Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. Insoluble fiber, found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, helps move food through your digestive tract, preventing constipation. Soluble fiber, found in oats, beans, barley, and nuts, may benefit cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Additionally, an eating pattern rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber may reduce risk of some cancers. Evolving research suggests dietary fiber may support our overall health and well-being by altering our gut microbiome and has heart and metabolic benefits. Don’t shortchange your health! Here are some ideas to boost your fiber intake to reach your daily goal:
Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
- Try having a serving of fruit (not fruit juice) with every meal or as a snack. Whole or dried fruits typically have more fiber than frozen or canned.
- Add canned pumpkin to your overnight oats or smoothies
- Fill half of your plate at both lunch and dinner with fresh veggies
- Top your yogurt with pomegranate seeds for a sweet and crunchy nutrient addition
Whole grains for the win
- Choose a breakfast cereal high in fiber (“Good source of fiber” = 3 grams/serving; “High in fiber” = 6 grams /serving). Select cereals with “whole grain,” “bran,” or “fiber” in the name or add a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.
- Look for breads that list whole wheat, whole-wheat flour, or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label.
- Experiment with different grains — brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, and bulgur wheat are all fiber-filled compared to white rice or regular pasta.
Beans, nuts, and seeds
- Sprinkle ground flax or chia seeds on your cereal, yogurt, or smoothies
- Add beans to salads, soups, or casseroles
- Choose nuts or roasted/air-fried chickpeas as an easy-to-carry snack
- Include pumpkin seeds on your salads for a crunchy addition
Getting adequate dietary fiber takes a little know-how but taking the time to make sure you’re focusing on the above tasty food choices can help support your health goals.