5 Foods To Boost Your Fiber Intake

by Sarah Limbert, RDN, LD

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

Fiber is a wonderful nutrient that supports digestive health, mindful eating, and positive health outcomes. It also keeps you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. Men should consume 38 grams per day, while women should consume 25 grams per day– a considerable amount for gut health. Let’s talk about what fiber is and which foods are a good source of fiber.

What is fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate that is found in plant-based foods. Unlike other starches, fiber is not easily digested by the body and therefore creates a bulky substance in the digestive tract often referred to as “roughage.” Due to the nature of fiber, it provides several health benefits. The bulkiness inside our digestive tract contributes to a feeling of fullness, allowing us to feel fuller for longer. The fuller we feel, the less we eat. Since fiber slows digestion, it allows glucose, the building blocks of sugar, to enter the bloodstream at a slower pace, decreasing the rate of blood sugar spikes. This is beneficial for everyone, but especially for those with diabetes. Not only can fiber help with weight loss and combat diabetes, it also contributes to heart health, as fiber can help decrease cholesterol levels. Fiber is probably most known for its ability to help with regular bowel movements, as it pushes food through our system. Along with its many accolades, fiber is often found in foods that are packed with additional nutrients. Here are five food groups known to have high amounts of fiber.
  1. Fruits
    All fruits contain fiber, as well as key nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. Be sure to eat the skin of your fruit, where a lot of the fiber lives. Did you know you can even eat the skin of a kiwi? Incorporate more fiber into your diet by choosing whole fruits like apples, which contain approximately 3-4 grams of fiber, as opposed to apple juice, which contains 0 grams of fiber.
  2. Vegetables
    Vegetables, which are often low in calories, are an excellent source of fiber. Vegetables typically contain soluble fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. The fiber binds to cholesterol, removing it from the blood. Consuming more vegetables is certainly an easy way to reach your fiber goal. For a fiber-rich fall favorite, heat your oven to 400 degrees, drizzle diced butternut squash with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and roast for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Whole grains
    Whole grains are grains in their original form. To be sure a product is 100% whole grain, check the first ingredient. If you see the word “whole,” then you are on the right track. Try to find products with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. A few of our favorites are brown rice cakes, 90 Second Quinoa, and whole wheat bagels.
  4. Beans and lentils
    Beans and lentils are both rich in fiber. Add beans and lentils to chili, a salad, or use as a meat substitute. Lentil loaves and bean soups provide lots of fiber and protein to your meal. In your next recipe, try Simple Truth Canned Lentils.
  5. Nuts and seeds
    These little guys contain natural fiber and are a good source of healthy fats. Be sure to watch portion sizes, as nuts and seeds are easy to overeat. Combine nuts and seeds to make a healthy trail mix, or eat them with a piece of fruit for a nutritious snack.

When increasing your fiber intake, it is important to remember to drink adequate amounts of water. Water will help fiber do its job more efficiently, and help prevent any potential side effects of increased fiber intake, such as constipation.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Sarah Limbert, RDN, LD

Sarah Limbert, RDN, LD

Sarah has experience working with patients on everything from weight loss to fertility, to seizure management. She’s a true expert on how patients can benefit from ‘food as medicine,’ all while maintaining their lifestyle and livelihood. In her spare time, she leads a non-profit focused on providing basic needs and creating a future for children in India, Kenya and locally in Cincinnati.