Only 5% of Americans eat enough fiber daily – and that’s a problem, as too little fiber raises the risk of heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
“Fiber can help keep you fuller longer, provide lasting energy, promote regularity and lower blood cholesterol,” said Jason Person, RD, LDN, clinical nutrition manager at Archbold. “Also, you don’t need fiber supplements to get it.”
How Much Fiber Do I Need?
Person recommends that, at minimum, women get 25 grams of fiber per day and men 38 grams. Children need 19 to 31 grams per day depending on their age. In addition to putting long-term health at risk, a diet without enough fiber can cause constipation and irregular bowel movements.
Make sure you get a balance of soluble fiber, which helps your heart, and insoluble fiber, which helps your digestion. If you haven’t been eating a lot of fiber, make sure to add it to your diet slowly to prevent bloating and gas.
Keep Fiber-Rick Foods in Stock
You can never go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are packed with fiber and lots of vitamins. Legumes, such as beans and peas, have extremely high amounts of soluble fiber. They’re also very affordable and great sources of protein, too.
While wheat breads have slightly more fiber than white breads, whole-grain breads are a better choice, and whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa not in a bread, are the best choice.
High-Fiber Foods and Snacks
Making simple changes in what you eat can increase fiber consumption. Skip the ultra-processed packaged foods with added fiber and try these instead:
- Bran muffins
- Overnight oats with berries
- Smoothies with berries and chia seeds
- Whole-grain toast with nut butter
- Brown rice and lentils
- Spinach salad with artichoke hearts and olives
- Air-popped popcorn
- Dried mangoes or apples
- Kale chips
- Raw or roasted unsalted nuts
- Roasted chickpeas
- Sliced vegetables and hummus
- Butternut squash soup with barley
- Roasted cauliflower with tahini
- Roasted sweet potatoes (skin on)
- Vegetable lasagna with whole-wheat pasta