Dietary fiber helps us feel and stay full after a meal. It can help reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, and regulate our blood sugar. Many of us are already aware of these benefits but still aren’t getting enough fiber. Women should aim for 25 grams, and men for 38 grams per day. Over age 51, women should aim for 21 and men for 30.
Favorite Fiber-Filled Foods:
- Beans – While the amount of dietary fiber varies from type to type, most beans have 10+ grams of fiber per cup – with navy beans coming in highest at 19g. In addition, beans are a great source of vegetarian protein and iron. Pair beans with rice for a complete meal in this Beans and Rice
- Barley – Barley is a whole-grain with a subtle, nutty flavor and is great served hot or cold. If you are trying to switch things up, it can easily be substituted for rice, quinoa, or oats. Barley has 6g of fiber per cup. Try this recipe for Barley Pilaf.
- Almonds – Almonds contain a whopping 17.9 g grams of fiber per cup. However, a normal serving size is closer to 1 oz (20-24 almonds) which will still give you around 3.5g. Almonds are also a great source of protein and Vitamin E, an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
- Squash – Acorn squash, named for its oversized acorn shape, has 9 grams of fiber per cup. There are many kinds of winter squash, and while not all types provide quite as much fiber as Acorn, all are rich sources of Vitamin A and carotenoids. These help maintain vision, fight infections, and maintain healthy skin. Not sure what to do with squash? Try this recipe for Stuffed Squash.
- Avocado – We all know that avocados are loaded with heart healthy fats. In addition, avocados are also a good source of fiber. A typical serving, one-quarter of an avocado, has 3.5 grams.
- All fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds contain dietary fiber.
- As an added bonus, foods with lots of fiber tend to also be full of vitamins and minerals that many of us don’t usually eat enough of.
- Keep edible peels and skins on you produce. These have a lot of the fiber.
- Be sure to increase your fiber intake slowly and drink plenty of water.
- While fiber will help out your insides in the long run, a dramatic change can cause some distress over the short term.
Written by Rachel Caty MPH, RDN, LDN#fiber, #recipes