What foods are good that are high in fiber?

Fiber is a very important part of our diet! Eating adequate amounts of fiber can help promote a healthy digestive system. In addition, fiber helps fill us up and keeps us full, which can help prevent people from overeating and gaining weight. Unfortunately, Americans do not consume nearly enough high fiber foods. Adults need between 25-38 grams of dietary fiber every day. I read a statistic that the average American only consumes ~15 grams a day! Clearly we have some work to do to improve that number. There are a variety of foods that are high in fiber so with a little planning ahead it should not be hard to meet your recommended fiber needs.

When counseling patients on increasing fiber, I first remind them to go slow. Someone consuming ~10 grams of fiber a day should not aim to increase to 38 grams/day overnight, which would likely lead to abdominal pain, cramping, and gas. I suggest someone slowly add a few servings of high fiber foods every day until the goal is met. Given that fiber can have an impact on your digestive system, it may be a good idea to keep a food diary when you start to add new foods. Some high fiber foods can plain and simple give you gas. A food diary will not only allow you to count your total grams per day but also help you identify any high fiber foods that may not agree with you.

Fiber can be found in so many foods. To reach your fiber goals, I suggest that you first increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. They are filled with disease fighting antioxidants and fiber. Three fourths of a cup of blackberries can deliver ~5.7 grams of fiber! Carrots are another great source and ½ cup has around 3.5 grams. Other examples include: artichoke hearts, apricots, raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, snap peas, scallion, cauliflower, and tangerine. All fruits and veggies are great! Beans and peas are other terrific sources of healthy fiber. Two thirds of a cup of lima beans provides ~9.4 grams of fiber. Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black eyed peas and chickpeas are also great sources. Finally, another easy way to meet your fiber needs can be at breakfast. Fiber One cereal provides around 14.4 grams per ½ cup and Kashi Go Lean has ~6.7 grams. I recommend that you take some extra time in the supermarket and check out some nutrition labels. Try to choose foods that have ~3-5+ grams of fiber per serving.

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