High Fiber Foods You Should Include in Your Diet
Adding fiber to your diet can help with digestion, weight management, blood sugar, heart health and more. These are the best high fiber foods to boost your health and well-being.
Found only in plant foods, dietary fiber is technically a non-nutrient because it is not digested or absorbed by the body, but do not let that lead you to underestimate its value.
Why Is Fiber Important?
Even though dietary fiber is not technically a nutrient, it offers many benefits far beyond simply preventing constipation.
Fiber comes in two major forms: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water and forms a gel, can help lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. You’ll find this type of fiber in oats, beans, lentils, nuts, apples and blueberries.
Insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract relatively intact and helps promote regularity. This type of fiber is found in wheat bran, brown rice, quinoa and most vegetables.
Other dietary fibers act as a prebiotic, which helps fuel good bacteria in the gut. Foods high in prebiotic fibers include chicory root, onions, garlic, leeks and Jerusalem artichokes.
High fiber diets have been linked to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, in addition to better gut health and weight management.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat?
Most Americans fail to get enough fiber, averaging only about half the amount that’s recommended daily, which is: 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men.
The fiber guidelines established by the Institute of Medicine recommend 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume daily.
In general, it’s better to get your fiber from whole foods rather than fiber supplements or isolated fibers. Supplements and powders lack the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in whole food sources of fiber.
Here is a list of high fiber foods to include in your diet. A good source of fiber provides at least 2.5 grams per serving, and an excellent source of fiber contains 5 grams of fiber or more per serving.
High Fiber Foods
Rather than being hyperfocused on specific types of fiber in foods, work on eating a variety of plant foods to mix up the dietary fibers you consume. Filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables and switching from refined grains to whole grains will help you get the fiber you need.
The major sources of dietary fiber include:
You may not realize that dry beans and legumes are powerhouse sources of fiber. But these plant-based morsels pack in more fiber than most other foods. Swap lentils for meat in recipes, add beans to soups and stews, top salads and grain bowls with chickpeas.
- Navy beans, 1 cup cooked (19.1 grams).
- Black beans, 1 cup canned (16.6 grams).
- Lentils, 1 cup cooked (15.6 grams).
- Pinto beans, 1 cup cooked (15.4 grams).
- Red kidney beans, 1 cup cooked (13.6 grams).
- Chickpeas, 1 cup cooked (12.5 grams).
- Edamame, 1 cup cooked and shelled (8 grams).
Perhaps best known as a source of healthy fats, nuts and seeds also contribute fiber. Snack on nuts instead of pretzels and chips, add nuts to salads and grain bowls or sprinkle seeds on overnight oats.
- Chia seeds, 1 ounce (9.8 grams).
- Almonds, 1 ounce (3.5 grams).
- Pine nuts, 1 ounce (3.0 grams).
- Pistachios, 1 ounce (2.9 grams).
- Pecans, 1 ounce (2.7 grams).
- Sunflower kernels, 1 ounce (2.6 grams).
Choose more whole fruits instead of juice to get more fiber. Eating the peels will boost your fiber intake even more. Start your day with at least one serving of fruit by using it to top oatmeal, stirring it into yogurt or adding it to a smoothie.
- Raspberries, 1 cup (8.0 grams).
- Avocado, 1/2 of the fruit (6.8 grams).
- Pear, 1 medium (5.5 grams)
- Red delicious apple with the skin, 1 medium (4.8 grams).
- Mejdool dates, 3 pitted (4.8 grams).
- Blueberries, 1 cup (3.5 grams).
- Banana, 1 medium (3.1 grams).
- Orange, 1 medium (3.0 grams).
- Strawberries, 1 cup (3.0 grams).
Keep eating your salads, but keep in mind that leafy greens lack the same level of fiber found in other vegetables. Be sure to add more fiber-rich vegetables to your salads, add a side of roasted vegetables to your meals and snack on crunchy raw veggies.
- Green peas, 1 cup cooked (8.8 grams).
- Broccoli, 1 cup cooked (5.1 grams).
- Brussels sprouts, 1 cup cooked (4.1 grams).
- Baked potato with skin, 1 medium (3.8 grams).
- Baked sweet potato without skin, 1 medium (3.8 grams).
- Yellow sweet corn, 1 cup cooked (3.6 grams).
- Beets, 1 cup cooked and sliced (3.4 grams).
- Cauliflower, 1 cup cooked and chopped (2.9 grams).
Fiber gets stripped away when grains are refined. To increase fiber, replace white bread, rice and pasta with 100% whole-wheat bread, brown rice and other whole grains like bulgur and farro.
- Bulgur, 1 cup cooked (8.2 grams).
- Farro, 1 cup cooked (6.3 grams).
- Quinoa, 1 cup cooked (5.2 grams).
- Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked (4.0 grams).
- Whole-wheat penne pasta, 1 cup cooked (3.8 grams).
- Wild rice, 1 cup cooked (3.0 grams).
- Brown rice, 1 cup cooked (2.6 grams).
- Whole wheat bread, 1 slice (2.0 grams).
What Are Good High Fiber, Low Carb Foods?
Many people who are following a keto diet or restricting carbohydrates often fail to meet daily fiber needs. But it is possible to curb carbs and still get enough fiber.
If you are reducing bread and grains in an attempt to eat fewer carbs, you do not need to come up short on fiber. Look for ways to incorporate more nuts and seeds. Seek out fruits and vegetables that are highest in fiber and lowest in carbs. Examples include:
Looking to curtail calories? Eat more high-fiber vegetables that contain fewer calories, such as zucchini, radishes, cabbage, bell pepper and hearts of palm.
Sample Menu to Get 45 Grams of Fiber a Day
Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains at every meal will help you meet daily fiber recommendations.
- 1 avocado (13.5 grams).
- 2 slices whole-wheat toast (4 grams).
- 1 whole-wheat tortilla (2.8 grams).
- 1/2 cup navy beans (9.6 grams).
- 1 cup broccoli (5.1 grams).
- 1 medium sweet potato (3.8 grams).
- 3 cups popcorn (5.8 grams).
Total: 45 grams of fiber.
Healthy Carbs to Eat on a Diet
The U.S. News Health team delivers accurate information about health, nutrition and fitness, as well as in-depth medical condition guides. All of our stories rely on multiple, independent sources and experts in the field, such as medical doctors and licensed nutritionists. To learn more about how we keep our content accurate and trustworthy, read our editorial guidelines.
Culbertson is a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic Center for Human Nutrition.
Jacks is a registered dietitian with Texas Health Sports Medicine in Dallas.
Kimberlain is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist based in Miami. She is also a spokesperson fo