It is estimated that only about five percent of Americans get the recommended amount of fiber in their diets from the foods they eat each day. Despite our attempts to ingest more fiber by eating grains, cereals, and other processed foods that claim to be high in fiber, many of us are still fiber deficient. Not to mention, the added ingredients in these foods are generally not very healthy for us, putting even more burden on our body’s digestive system.
Fiber helps to build and support a healthy digestive tract. In doing so, it also aids in the prevention of cancer, kidney stones, diverticulitis, heart disease, obesity, PMS and more. Since health starts in the gut, it makes sense that supporting your gut with plenty of natural fiber would help to prevent the diseases that occur as a result of poor gut health.
But you should avoid the processed kind. The best way to get more fiber in your diet is by eating foods that are naturally rich in fiber. Below is a list of 10 fiber-rich foods that you may not have known about.
- Berries. Besides being an easy addition to your morning smoothie, berries (particularly blackberries and raspberries) are an easy way to boost your fiber intake.
- Avocados. In addition to fiber, avocados contain plenty of healthy fats to support heart health, boost your energy, and help you burn fat and lose weight.
- Coconut. With at least four times the amount of fiber contained in oat bran, coconut—both the flour and grated varieties—is a healthy addition to your diet that’s also packed with plenty of brain-boosting omega fatty acids.
- Figs. This wonderful fruit can be enjoyed on top of salads or cereals, or even eaten plain as a healthy dessert. Figs have the perfect balance of soluble and insoluble fiber and are known for lowering blood pressure and preventing macular degeneration.
- Okra. We just had to include this southern veggie. Just like Bubba Gump shrimp, there are so many ways to enjoy this fine food. Fried, baked, roasted, or added to soups and stews, it’s packed with fiber and rich in calcium as well.
- Brussels Sprouts. As a child, the thought of this strange-sounding vegetable no doubt repulsed you. As an adult, though, you’ve probably grown to love it, and if you haven’t, it’s because you’ve never had it cooked the right way. Cut brussels sprouts in half, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast or sauté in garlic for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned. It’s not only delicious; it’s packed with anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and—you guessed it—fiber aplenty!
- Chickpeas. Roasted with rosemary and sea salt or ground into hummus paste, this exotic bean is rich in manganese and other essential nutrients. The perfect snack or side dish—it’s a staple.
- Flax seeds. Ground flax is a great substitute for flour in your favorite gluten-free recipes, including muffins and even hamburger buns. You can also mix it with water for a gelatinous substance that works great in place of eggs in brownies, cakes and other yummy baked sweets. Flax seeds are known to reduce menopausal symptoms and cholesterol. This tiny seed is power-packed with fiber and other nutrients.
- Chia seeds. Again, tons of nutrients in a tiny seed. Nature is amazing, isn’t it? Chia seeds are a great addition to your morning smoothie or yogurt bowl. In addition to supporting your digestive health and increasing energy, this essential superfood is a must for any health diet.
- Nuts. Especially almonds and walnuts. A quick way to boost your fiber, almonds are high in protein and potassium, while walnuts are known to improve mood and memory. No matter which one you choose, you really can’t go wrong. We recommend both. After all, variety is the spice of life!
What are some of your favorite fiber-boosting foods? Share them with us in the comments below.