What food is highest in fiber?

Eating a diet high in fiber has many health benefits. Fiber can help promote digestive health, reduce cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, aid in achieving a healthy weight, and more. When looking to increase fiber intake, knowing what foods are highest in this nutrient can help.

What is Dietary Fiber?

Dietary fiber refers to the parts of plant foods that cannot be digested by human digestive enzymes. There are two main types of fiber:

  • Soluble fiber – dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower glucose and cholesterol levels.
  • Insoluble fiber – does not dissolve in water. It helps move material through the digestive system and promotes regularity.

Most plant foods contain a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim to consume 14g of fiber for every 1,000 calories in their diet. Most Americans fall short of this recommendation.

Benefits of a High Fiber Diet

Increasing intake of dietary fiber offers many benefits:

  • Digestive health – Fiber adds bulk to stools and helps prevent constipation. It speeds the passage of stools through the intestines.
  • Heart health – Soluble fiber helps reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. This may lower heart disease risk.
  • Blood sugar control – Fiber slows digestion, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
  • Weight management – High fiber foods tend to be more filling. This can help with appetite control and achieving a healthy weight.

Fiber intake is also linked to a lower risk of diabetes, cancer, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and other conditions. For optimal health, make an effort to eat more high fiber foods.

Ranking of High Fiber Foods

Many foods contain beneficial amounts of fiber. Here is a ranking of some of the top high fiber foods:

1. Avocados

One medium avocado provides 11g of dietary fiber, about 42% of the daily recommended intake. Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

2. Raspberries

Raspberries provide 8g of fiber per cup. Their small seeds are rich in insoluble fiber that helps promote regularity.

3. Blackberries

With 7.6g of fiber per cup, blackberries are another excellent high fiber berry. Their fiber helps slow digestion and control blood sugar.

4. Split Peas

Split peas offer 16.3g of fiber per cooked cup, or about 65% of the daily target. As a legume, they also provide plant-based protein.

5. Lentils

With 15.6g per cooked cup, lentils are full of soluble and insoluble fiber. This legume is high in protein and various nutrients as well.

6. Chia Seeds

Just 1 ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds has 11g of fiber. They can be soaked in liquid to form a gel-like substance that aids digestion.

7. Artichokes

Artichokes are packed with 10.3g of fiber per medium vegetable. They are especially high in inulin, a type of soluble fiber.

8. Oats

A cup of oats provides 8g of fiber, including soluble fiber that forms a gel. Oats help control cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

9. Pears

One medium pear with the skin on packs 6g of fiber. Pears are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps promote digestive health.

10. Prunes

Prunes, or dried plums, contain 7g of fiber per 1/4 cup. They provide both soluble and insoluble fiber.

11. Popcorn

With 3.5g of fiber per ounce, air-popped popcorn makes a great high fiber snack. Choose low fat versions to keep calories in check.

12. Broccoli

One cup of broccoli has 2.4g of fiber, as well as high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s part of the healthy cruciferous vegetable family.

13. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts contain 3.3g of fiber per half cup cooked. They are also an excellent source of vitamins K and C.

14. Carrots

Cooked carrots provide 2.8g of fiber per half cup, mostly from pectin. They make a nutritious addition to soups and stews.

15. Quinoa

Known as a “super grain,” quinoa contains 2.8g of fiber per one cup cooked serving. It provides all nine essential amino acids.

16. Figs

Dried figs provide 7.3g of fiber per quarter cup. Figs contain potent digestive enzymes that help break down foods.

17. Apples

One medium apple with its skin has 4.4g of fiber. Apples are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that forms a gel-like substance.

18. Buckwheat

Cooked buckwheat groats offer 4g of fiber per cup. Buckwheat is gluten free and has antioxidant properties.

19. Bananas

A medium banana serves up 3g of fiber. Bananas provide resistant starch and pectin.

20. Oranges

One large orange offers 3.1g of fiber. Citrus fruits are full of soluble fiber like pectin and hemi-cellulose.

21. Edamame

Shelled edamame beans contain 5g fiber per one cup serving. They are also loaded with plant-based protein.

22. Potatoes

Potatoes with the skin provide 3g of fiber per medium spud. Sweet potatoes also contain over 3g of fiber per medium potato.

23. Almonds

A quarter cup serving of almonds provides 3.5g of fiber, as well as protein, healthy fats, magnesium and vitamin E.

24. Chickpeas

Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas pack over 5g of fiber per half cup. They are also high in protein.

25. Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans provide 5.7g of fiber per half cup when cooked. Beans are excellent sources of soluble fiber.

Fiber Content of Common Foods

Here is a table summarizing the fiber content in grams (g) of some common foods:

Food Serving Size Total Fiber (g)
Split Peas 1 cup cooked 16.3
Lentils 1 cup cooked 15.6
Black Beans 1 cup cooked 15
Artichokes 1 medium 10.3
Peas 1 cup cooked 8.8
Broccoli 1 cup cooked 5.1
Raspberries 1 cup 8
Pear 1 medium 5.5
Apple 1 medium 4.4
Banana 1 medium 3.1

High Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet

When looking to increase your daily fiber intake, there are many delicious high fiber foods to incorporate into your diet.

Try adding in more:

  • Whole fruits like berries, apples, pears, bananas, and oranges
  • Vegetables such as artichokes, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots
  • Whole grains and seeds – oats, quinoa, buckwheat, chia seeds
  • Legumes including lentils, beans, split peas, chickpeas
  • Nuts and nut butters like almonds, peanuts, and pistachios

When increasing fiber, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Also gradually increase fiber sources over several weeks to allow your body to adjust.

Should You Take a Fiber Supplement?

With all the high fiber food options available, getting enough from foods alone is ideal. However, a fiber supplement can help some people having difficulty meeting their daily needs through diet alone.

Fiber supplements such as psyllium husks, methylcellulose, and calcium polycarbophil may be beneficial. Always start with smaller doses and increase slowly with plenty of water.

Speak to your healthcare provider before taking fiber supplements, especially if you have digestive conditions or are taking medications. Too much may lead to abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and nutrient malabsorption.

Focus on Fiber for Better Health

Eating more high fiber foods is a healthy dietary change for most people. Aim to gradually increase daily fiber intake to 25-40 grams.

Ramp up your intake of foods like avocados, berries, artichokes, legumes, chia seeds, and whole grains. This helps ensure you get both soluble and insoluble fiber types.

A high fiber diet offers many benefits for digestion, heart health, weight control, and more. Consult your doctor if you experience any negative symptoms from increasing fiber intake too rapidly.

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