Fueling your body with high fiber foods can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent a variety of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, diverticulitis and cancer (1,2). It can also help prevent annoying conditions, such as constipation and hemorrhoids.
According to the Institute of Medicine, women aged 50 and younger, should get at least 25 grams/day of fiber. Women over 50, should shoot for at least 21 grams/day. (3)
Here are some easy ways to boost your fiber intake:
- Enjoy a hearty bowl of oatmeal. Add some berries or a sliced banana and some nuts to boost your fiber and your flavor.
- Have a slice of whole grain toast topped with avocado.
- Load up an omelet with a variety of veggies.
- Enjoy a bowl of yogurt topped with berries, bananas, nuts and chia seeds.
- Have a spinach or kale salad with berries and nuts.
- Have some broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts or cabbage.
- Serve up a side of beans or lentils with your meal, or toss some into your soup or salad. A half cup (cooked) has about 7 grams of fiber.
- Include an ancient grain, such as amaranth, buckwheat, barley or quinoa. Check out the ancient grains blog for more ideas.
- Substitute a piece of whole-wheat bread for white bread and gain 2 grams of fiber (double that for a sandwich!).
- Swap 1/2 cup brown rice for white rice for an extra 2 grams of fiber.
- Change up your pasta and gain an extra 6 grams of fiber by eating whole wheat instead of white pasta (per cup).
- Have an apple or pear and some almonds for a snack, and you will be adding another 6-7 grams of fiber.
- Try snacking on 1/2 cup of veggies with 1/4 cup of hummus and get 6 grams of fiber.
- Popcorn is another great snack option. Enjoy 3 cups of air-popped popcorn, for another 4 grams of filling fiber.
- Make a smoothie with leafy greens, fruit and seeds.
Always remember to drink plenty of water — especially when you are increasing your fiber intake! You need lots of fluids to keep that fiber flowing.
Check out these websites for the fiber count of popular foods:
Today’s Dietitian. The Top Fiber-Rich Foods List.
Mayo Clinic. Chart of High Fiber Foods.
IOM Recommendations: Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids.