These healthy fiber-rich foods help you feel full, support your digestive system, and make achieving your weight loss goals a lot easier.
Due to the highly-refined, modern American diet, the average American isn’t getting enough of one of the most important nutrients: fiber. Without a consistent intake of healthy, soluble and insoluble high-fiber foods in your diet, you’ll experience dips in energy, have difficulty losing weight, and also increase your risk of diabetes and other metabolic issues.
Dietary fiber is a class of complex carbohydrates described as an indigestible long chain of sugar molecules. Fiber is naturally found in complex carb foods such as fruits, veggies, grains, and legumes.
What is fiber?
Many different studies have highlighted how eating a diet high in fiber can boost your immune system and overall health, and improve how you look and feel. Some of the benefits of a high-fiber diet include:
Americans should consume 28 grams of fiber per day if they’re following a 2,000-calorie diet, according to the FDA.
Unfortunately, we’re getting nowhere close to that amount. A report from the Food and Drug Administration says that the average American woman eats only 15 grams of fiber a day, while the average adult man consumes just under 19 grams per day.
Health benefits of fiber
Luckily, following a few smart swaps and intelligent additions of high-fiber foods to your diet can help you reach these suggested intake goals.
The following foods are considered to be an “Excellent Source” of fiber, which means they provide more than 20% of your daily value (DV). That translates to more than 5.6 grams of fiber per standard portion size.
What should your daily fiber intake be?
Navy beans are by far one of the best sources of fiber, making them the most popular of all high-fiber foods. And even if you’re not looking to get a whopping 34 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake in one serving.
This wintery squash not only features a subtle, sweet taste, but one cup mashed provides your body with 6.37 grams of satiating fiber. Plus, acorn squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C—one serving provides about 20 percent of your daily needs—which is important for your immunity.
Yes, the grammar school rhyme is right—beans are great for your heart, thanks to their 15 grams of fiber per cup, which work to lower bad cholesterol and fight against heart disease. “Beans are a great source of nutrition—they’re high in protein and fiber, so don’t forget about them! Add them to your salad at lunch or add them to a dish at dinner,” says Jessica Crandall, RD, CDE, a Denver-based RD, Certified Diabetes Educator, and former National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Yep, they’re different than green peas even when they look the same! With over 16 grams of fiber in one cup, a serving of split peas will get you to that recommended 10-gram meal mark and then some. You can stick with the age-old classic split pea soup, or use this as an opportunity to look up some fun new recipes and experiment in the kitchen.
Fruit, in general, is a great source of this macronutrient. And with 8 grams in one cup, raspberries steal the sweet spotlight. Mixing this antioxidant-rich berry in with your morning oats or cereal will fill you up, carry you through your morning, and push you to hit that daily 30 grams in no time.
Beans and legumes will always be standouts in this category. If you opt for a full cup of lentil soup, you could consume upwards of 16 grams of fiber, which can help keep your energy steady throughout the day. “Fiber helps to keep our blood sugars more stable so that we’re not feeling highs and lows in our energy levels,” says Crandall.