List of High Fiber Foods
A high fiber diet is important to optimum health for a variety of reasons. Adding more fiber to your diet can improve digestive tract function by relieving constipation symptoms. Fiber can also help reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers.
However, far too many people are victims of the Standard American Diet, characterized by high amounts of fat and low amounts of fiber. The addictive qualities of consuming large portions of red meats, fatty, sugary, and carb-laden foods also make it difficult for individuals wanting incorporate more high fiber foods into their diets.
Part of the problem lies in not knowing which foods provide additional fiber content. The term “fiber” can often conjure up images of tasteless, very dark, heavy breads with handfuls of grains, flax, roots, oats, nuts, berries, and tree branches weighing them down right? In reality, many wholesome treats can be added to your list of high fiber foods that taste good while also improving digestive health.
Creating a List of High Fiber Foods
A master list of high fiber foods can be kept in the kitchen and to help identify which foods you (as a health-conscious consumer) should choose more often.
Many health-related websites provide a list of high fiber foods along with other dietary recommendations. You can also find specific information about each food when you browse the Internet. You may also be able to receive this list of high fiber foods from your doctor or local library or community center.
The following is a detailed list of high fiber foods to act as a starting point while you shop for healthier and more fibrous foods.
- Whole grain breads (such as 100% whole wheat, whole grain rye, mixed grain, or cracked wheat), buns, pitas, wraps, bagels, and muffins
- Whole wheat or graham crackers
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat pasta or brown rice pasta
- Cereals made from whole grain (whole wheat, bran, or whole grain oats)
- Oatmeal and other whole grain cooked cereals
Another great way to add more fiber to your diet is to add ground flax, wheat germ, or wheat bran in your baked goods. You should aim for six to eleven servings of grain products in your diet every day.
Eat a wide variety of vegetables and you will increase your fiber intake enormously, as well as improve your overall health in a number of ways. However, dark, leafy green vegetables contain the highest amounts of fiber. These beneficial veggies include:
Try to include leafy, green vegetables in your diet more often, at least three to five servings daily. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes are lower in fiber content however.
Many fruits are also high in fiber and, therefore, should be added to your list of high fiber foods. Some of the best choices include:
- Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
- Dried fruits (dates, prunes, apricots, figs, and raisins)
- Apples (with the skin), oranges, pears, and peaches
It is best to select fresh, raw fruit to receive the most nutrients, including fiber. Include two to three servings of fruit in your diet every day. Try shopping at your local farmer’s market for the fresher fruits and veggies.
Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
Legumes, nuts, and seeds are another important addition to your list of high fiber foods. You should try:
- Fresh, dried or frozen peas, beans (black beans, lima beans, kidney beans, baked beans), lentils, and other legumes
- Soy nuts
- Pistachio nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Keep in mind nuts and seeds (preferably unsalted) should be eaten only as occasional snacks, particularly when you want to limit your fat intake.
Dairy and Meat
While dairy products and meat products are not high in fiber, they do contain other essential nutrients and should still be incorporated into a balanced, healthy diet though perhaps not in the portions to which you’ve become accustomed. Good choices for protein include lean poultry (chicken and turkey), fish and shellfish, extra lean ground beef, natural peanut butter, egg whites, soy products (soymilk, soy cheese, and soy yogurt) and low-fat dairy such as 2% or skim milk, mozzarella cheese (instead of American cheddar), and low-sugar yogurt (which also provides beneficial bacteria). Try to include two to three servings each of dairy and meat in your daily meal plans.
While grocery shopping with this list of high fiber foods, there are a few dietary guidelines and tips you should follow with respect to incorporating more fiber into your diet.
Additional Tips for Adding Fiber
First, when shopping for grain products (cereal, bread, crackers, and pasta), check the label to make sure it says “whole wheat” (or other whole grains such as oats) as the first ingredient. If it says “bleached flour” or “enriched flour” as the main ingredient, bypass it altogether as this is essentially white bread that has been colored or altered to appear more wheat-like. Also, when regarding cereals, choose brands with a minimum of three grams of fiber per serving and use only low fat, organic milk.
Fruit and vegetables are always high in fiber, but choose fresh, raw fruits and vegetables rather than canned, packaged, or processed ones for maximum dietary benefits. Frozen is second best after raw. Increase your fiber intake by adding legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), whole-wheat flour (for cooking), wheat bran, ground flax, or nuts and seeds to your meals and snacks.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, since fiber absorbs water and needs it to work effectively. In fact, if you don’t drink enough water, you may actually develop constipation symptoms since the bulkier stool will harden within the colon and block the passage.
Limit your intake of any unhealthy, empty-calorie, low fiber foods as much as possible. Avoid fatty and sugary snacks and caffeinated coffees and colas. Try to increase your fiber intake naturally with whole foods rather than relying on a fiber supplement, even though some organic supplements can complement a high fiber diet to make sure you get enough.
Finally, take your list of high fiber foods with you whenever you go grocery shopping and you are sure to bring home many delicious choices for adding more fiber to your diet!