you’ll find 33 high-fiber fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts & seeds, and ways to add more fiber to your diet.
- Raspberries: A cup of raspberries packs a whopping 8 grams of dietary fiber, higher than any other fruit. Raspberries are tart treats that make a great topping on cereal, oatmeal, in desserts, or even on salads.
- Pears: Did you know there are over 3,000 pear varieties found worldwide? Pears are not only popular, they’re also nutrient-dense, packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. You’ll find 5.5 grams of fiber in each medium pear.
- Apples: You know what they say about eating an apple a day... With 4.5 grams of fiber in one medium apple, it’s no wonder apples have developed a reputation as a health-conscious and doctor-defying daily staple. Be sure to leave the skin on to reap full fiber benefits.
- Bananas: Grab it and go, blend it into a smoothie, or add it to your favorite cereal or oatmeal. Bananas are versatile, delicious, and oh-so nutritious, containing several essential nutrients in addition to 3 grams of fiber.
- Oranges: Tangy and refreshing, this popular citrus fruit is most commonly recognized for its immune-boosting Vitamin C superpowers. You may not know that oranges are also a good source of fiber: one medium fruit contains 3 grams.
- Strawberries: Eat them plain, add them to a salad, blend them into a shake or dress them up in chocolate, the versatile strawberry is delicious in a variety of meals and desserts. They are also a decent source of fiber. One cup of strawberries contains 3 grams.
- Green Peas (Boiled): Green peas have an impressive resume. Low in calories, high in essential vitamins and nutrients, and packed with fiber (9 grams per cup!), you should consider adding this nutritious veggie to your next meal.
- Broccoli (Boiled): Broccoli is a Cruciferous vegetable, which is rich in fiber and low in calories. This combination helps you feel full without overeating. One cup of chopped boiled broccoli contains 5 grams of fiber.
- Turnip Greens (Boiled): Turnips don’t get a lot of love in the culinary world, and most people that cook with them look right past their leafy tops. Turnip greens add a delightful zing to stews and sautéed dishes, and are high in fiber. One cup of boiled turnip greens contains 5 grams of fiber.
- Brussels Sprouts (Boiled): Ahh, Brussels sprouts. You either love them or you hate them. While their taste is up for debate depending on who you ask, their nutritional benefits sure aren’t. This low-calorie, vitamin-rich veggie can support regularity and gut health with 4 grams of fiber per cup.
- Baked Potatoes w/ Skin: Potatoes have been a staple in many diets for centuries. Baked potatoes are high in fiber (4 grams per medium potato), and rich in Vitamin B6, a winning combination that helps improve metabolism, curb constipation and promote weight loss.
- Sweet Corn (Boiled): Sweet corn is a beloved summer tradition for many families. Corn on the cob is delicious and fun to eat, and packs an impressive 3.5 grams of fiber per cup.
- Raw Cauliflower: Cauliflower has recently found its way into many low-carb recipes as a keto-friendly, gluten-free alternative to traditional rice, pizza crust and even flour. This superfood is also a good source of dietary fiber, at 2 grams per cup (chopped).
- Raw Carrots: They may not have as much fiber as other vegetables on this list at 1.5 grams per medium carrot. But carrots boast a wealth of other health benefits that can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and improve eye health. Eat them raw for full health benefits.
- Whole-wheat Spaghetti: It’s hard to find something to dislike about the classic spaghetti dinner. It’s a staple for many families. But, next time you’re in the pasta aisle, reach for the whole-wheat spaghetti instead. It’s a healthier alternative to white pasta that’s packed with nutrients, including protein, iron, and 6 grams of fiber (per cup).
- Barley, pearled: An alternative to rice and quinoa, pearled barley is great as a side dish, in grain bowls, or in soups and stews. You’ll find a whopping 6 grams of fiber per cup. And since barley is a good source of soluble fiber, this grain can help you lose weight and promote a healthy metabolism.
- Bran Flakes: Bran flakes are a popular, healthy cereal option that can help you add more fiber to your diet. They contain and impressive 5.5 grams per 3/4 cup. Hint: Add some flavor and up your fiber intake even further by adding one of the fruits found on this list to your bran flake breakfast.
- Quinoa: Although similar in texture and structure to rice, quinoa boasts a higher nutritional value with twice as much protein, and fewer calories and carbohydrates. Quinoa also has more fiber than white rice at 5 grams per cup.
- Oat Bran Muffin: Looking for a healthy and fibrous way to start your day? Try oat bran muffins! Full of fiber-rich bran, these healthy muffins will help jump-start your digestive system. Each plain muffin contains 5 grams of fiber. Add raspberries or strawberries to the recipe for even more metabolism-boosting power.
- Instant Oatmeal: Oats are one of the healthiest grains on Earth. With 5 grams of dietary fiber per cup, oatmeal can help lower your cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and promote healthy digestion.
- Air Popped Popcorn: If you’re looking for a guilt-free snack option to help boost your fiber intake, look no further than popcorn. This airy, fluffy grain is surprisingly healthy, boasting 3.5 grams of fiber in every 3 cups. Just skip the butter and salt.
- Brown Rice: Brown rice is a whole grain, which means it contains the entire wheat kernel, including the fibrous bran and vitamin-rich germ. By comparison, processed white rice has had these nutritional components removed. From a fiber perspective, you can expect 3.5 grams per cup of brown rice.
- Whole-wheat Bread: Like brown rice, whole wheat bread contains all the healthy and fiber-rich parts of the wheat kernel, unlike processed white breads. You can find 2 grams of fiber in every slice of whole-wheat bread.
- Rye Bread: Known for its earthy flavor and key role in a Reuben sandwich, rye is another type of bread that packs a fiber punch. Like whole wheat-bread, rye bread contains 2 grams of fiber per slice.
- Split Peas (boiled): Coming in with the most fiber on this list are split peas, which contain a whopping 16 grams of fiber per cup! Most commonly known for their role in the namesake split pea soup, this legume differs from green peas only in terms of how they’re processed - they’re dried which causes a natural split through the middle.
- Lentils (boiled): Most commonly found in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines, lentils are a soft-textured legume with a neutral taste that goes great in stews. Lentils are highly nutritious and also come in top-of-the-charts for fiber, at 15.5 grams per cup.
- Black Beans (boiled): There is a reason beans are known as the magical fruit. Black beans help speed up digestion, prevent constipation and promote regularity with 15 grams of fiber per cup.
- Canned Baked Beans - Like black beans, baked beans contain a significant amount of fiber - 10 grams per cup - which can help promote a healthy digestive system.
Nuts & Seeds
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are incredibly versatile, finding their way into recipes both sweet and savory. You’ll find an impressive 10 grams of fiber per ounce, so consider sprinkling some chia seeds into your next salad, stir fry, or smoothie.
- Almonds: Almonds are a rich source of vitamins and nutrients that can help you lose weight, improve your skin and promote constipation relief. 1 oz. - or a couple handfuls - contain 3.5 grams of fiber.
- Pistachios: These tasty low-carb, high-protein nuts are also a good source of fiber at 3 grams per ounce. With so many ways to eat them - raw/plain, crushed on top of oatmeal, and baked into cookies or bread - they’re easy to add to any diet.
- Sunflower Kernels: Sunflower seeds are not only fun to eat, they are also a good source of fiber at 3 grams per ounce.
- Flaxseed: As one of the main ingredients in natura fiber, it provides both insoluble and soluble fiber and is high in Alpha Linolenic Acid, an Omega-3.
So there you have it, a wonderful list of foods and seemingly unlimited ways to get more fiber into your diet. As you’ve learned, fiber helps you maintain a healthy body weight by assisting with the metabolic process. Fiber also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your system, lowers your blood sugar, and physically moves waste materials through the intestines and out of your body. Simply put, fiber is an essential part of helping your body work like it should.
Boost Your Fiber Intake with Natura Fiber
If you’re concerned you aren’t getting enough fiber in your diet, natura fiber can help. Natura fiber is a simple way to get the right amount of fiber to keep you healthy and your body thriving! The soluble fiber found in our natura fiber formula helps many people experience a reduction in their appetite, feeling fuller, for longer periods of time.
So, whether you’re trying to lose belly fat or are simply seeking to improve the way your body processes the food you eat, adding natura fiber—and its fiber-packed goodness into your diet and healthy lifestyle—can help you achieve and maintain the healthy weight your body deserves.