To put it simply, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It plays a major role in our digestive health, traveling through our digestive system absorbing water, and removing waste and toxins.
There are two types of fiber:
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help lower glucose levels and help lower blood cholesterol.
- Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water. It can help food move through your digestive system, by increasing the size of your stool and speeding up its process through the gut.
According to the American Heart Association, women need roughly 25 grams of fiber daily, while the number for men jumps to 38 grams. Unfortunately, Americans are getting less than half of the daily intake recommendations.
Increasing your fiber intake is easy enough though, with lots of delicious foods that can help us meet the daily quota.
Here are a few to add to your shopping list.
Pears: 6g in a medium-sized pear
Be sure to leave the skin on which contains the majority of the fiber found in pears! You can try this super simple pear and lentil salad for a fiber boost.
Lentils: 8g per 100g
Lentils are an extremely nutrient-dense food rich in both insoluble and soluble fibers. They also have the potential to lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose. According to a study from the University of Guelph, replacing potatoes or rice with cooked lentils can lower blood glucose levels by more than 20% in healthy adults.
Oats: 10.1g per 100g
This whole-grain powerhouse packs serious nutritional benefits. They contain a powerful soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has beneficial effects on blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Add them to your homemade muesli for a healthy breakfast that ticks all the boxes.
Chickpeas: 17g per 100g
Chickpeas contain a soluble fiber called raffinose, which is fermented in the colon by good bacteria. The good bacteria in your gut breaks this down so your colon can digest it slowly.
Artichoke: 5.4 grams per 100g
Although they don’t make headlines very often, artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables and are a great way to boost your fiber without increasing your caloric intake. They contain inulin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic.
Brussels sprouts: 3.8 g per 100g
Along with broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts belong to the cruciferous family and are packed full of fiber. Roasted Brussels sprouts make a delicious side dish. We love this recipe.
Avocado: 10g in 1 cup of raw avocado
Avocados always seem to be in the spotlight, and for good reason. They’re loaded with healthy fats and both types of fiber.
Almonds: 3.3g per handful
A small handful of raw, unsalted almonds provides a boost of protein and fiber which can help to lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels as well as help to increase feelings of fullness.
Chia seeds: 4.9g per tablespoon
Proof good things come in small packages, chia seeds are highly nutritious, containing magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, and are one of the best sources of fiber. Try them mixed into overnight oats, chia puddings, or this smoothie bowl!
Raspberries: 7g per 100g
Low in calories and packed full of fiber, raspberries are a healthy and tasty addition to your diet.
While fiber offers many health benefits, it’s important to remember to incorporate high-fiber foods gradually to avoid bloating and gas. Drinking plenty of water while you increase your intake can also help keep these unwanted symptoms at bay.