Fiber is incredibly important. It leaves your stomach undigested and ends up in your colon, where it feeds friendly gut bacteria, leading to various health benefits. Certain types of fiber may also promote weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and fight constipation. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consuming about 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume daily. This translates to roughly 24 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men.
What are fiber and health benefits?
Fiber is a blanket term that applies to any type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. The fact your body doesn’t use fiber for fuel doesn’t make it less valuable to your overall health.
Fiber’s presence in the digestive tract can help reduce the body’s cholesterol absorption. This is especially true if you take statins, which are medications to lower cholesterol, and use fiber supplements like psyllium fiber.
Promoting a healthy weight
High-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables tend to be lower in calories. Also, fiber’s presence can slow digestion in the stomach to help you feel fuller for longer.
Adding bulk to the digestive tract
Those who struggle with constipation or a generally sluggish digestive tract may wish to add fiber to their diet. Fiber naturally adds bulk to the digestive tract, as your body doesn’t digest it. This stimulates the intestines.
Promoting blood sugar control
It can take your body longer to break down high-fiber foods. This helps you maintain more consistent blood sugar levels, which is especially helpful for those with diabetes.
Reducing gastrointestinal cancer risk
Eating enough fiber can have protective effects against certain cancer types, including colon cancer. There are many reasons for this, including that some types of fiber, such as the pectin in apples, may have antioxidant-like properties. Fiber offers many health benefits, but it’s important to incorporate fiber-containing foods gradually over the course of a few days to avoid adverse effects, such as bloating and gas. Drinking plenty of water while you up your fiber intake may also help keep these symptoms at bay.
Pears (3.1 grams of fiber)
The pear is a popular fruit that’s both tasty and nutritious. It’s one of the best fruit sources of fiber.
Fiber Content: 5.5 grams in a medium-sized, raw pear, or 3.1 grams per 100 grams.
Strawberries (2 grams of fiber)
Strawberries are a delicious, healthy option that can be eaten fresh. Interestingly, they’re also among the most nutrient-dense fruits you can eat, boasting loads of vitamin C, manganese, and various powerful antioxidants. Try some in this banana strawberry smoothie.
Fiber Content: 3 grams in 1 cup of fresh strawberries, or 2 grams per 100 grams.
Avocado (6.7 grams of fiber)
The avocado is a unique fruit. Instead of being high in carbs, it’s loaded with healthy fats. Avocados are very high in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and various B vitamins. They also have numerous health benefits. Try them in one of these delicious avocado recipes.
Fiber Content: 10 grams in 1 cup of raw avocado, or 6.7 grams per 100 grams.
Apples (2.4 grams of fiber)
Apples are among the tastiest and most satisfying fruits you can eat. They are also relatively high in fiber. We especially like them in salads.
Fiber Content: 4.4 grams in a medium-sized, raw apple, or 2.4 grams per 100 grams.
Raspberries (6.5 grams of fiber)
Raspberries are highly nutritious with a very strong flavor. They’re loaded with vitamin C and manganese. Try blending some into this raspberry tarragon dressing.
Fiber content: One cup of raw raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber or 6.5 grams per 100 grams.
Bananas (2.6 grams of fiber)
Bananas are a good source of many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. A green or unripe banana also contains a significant amount of resistant starch, a type of indigestible carbohydrate that functions like fiber. Try them in a nut butter sandwich for a hit of protein, too.
Fiber Content: 3.1 grams in a medium-sized banana, or 2.6 grams per 100 grams.
Blueberries (2.4 grams of fiber)
2.4 grams per 100-gram serving
Blackberries (5.3 grams of fiber)
5.3 grams per 100-gram serving
Carrots (2.8 grams of fiber)
The carrot is a root vegetable that’s tasty, crunchy, and highly nutritious. It’s high in vitamin K, vitamin B6, magnesium, and beta carotene, an antioxidant that gets turned into vitamin A in your body. Toss some diced carrots into your next veggie-loaded soup.
Fiber Content: 3.6 grams in 1 cup of raw carrots, or 2.8 grams per 100 grams.
Beets (2.8 grams of fiber)
The beet, or beetroot, is a root vegetable that’s high in various important nutrients, such as folate, iron, copper, manganese, and potassium. Beets are also loaded with inorganic nitrates, which are nutrients shown to have various benefits related to blood pressure regulation and exercise performance.
Fiber content: 3.8 grams per cup of raw beets, or 2.8 grams per 100 grams.
Broccoli (2.6 grams of fiber)
Broccoli is a type of cruciferous vegetable and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It’s loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, B vitamins, potassium, iron, and manganese and contains antioxidants and potent cancer-fighting nutrients. Broccoli is also relatively high in protein, compared with most vegetables. We like turning them into a slaw for various uses.
Fiber content: 2.4 grams per cup, or 2.6 grams per 100 grams.
Artichoke (5.4 grams of fiber)
The artichoke doesn’t make headlines very often. However, this vegetable is high in many nutrients and is one of the world’s best sources of fiber. Just wait until you try them roasted.
Fiber Content: 6.9 grams in 1 raw globe or French artichoke, or 5.4 grams per 100 grams.
Brussels sprouts (3.8 grams of fiber)
The Brussels sprout is a cruciferous vegetable that’s related to broccoli. They’re very high in vitamin K, potassium, folate, and potent cancer-fighting antioxidants. Try out Brussels sprouts roasted with apples and bacon or drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
Fiber content: 3.3 grams per cup of raw Brussels sprouts, or 3.7 grams per 100 grams.
Lentils (7.3 grams of fiber)
Lentils are very cheap and among the most nutritious foods. They’re very high in protein and loaded with many important nutrients. This lentil soup is spiced up with cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon.
Fiber content: 13.1 grams per cup of cooked lentils, or 7.3 grams per 100 grams.
Kidney beans (6.8 grams of fiber)
Kidney beans are a popular type of legume. Like other legumes, they’re loaded with plant-based protein and various nutrients.
Fiber content: 12.2 grams per cup of cooked beans, or 6.8 per 100 grams.
Split peas (8.3 grams of fiber)
Split peas are made from the dried, split, and peeled seeds of peas. They’re often seen in split pea soup after holidays featuring ham.
Fiber content: 16.3 grams per cup of cooked split peas, or 8.3 per 100 grams.
Chickpeas (7 grams of fiber)
Chickpea is another type of legume that’s loaded with nutrients, including minerals and protein. Chickpeas form the base of hummus, one of the easiest spreads to make yourself. You can slather it on salads, veggies, whole-grain toast, and more.
Fiber content: 12.5 grams per cup of cooked chickpeas, or 7.6 per 100 grams.
Quinoa (2.8 grams of fiber)
Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal that has become incredibly popular among health-conscious people in the last few years. It’s loaded with many nutrients, including protein, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and antioxidants, to name a few.
Fiber content: 5.2 grams per cup of cooked quinoa, or 2.8 per 100 grams.
Oats (10.1 grams of fiber)
Oats are among the healthiest grain foods on the planet. They’re very high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain a powerful soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has major beneficial effects on blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Overnight oats have become a staple for easy breakfast ideas.
Fiber content: 16.5 grams per cup of raw oats, or 10.1 grams per 100 gramsTrusted Source.
Popcorn (14.4 grams of fiber)
If your goal is to increase your fiber intake, popcorn may be the best snack you can eat. Air-popped popcorn is very high in fiber, calorie for calorie. However, if you add a lot of fat, the fiber-to-calorie ratio will decrease significantly.
Fiber content: 1.15 grams per cup of air-popped popcorn, or 14.4 grams per 100 grams.
Almonds (13.3 grams of fiber)
Almonds are a popular type of tree nut. They’re very high in many nutrients, including healthy fats, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. Almonds can also be made into almond flour for baking with a dose of extra nutrients.
Fiber content: 4 grams per 3 tablespoons, or 13.3 grams per 100 grams.
Chia seeds (34.4 grams of fiber)
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that are immensely popular in the natural health community. They’re highly nutritious, containing high amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Chia seeds may also be the single best source of fiber on the planet. Try them mixed into jam or some homemade granola bars.
Fiber content: 9.75 grams per ounce of dried chia seeds, or 34.4 grams per 100 grams.
Sweet potatoes (2.5 grams of fiber)
The sweet potato is a popular tuber that’s very filling and has a delicious sweet flavor. It’s very high in beta carotene, B vitamins, and various minerals. Sweet potatoes can be a tasty bread substitute or base for nachos.
Fiber content: A medium-sized boiled sweet potato (without skin) has 3.8 grams of fiber or 2.5 grams per 100 grams.
Dark chocolate (10.9 grams of fiber)
Dark chocolate is arguably one of the world’s most delicious foods. It’s also surprisingly high in nutrients and one of the most antioxidant- and nutrient-rich foods on the planet. Just make sure to choose dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of 70–95% or higher and avoid products that are loaded with added sugar.
Fiber Content: 3.1 grams in a 1-ounce piece of 70–85% cacao, or 10.9 grams per 100 grams.