Making sure your diet includes plenty of fiber is vital to your health and getting more of it is easier than you may realize.
The benefits for a high-fiber diet, according to The Mayo Clinic, include:
- Better bowel movements, including making bulky stool easier to pass and lowering your chance of constipation
- Lowers your risk of developing hemorrhoids
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Helps to control your blood sugar levels
- May help you maintain a healthy weight
- May decrease someone's risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer
The daily fiber recommendations for adults 50 and younger: men 38 grams and women 25 grams. For 51 and older: 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women. The Mayo Clinic notes foods like canned fruits and vegetables, pulp-free juices, white bread and pasta, and non-whole-grain cereals are usually low in fiber.
And fiber is found in plenty of unexpected foods that you likely already eat on a daily basis. SELF magazine highlights how there are plenty of tasty and healthy foods that are high in fiber besides whole-grain bread and cereals.
Fruits: avocados (half of 1 has 7 grams), raspberries (8 grams per cup), pears (6 grams), prunes (8 grams per cup), oranges (4 grams), bananas (3 grams), blackberries (8 grams per cup), apples (4 grams), dried figs (15 grams per cup), coconut (4 grams for each 2-in-by-2-inch piece)
Vegetables: artichokes (7 grams), peas (8 grams per cup), edamame (8 grams per cup), corn (3 grams per cup), okra (4 grams per cup), cauliflower (2 grams per cup), potatoes (2 grams), sweet potato (4 grams), split peas (16 grams per cup), broccoli (6 grams per cup), lima beans (9 grams per cup), onions (2 grams)
Seeds, nuts, pasta, and other foods: whole wheat pasta (9 grams per cup), brown rice (3 grams per cup), multigrain oatmeal (10 grams per cup), flax seeds (3 grams per tablespoon), navy beans or white beans (13 grams per cup), chickpeas (16 grams per cup), popcorn (1 gram per cup), pistachios (13 grams per cup), pecans (10 grams per cup), almonds (4 grams per ounce), lentils (15 grams per cup), black beans (15 grams per cup), dark chocolate (2 grams in 60-69 percent cocoa varieties), chia seeds (10 grams per ounce)
Another important tip from the experts at the Mayo Clinic who warn, "Adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change."
Also, fiber works best when you are drinking plenty of water, as the fiber absorbs the water to make your stool softer and bulkier, so make sure you hydrate as you enjoy these fiber-filled foods!