Fiber offers your body a wide range of benefits, including lowering blood pressure, supporting weight management, keeping bowels regular, and reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
It’s recommended that women get 25 grams of fiber each day, while men aim for 38 grams. However, most people only get about half that amount on a daily basis. Luckily, boosting your fiber intake can be both easy and delicious. Here are 10 simple ways to up your fiber.
Sprinkle flax on your breakfast
Providing about 2 grams per tablespoon, flaxseeds are great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Make sure you buy ground flaxseeds, as whole seeds can make it all the way through your digestive system without sharing their fibrous goodness with your body. The mild and nutty taste of flaxseed makes it easy to add to nearly any food. Notch up the fiber in your mornings by starting your day with this Fruit and Flax Breakfast Crumble. Or add a sprinkle of flax to your smoothie, yogurt, or oatmeal.
Try chia seed pudding
Chia seeds contain 5.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. They can also absorb 10 times their own weight in liquid, acquiring a gelatinous texture in the process. This makes the seeds perfect for making pudding. To create this fiber powerhouse treat, just mix chia seeds with your choice of milk (almond, coconut, or oat work well). Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then add your choice of toppings, such as nuts, seeds, or fruit. If you’re looking for more inspiration, try this Granola Raspberry Chia Pudding recipe.
Eat your veggies first
Eating lots of vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens, cauliflower, and carrots is an excellent way to get your needed fiber. Ensure you fill up on fiber from veggies by making them the star of your meals. Keep other foods that are lower in fiber, like meat, eggs, tofu, and refined carbohydrates, at side dish status.
Skip the apple juice and eat the apple
Because fiber absorbs water, drinking plenty of fluids is important with a high-fiber diet. However, while apples are rich in fiber, this doesn’t mean that apple juice offers an all-in-one solution. One medium apple contains about 4.5 grams of fiber, while a glass of apple juice contains only 0.4 grams. Therefore, reaching for an apple will ensure you get the cholesterol-lowering benefits of fiber that apple juice just doesn’t offer.
Swap white rice for brown rice
Refined grains, like white rice, are processed to remove the bran and germ. Most of the fiber is also taken out during this process. One cup of cooked brown rice has 3.5 grams of fiber, while white rice has just 0.6 grams. Swapping out refined for whole grains, like in this Triple Seaweed Brown Rice Sushi, is a simple step to cash in on fiber’s many rewards.
Snack on almonds
Nuts and seeds are a healthy addition to your diet, especially if you’re looking for ways to up your fiber intake. If you’re feeling peckish between meals, grab a handful of almonds. Just 23 almonds—the equivalent of about an ounce—provides 3.5 grams of fiber. All this fiber will not only support healthy cholesterol levels, but also help you stay full through to your next meal.
Enjoy lentils for dinner
While a steak offers no dietary fiber, just one cup of boiled lentils boasts a whopping 15.5 grams. Lentils are also low in fat, packed with protein, and high in nutrients like folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. This makes the humble lentil a superstar ingredient for hearty meat-free dinners, like this Soul-Hugging Lentil Shepherd’s Pie.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with berries
Per cup, raspberries offer 8 grams of fiber, blueberries provide 3.6 grams, and strawberries contain about 3 grams. With all that fiber packed into these juicy morsels, combined with a low glycemic index, berries make the perfect stand-in for fiber-poor candy and processed sweets. Combine them with the power of whole grains, flax, almonds, and chia seeds in these Triple Berry Crumble Bars for a fiber-packed dessert.
Grab some popcorn for movie night
Instead of chips or ice cream next time your family is gathered around for movie night, serve up a bowl of freshly popped popcorn. Delivering 3.5 grams of fiber per three cups of air-popped popcorn, this tasty snack can give your body a hit of hardworking fiber while you kick back and relax. This recipe for Umami Dusted Popcorn serves four and brings a unique twist to a classic family favorite.
Take a psyllium supplement
If you’re still finding it hard to get the recommended amount of fiber into your diet, it could be time to try a fiber supplement, like psyllium. Fiber supplements can sometimes cause discomfort and bloating, so be sure to introduce a fiber supplement slowly and take it alongside plenty of water. As always, consult your health care practitioner before adding any new supplement to your routine.