10 good sources of fiber

Although fiber is best known for its magical ability to prevent constipation problems, it can do so much more for you, and these good sources of fiber will help you do just that.

The fiber helps reduce cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. It also helps reduce the risk of other diseases like colorectal cancer. Plus, it stops your blood sugar from skyrocketing and makes you feel full longer, which can help you lose weight.

We spoke with Amy Lee MD, nutritionist and chief physician at the Lindora Clinic, on the importance of fiber in our diet and why we should eat more of it. Dr. Lee says adults in the United States consume well below the recommended amount of dietary fiber. Studies showed that this may be because there are common beliefs that all whole grain foods are good sources of fiber and that fiber foods are expensive, unpalatable, and complicated to prepare. “That’s why we see a lot of medical conditions linked to a low fiber diet. Conditions such as diverticula or colon polyps are some of the most common,” adds Dr. Lee.

Fiber is important because “it has health benefits, such as reducing inflammation in the body (foods/preservatives/additives) as well as keeping our bowel movements regular,” adds Dr. Lee.

Luckily, there are plenty of tasty options for good sources of fiber that you can incorporate into your diet with a smile on your face. Hint: prunes and fiber supplements are not your only options.

How much fiber do you need?

The current recommendation is 19 to 38 grams of dietary fiber per day, depending on age and gender, Dr. Lee says. But we know that our current American adults consume well below the recommended 7-12 grams.

According to Dr. Lee, the average adult should eat close to 40 grams or more.

What are some things to keep in mind when adding fiber to your diet?

“Read the labels,” suggests Dr. Lee. “All fiber (in grams) per serving is listed on the label of foods that come in a consumer box and/or bag. Count the amount of fiber you eat daily and try to increase it gradually until you reach 40 grams per day.

For those who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables; you can google this information because we know there is no nutrition label on these items.

Finally, Dr. Lee recommends slowly and gradually increasing your fiber intake because bacteria (probiotics) in your gut have to get used to breaking down fiber. Adding too much fiber to your diet too quickly can cause uncomfortable gas and bloating.

Your Top Good Sources of Fiber, Recommended by Doctors

1. Lawyer

            The Lawyer is a rather special fruit. Instead of being high in carbs, it’s loaded with healthy fats. Getting tons of fiber is just another great reason to order avocado toast or guac and fries when you go out!

            Amount of fibers: 5.6 grams per 100 grams or 15.6 grams per cup.

            2. Raspberries

              All berries are good for you, but raspberries and blackberries have the most fiber. Fresh berries can be expensive, but frozen options are generally more affordable. Try mixing them into your next healthy smoothielike that Berry, chia and mint smoothiefor that extra dose of fiber.

              Amount of fibers: 6.5 grams per 100 grams.

              3. Dark Chocolate

                Dark chocolate is one of those delicious mysteries that should never be a guilty pleasure! A higher percentage of cocoa content in dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of fiber, as well as antioxidants and nutrients, compared to chocolate with a lower percentage of cocoa. So as long as you make sure you choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content above 70%, you can count that sweetness into your daily fiber intake.

                Amount of fibers: 10.5 grams per 100 grams.

                4. Lenses

                  Lentils are super cheap at the grocery store, and they’re packed with protein and fiber. Toss the lentils with your favorite bowl of cereal or make a Lentil soup to get your digestive system thriving.

                  Amount of fibers: 10.7 grams per 100 grams or 20.5 grams per cup.

                  5. Almonds

                    Almonds are in just about every trail mix or nut assortment you’ve ever had, but they never disappoint. These popular nuts are full of healthy fats and magnesium, as well as fiber.

                    Amount of fibers: 11 grams per 100 grams or 14.8 grams per cup.

                    6. Chickpeas

                      These small legumes are packed with nutrients, including minerals and protein. Chickpeas are the basis of Hummus, one of the easiest spreads to make yourself. You can spread it on salads, vegetables, pita chips and more.

                      Amount of fibers: 12.2 grams per 100 grams or 24.4 grams per cup.

                      7. Oats

                        Oats are one of the healthiest grains out there. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, overnight oats are popular now for a reason! Oats are also the base of all your favorite types of granola.

                        Amount of fibers: 12.9 grams per 100 grams.

                        8. Popcorn

                          Pop corn may be the best snack you can eat to boost your fiber intake. Who knew you could use fiber as an excuse to go to the movies? However, if you want to avoid extra fat, skip the butter.

                          Amount of fibers: 14.5 grams per 100 grams or 1.16 grams per cup.

                          9. Split peas

                            Split peas are made from dried, split and peeled pea seeds. They are often seen in the holiday classic, split pea soup, with ham. Or you can try this soak for your next dinner party.

                            Amount of fibers: 22.2 grams per 100 grams or 43.5 grams per cup.

                            10. Chia seeds

                              Chia seeds may be the best source of fiber on the planet. Not only are they high in fiber, but they also contain high amounts of magnesium and calcium. Toss these seeds into your next smoothie bowl to get enough fiber for the whole day!

                              Amount of fibers: 34.4 grams per 100 grams.

                              Who should think twice about adding fiber to their diet?

                              According to Dr. Lee, you should check with your doctor before increasing your fiber intake if you have a history of irritable bowel syndrome because “certain foods high in fiber could make your symptoms worse.” Also, people who have a history of diverticulum(s) need to be careful with certain fibers as they could get trapped and cause other problems.

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