Your gut needs help to move and remove the waste in your digestive system. That’s where fiber can help. You can get good sources of fiber from food you already eat. The dietary fiber you get from supplements, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in your daily diet doesn’t just keep you regular. Some fiber, like psyllium, can also give you important health benefits.
HOW MUCH FIBER DO YOU NEED EVERY DAY?
The recommended daily fiber intake is 28 grams, with variations based on age and gender. However, most Americans consume only about 16 grams each day. The reality: Less than 5% of Americans get enough daily fiber.
What can you expect if you don’t eat enough fiber? In the short term, you might occasionally feel constipated and sluggish. But over time, a diet consistently low in fiber may increase your risk for more serious issues, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you have any concerns, reach out to your healthcare provider.
A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of whole plant foods is the best way to get all of the nutrients your body needs to function at its best, including fiber. But that’s not always possible with our day-to-day busy, demanding schedules.
Fiber supplements like Metamucil can help increase your daily fiber intake. One serving of Metamucil’s Sugar-Free and Real Sugar Powders gives you 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving. New Metamucil users should start with one serving per day and gradually increase to desired daily intake.
1. Broccoli Flowerets
It takes about 9 cups of broccoli flowerets to reach the daily recommended fiber intake. High in sulforaphane, broccoli also adds 3.2 grams of fiber per cup. And it’s low in calories, so add an extra helping of broccoli to help reach to fiber goal.
2. Brussels sprouts
These mini cabbages can be boiled, broiled, pan-fried, or sliced up raw in a brussels sprout slaw. With 4 grams of fiber per cup, it takes about 7 cups of brussels sprouts to reach the daily recommended fiber intake.
Have you ever seen 83 asparagus spears on one plate? Probably not, unless it’s a family-style meal. That’s how many raw asparagus spears it takes to hit the 28 grams of fiber recommended for your diet. As an alternative to steamed asparagus try adding thinly sliced raw asparagus spears to salads or sandwiches for a sweet, crunchy flavor.
Artichokes taste great on pizza, paired with spinach in a delicious vegetable dip, or steamed to perfection. But can you eat 4 artichokes in a day?
5. Acorn squash
Simply cut out the stem, scoop the seeds and bake until tender. Or prepare stuffed acorn squash using wild rice, quinoa, or ground beef. You’ll need to eat about 3 cups of acorn squash to reach your fiber goals.
6. Green peas
With 9 grams of fiber per cup, help yourself to bigger helpings to add more fiber to your diet. You’ll need about 3 cups of green peas to get the daily recommended fiber intake. Flavorful and healthy, green peas are a great source of iron, manganese, and vitamins A and C.
7. Turnip greens
An excellent source of beta carotene and vitamin K, turnip greens have a mild flavor. They can be used like spinach and other leafy greens, blended into green smoothies or juiced. It takes about 5.5 cups of turnip greens to reach your fiber goals.
Lightly steamed carrots will release more of their beta carotene, but, whether you enjoy them raw or cooked, you’ll get all the benefits of 4.68 grams of fiber in each cup. It takes about 6 cups of carrots to reach the daily recommended fiber intake.
Riced cauliflower is a popular low-carb alternative to starchy vegetables and can be made into pizza crust and chips. It’s a great way to add fiber to your diet, but it may not get you to the 28 grams of daily recommended fiber every day. That would mean eating about 8.5 cups of cooked cauliflower, every day.
Whether in guacamole, on toast, or in salads, avocados are widely enjoyed for their rich, creamy flavor and healthy fats. With 9 grams of fiber per medium-sized avocado, it would take about 3 avocados to reach your daily recommended fiber intake.
Apples are particularly high in a type of soluble fiber called pectin. At 4.4 grams per apple, it takes about 7 apples to get your daily recommended fiber. That’ll take quite a while to slice.
Strawberries are also a great source of vitamin C. Slice a few into your next salad for next-level flavor and fiber. You may need to supplement with other high-fiber foods or supplements like Metamucil—it takes about 6 cups of strawberries to reach 28 grams, the daily recommended fiber intake.
Can you eat 9 bananas in a day? One of the most versatile fruits and a perennial favorite, a medium-size banana provides 3 grams of fiber. Bananas are filling and a great way to add some fiber to a meal or snack.
About two cups of raspberries a day gets you the daily fiber you need. They’re a delicious treat all by themselves, baked into your favorite dessert recipe, or blended in a smoothie.
Does your barley consumption amount to a few bowls of soup in the winter? About 2 cups of cooked barley per day will get you your daily recommended fiber intake. Try adding more of this tender, chewy high-fiber grain in roasted vegetables or as a pilaf.
16. Whole grain pasta
If you’re a pasta lover choosing whole grain varieties could add up to considerable fiber benefits. One cup provides 5.46 grams of fiber, more than twice that of white pasta. To reach your daily recommended fiber intake, you’ll need about 5 cups of cooked whole-grain pasta, which could take up a big portion of the recommended amount of carbs or other nutrients.
Great as cooked cereal, or baked in cookies, muffins, or granola, oatmeal is particularly high in heart-healthy soluble fiber. With 4 grams of fiber per cup, it takes about 7 cups of oats to hit 28 grams.
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy snack—but it’ll take you 1.5 gallons of popcorn to get the daily recommended fiber intake. Top it with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor or experiment with your favorite herbs and spices.