To Get More Fiber, Put These Foods On Your Next Grocery List

According to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, 95% of Americans do not get enough daily fiber. Eating a fiber-rich diet not only improves digestive health, but also helps you feel fuller, lowers blood pressure, strengthens heart health, and much, much more.

Fiber isn’t all beans and oatmeal. Fruits, vegetables, and even snack foods like popcorn can give you several grams of fiber. Many also come with other health benefits, such as antioxidants, potassium, and healthy gut bacteria. If you want to incorporate more fiber into your diet, add these foods to your grocery list.

Eating Pears Might Prevent Constipation

A crate holds freshly-picked pears.
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Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pears not only get your bowels moving; they also promote gut health. A single medium pear offers six grams of fiber, about 22% of your daily recommended dose. It has both insoluble and soluble fiber, which softens the stool and makes it bulk, perfect for smoother gut health.

In 2014, researchers tested pear’s fiber on adults throughout four weeks. They found that pectin, the fiber in fruit, relieves constipation. It also adds protective healthy bacteria in the gut, guarding intestines against illnesses and irritation. That’s all from a single pear!

The Fiber In Bananas Makes You Feel Fuller

Sliced bananas covered in maple syrup and a peeled banana are on a plate.
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Eiliv-Sonas Aceron/Unsplash

Although bananas do not offer much protein, they still help you feel full because of their fiber. A medium-sized banana has 3.1 grams of fiber. In 2008, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition examined pectin, the soluble fiber in bananas. Pectin made participants feel fuller than other types of fiber.

Because of this, bananas are perfect for weight loss, especially if they’re unripe. Green bananas have a lot of resistant starch, which fills people even more. In a 2019 study, women lost weight when they ate foods with green banana flour.

Reasons You Should Snack On Popcorn

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Emily Elmore/Pinterest

While it might sound unexpected, popcorn is incredibly healthy. A single ounce provides 3.6 grams of fiber. On top of that, a study from the American Chemical Society discovered that popcorn has more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants, called polyphenols, are known to improve brain function, digestion, and heart health.

As long as you don’t drown it in butter and salt, popcorn makes a healthy snack. Maya Vadiveloo, an assistant nutrition professor at the University of Rhode Island, says that popcorn can be highly satisfying because of its high fiber. Flavor it with cheese, salt, herbs, or spices.

Pistachios “Crowd Out” Harmful Gut Bacteria

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Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images

Pistachios are a healthy source of protein, potassium, magnesium, and of course, fiber. A single cup of pistachios has 13 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein. According to a small 2012 study, pistachios produce more healthy gut bacteria which “crowd out” harmful bacteria.

Pistachios also contain unique antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin. The American Optometric Association says that these antioxidants benefit our vision. They can even slow the onset of age-related ailments, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Plus, pistachios will fill you up with few calories.

Check Out These Unique Digestive Enzymes In Raspberries

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Raspberries have one of the highest-fiber levels of any fruit. One cup offers eight grams of fiber, which makes raspberries beneficial for blood sugar. During a 2018 animal study, obese mice had better blood glucose levels when they ate raspberries. They also had a lower risk of fatty liver disease.

Alongside fiber, raspberries contain a compound called tannins. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, tannins block a digestive enzyme called alpha-amylase. When this happens, the body absorbs fewer carbs, which lowers your blood sugar. Raspberries are especially useful for diabetes.

How To Eat Chocolate And Still Get Fiber

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Ihor N/Unsplash

Big news for chocolate-lovers: you can get fiber from a chocolate bar. But you need dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. If you buy a 100-gram chocolate bar that’s at least 70% cocoa, you’ll get three grams of fiber. That’s more than a slice of whole wheat bread!

Dark chocolate is far healthier than milk or white chocolates. In 2011, a study said that cocoa can enhance brain function, lower inflammation, increase satiety, and even protect your skin. By switching to dark chocolate, your diet will become much healthier.

Avocados Have More Fiber And Potassium Than Bananas

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Although avocados are famous for their healthy fats, they are also loaded with fiber. A cup of sliced avocado offers 10 grams of fiber, 27% of your recommended daily dose. On top of that, avocados also supply vitamins C, E, K, and B5.

Did you know that avocados have more potassium than bananas? A 3.5-ounce serving (100 grams) of potassium has 14% of your daily potassium, as opposed to 10% from the same amount of bananas. Potassium stabilizes blood pressure and aids the heart, according to research in the BMJ.

Eat Coconut Shreds, Not Coconut Oil

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Abby Lukacs/Pinterest

Coconut can add quite a bit of flavor and fiber to your meals. If you buy dried, shredded coconut, you’ll receive seven grams of fiber per cup. They are also great sources of protein, copper, and manganese. However, coconut oil does not have any fiber, and coconut milk has very little fiber.

Coconut also contains antioxidants that can heal parts of your body. According to a 2017 study, antioxidants in coconut oil can reduce oxidative stress and prevent cells from dying. Add coconut shreds to toast, oatmeal, or baked foods for added fiber.

Regardless Of The Season, You Should Eat Pumpkin Seeds

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Pumpkin seeds aren’t just for autumn. At any time of year, one cup of these seeds will grant you 12 grams of fiber. Eating pumpkin seeds will also provide protein, manganese, magnesium, iron, and antioxidants.

The antioxidants from pumpkin seeds can assuage inflammation. An animal study in Pharmacological Research tested rats with arthritis. After eating pumpkin seed oil, the rats had lower inflammation and pain from arthritis. These anti-inflammatory effects can also aid your bladder and heart. Put roasted pumpkin seeds in granola, soups, cookies, or rice.

Kidney Beans Have More Fiber Than Almost Any Other Bean

Red kidney beans lie in a pile.
PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay
PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

Kidney beans have one of the highest-fiber levels of any bean. One cup of these beans has 46 grams of fiber! One type of fiber is called alpha-galactoside, which converts to prebiotics in the gut. These prebiotics enhance the gut and might even prevent ailments such as insulin resistance, according to the British Journal of Nutrition.

Kidney beans might even prevent cancer. In 2007, test-tube studies showed that legumes (such as kidney beans) could combat a variety of cancers, including kidney, stomach, and colon cancers. Kidney beans are not replacements for treatment, but they will improve your health.

Why You Should Start Eating Persimmons

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Dmitry FeoktistovTASS via Getty Images

Persimmons are fruits that look like tomatoes, except they have far more fiber. Each individual persimmon offers six grams of fiber, and they are small! These fruits also supply vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese, according to Michigan State University.

Persimmons are also rich in antioxidants. Some of its antioxidants are flavonoids, which reduce inflammation to combat heart disease, cognitive degeneration, and cancer, according to a 2014 Polish study. Another one is vitamin C, and persimmons provide 20% of your daily vitamin C intake. What can’t these fruits do?

Oatmeal Offers More Than Just Fiber

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Oats are a brilliant source of healthy carbs and fiber. One cup of cooked oatmeal gives you four grams of fiber and six grams of protein to keep you full throughout the morning. In fact, they have a specific type of soluble fiber called beta-glutan that has several health benefits.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, beta-glutan can lower cholesterol levels, especially the disease-causing LDL cholesterol. It also encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria, according to a 2016 British study. Oatmeal is one of the few foods that offers this fiber.

Brussels Sprouts Have This Much Fiber And Vitamin K!

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Jez Timms/Unsplash

Brussels sprouts are great for healthy bowel movements and constipation. A single cup supplies 3.3 grams of fiber. Studies in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics confirmed that this added fiber can ease bowel movements and treat constipation.

Brussels sprouts are also rich in vitamin K; half a cup gives you 137% of your daily requirement. Vitamin K is especially beneficial for bone health. In 2009, a review of studies in Nutrition Research determined that vitamin K can relieve symptoms of osteoporosis. And these are only two nutrients that you receive from brussels sprouts.

What Tackles Blood Pressure And Inflammation? Beets!

Thinly-sliced beets are laid out on a paper towel.
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Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

One cup of beets provides 3.4 grams of fiber, which benefits both your digestive health and blood pressure. In fact, a 2008 study in the journal Hypertension reported that participants had lower blood pressure within three hours after eating beets. This is due to its fiber and a cholesterol-lowering compound called nitrates.

Beetroots also soothe inflammation. They have a large number of anti-inflammatories, especially betalains. In 2014, research in Mediators of Inflammation found that these nutrients can delay the onset of kidney disease. And that’s just one of the many health benefits of beets.

For More Fiber, Switch To Whole Grain Bread

Whole-grain bread is sliced and has butter on top.
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Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

An easy way to get more fiber is to buy whole-grain bread. According to John Hopkins Medicine, whole grains have more fiber, protein, and nutrients than refined grains. A single slice of wheat bread offers three grams of fiber, while a slice of white bread only has 0.8 grams.

Because of this, wheat bread is especially beneficial to lower the risk of diabetes. In 2013, scientists reviewed 16 studies about whole grains in the European Journal of Epidemiology. They found that whole wheat significantly reduces the risk of type two diabetes. If you switch from white bread to wheat, you’ll be far healthier.

You’ll Be Impressed By Broccoli

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Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Once broccoli hits your digestive tract, it unleashes a ton of nutrients. A single stalk of broccoli contains 16 grams of fiber, which is about 2.4 grams per cup. On top of that, broccoli also offers a boatload of antioxidants. The vegetable contains a compound called glucoraphanin, which converts into antioxidants in the digestive system.

Because broccoli is so high in antioxidants, it can also reduce inflammation. In 2014, researchers watched smokers’ response to broccoli. After ten days, participants had 48% fewer markers of inflammation. All of that is from a few servings of broccoli!

Guavas Benefit Gut Health, Cholesterol, And Menstruation

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Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Guavas supply fiber through their fruit, seeds, and leaves. Each fruit has three grams of soluble and insoluble fiber. That, plus guava’s high potassium content, makes it effective at lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol,” according to 2005 research.

If you menstruate, guavas could be especially useful. In 2007, scientists had women consume six grams of guava extract during their periods. When they did, they experienced far less menstrual pain. Guavas were almost as sufficient as painkillers. Combine that with the fiber, and you’ll want to eat more guavas.

A Handful Of Almonds Gives You Fiber And Vitamin E

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CHUTTERSNAP/Unsplash

Compared to other nuts, almonds have an impressive amount of fiber. One cup of almonds has a whopping 28 grams. That said, most people don’t eat that many almonds; many only need a handful, which is around 3.5 grams of fiber and six grams of protein.

Almonds also contain a high amount of vitamin E. According to the journal Cancer Research, a diet with high vitamin E lowers the risk of colon cancer. For older adults, eating vitamin E might delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, says the Archives of Neurology. A daily handful of almonds can go a long way!

Why Quinoa Is Better Than Rice

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Dan Dennis/Unsplash

Quinoa is a seed that is cooked and eaten like rice. Compared to other grains, it has far more fiber: between 17 and 27 grams per cup. Most of it is soluble fiber, which does wonders for cholesterol and body weight, according to research in The Journal of Nutrition.

Quinoa also provides unique plant compounds called quercetin and kaempferol. In 2010, a study in Neuropharmacology reported that these flavonoids have an anti-depressant effect. They are also anti-inflammatories that lower your risk of several diseases. All of that is from a healthier version of rice known as quinoa.

An Apple A Day Relieves Inflammation

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Zhao Dongshan/VCG via Getty Images

Apples are one of the best fruits for your digestion. A medium apple has 4.4 grams of fiber, most of which is a type of soluble fiber called pectin. According to the scientific journal Nutrients, pectin increases stool volume and relieves inflammation in the colon. This is great for both constipation and diarrhea.

Apples also help people maintain a healthy weight. They digest slowly, allowing people to feel fuller for longer. In 2014, research in PLoS Medicine found that participants could effectively lose weight while eating apples. Even if that isn’t your goal, you’ll still benefit from this fruit.

Carrots Give You Soluble Fiber And Vitamin A

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Carrots are high in soluble fiber, which has many health benefits. In the European Journal of Nutrition, a study found that carrots improve blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber prevents the absorption of unhealthy cholesterol, and you can get 2.3 grams of fiber from only half a cup of cooked carrots.

Carrots are also high in beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A. This nutrient is very good for your eyes. In 2006, researchers discovered that nutrients in carrots can delay the onset of age-related macular degeneration when you lose sight in old age. All that from a few carrots.

Lentils Have More Fiber Than Some Beans

Orange lentils pour from a scoop into a bag.
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Monika Grabkowska/Unsplash

Lentils, a member of the legume family, have more fiber than some beans. If you cook one cup of lentils, you’ll get a whopping 16 grams. The same amount gives you 18 grams of protein, which makes lentils a perfect main dish for soup, rice bowls, or salad.

Harvard health experts believe the lentils can even prevent digestive diseases. Lentils contain resistant starch, which digests slowly. According to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, this lowers blood sugar and feeds the gut with healthy bacteria. That’s why you should eat more lentils.

Edamame Makes Your Body Absorb More Nutrients

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Edamame is a type of soybean that is high in fiber. With eight grams of fiber per cup, it’s ideal for weight control. Registered dietitian Mascha Davis says that edamame’s slow digestion makes it more filling and also allows the gut to absorb more nutrients.

Edamame is also great for blood sugar and cholesterol. According to research in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who eat soy products have 9.3% less LDL cholesterol, the unhealthy kind that causes diseases. Eat edamame as a side dish or put in salads, rice bowls, and stir fry.

To Lower Your Risk Of Diabetes, Eat Split Peas

A ladle scoops up from a pot of split pea soup.
Jeri Terstegge/Pinterest
Jeri Terstegge/Pinterest

Split peas are a type of legume that offers 50 grams of fiber per cup. Because of their high fiber and low glycemic index, they do wonders for blood sugar. In 2014, a scientific review in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine found that split peas reduce insulin sensitivity. This is especially useful for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

Split peas also stabilize cholesterol and blood pressure. According to a study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, split peas can lower your risk of heart disease. Split peas have many health benefits and deserve a try.

How Artichokes Relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Artichokes are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. A single artichoke offers seven grams of fiber. In the British Journal of Nutrition, a 2006 study found that artichokes enhance healthy gut bacteria. Thank its high fiber content.

Artichokes can even relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In 2001, researchers fed IBS patients artichoke leaf extract. After six weeks, 96% of participants reported that artichoke leaf was as effective as IBS treatments. Even if you don’t have IBS, your gut will thank you for eating artichokes.

Navy Beans Have More Fiber Than Black Beans

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@beaninstitute/Twitter
@beaninstitute/Twitter

Even for beans, navy beans have a surprising amount of fiber. One cup has around 19 grams of fiber, compared to 15 grams from pinto and black beans. This amount also supplies 45% of your daily recommended manganese and 64% of vitamin B9.

Because navy beans are high in fiber and low in sugar, they greatly improve cholesterol. In 2017, a clinical trial tracked people who ate navy beans every day for four weeks. By the end, these participants had higher levels of HDL cholesterol, which unclogs your arteries and prevents stroke.

Chia Seeds Are 40% Fiber

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4918394/Unsplash
4918394/Unsplash

If you’re searching for an easy fiber boost to almost any meal, buy chia seeds. A single ounce of these seeds offers ten grams of fiber, making them 40% fiber. They also give you protein, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Research suggests that chia seeds can lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In 2007, a study in Diabetes Care reported that chia seeds reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension. They also raise your HDL cholesterol, which is good for your heart. Add chia seeds to oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt.

The Many, Many Health Benefits Of Flax Seeds

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Flax seeds are rich in insoluble and soluble fiber. A single tablespoon gives you 2.8 grams of fiber, which is about 46 grams per cup. Sixty to 80% of flax seeds’ fiber is insoluble, which can prevent constipation in people with digestive disorders, according to the Journal of Food Science and Technology.

Flax seeds also provide high-quality, plant-based protein. In 2010, a test tube study suggested that flax seeds can guard against oxidative damage, lower blood pressure, relieve symptoms of kidney disease, and strengthen the immune system. Imagine getting all of that from a tablespoon of flax seeds.

Chickpeas Will Keep You Fuller For Longer

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Adrienne Leonard/Unsplash
Adrienne Leonard/Unsplash

One cup of chickpeas supplies 39 grams of protein and 35 grams of fiber. Because of this, chickpeas are great for people who want to feel satisfied after a meal. In 2017, researchers had women eat chickpeas before a meal. The participants felt fuller and had lower blood sugar levels when they did so.

Because chickpeas are so filling, they help people manage their weight. According to a 2016 study in the journal Nutrients, participants were 53% less likely to become obese when they ate chickpeas regularly. Even if you don’t worry about weight, you’ll benefit from chickpeas.

If You Want Brain And Gut Health, You’ll Eat Sweet Potatoes

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Sarah Gualtieri/Unsplash
Sarah Gualtieri/Unsplash

If you have to choose between sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, do sweet potatoes for their extra fiber. A cup of diced sweet potatoes offers four grams of fiber and a ton of vitamin A. In fact, that same amount gives you 769% of your daily recommended vitamin A.

These nutrients are very good for brain function. During a 2009 animal study, researchers discovered that purple sweet potatoes guard the brain against oxidative stress. This could delay the onset of cognitive decline in old age. And that’s only one benefit of sweet potatoes!