Dietary fiber is a magical nutrient that keeps the whole body functioning properly. Not only does fiber combat constipation, but it also lowers cholesterol, lowers blood sugar levels, and reduces heart disease and colorectal risk.
Fiber comes from plants, so don’t look for it in animal-based products. The plant kingdom has plenty to offer, and some of the best fiber sources might surprise you.
These are the top 12 fiber-rich foods to immediately add to your diet:
Chickpeas are fiber-rich legumes that provide protein and other micronutrients that keep you full while providing a fantastic nutrient composition. One cup of cooked chickpeas provides 12g of fiber.
The best and tastiest way to eat chickpeas is hummus. Chickpeas can also be added to salads or be used as a side dish if you roast/air-fry them with your preferred herbs until they’re crispy.
Blackberries are nature’s sweet and juicy dessert. Like many other berries, they contain antioxidants that help the body combat oxidative stress. Blackberries are rich in fiber which helps lower blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. One cup of blackberries provides 7.5g of fiber.
These tiny fruits are best eaten whole, but you can add them to salads or cook them to use as syrup.
Oats are a classic staple of a healthy breakfast. They are packed with soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, which regulates blood sugar by slowing down how fast the body absorbs the glucose/sugars. It also provides other vitamins and minerals that help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. One cooked cup of oats provides 5g of fiber.
Although many opt for instant oatmeal, which is not a bad option despite being loaded with added sugar, the best way to eat this fiber-rich food is in its most natural form. You can cook it with water/milk or use it to make pancakes, waffles, or other pastries.
Quinoa is a gluten-free superfood rich in fiber, protein, iron, and vitamin B2, which keep muscles and brain cells healthy. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 5g of fiber.
You can eat quinoa by baking it in muffins, pancakes, or other pastries. You can also add it to salads or fruit bowls, toast them, or serve them as a side dish.
Apples are a favored fruit with an extremely healthy profile. This fruit is a great source of pectin, a soluble fiber that reduces cholesterol levels. One whole apple can provide up to 8g of fiber.
You can snack on an apple alone or dip it in yogurt, peanut butter, or even chocolate. You can add it as a fresh ingredient for salads or enjoy it in delicious apple recipes, such as apple pie.
Edamame has a mild flavor and plenty of fiber. It also offers many amino acids that the body needs, which makes them a popular veggie for vegans and vegetarians. One-half cup of boiled and shelled edamame provides 4g of fiber.
Steamed edamame is often a great snack, but you can also add shelled edamame to your stir-fry, salad, or make edamame hummus as a tasty classic dip.
Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse that is low in fat, high in protein, and packed with fiber. Lentils come in different colors, each with their own flavor but all extremely nutrient rich. One cup of boiled lentils provides 18g of fiber.
Lentils work well in soups and salads and can replace meat in vegetarian dishes. They can also be cooked with curried tomatoes for a savory vegetarian entree.
Artichokes are nutrient-dense veggies that provide a soft, earthly flavor. They are packed with fiber, folate, and vitamin K, which promotes liver health. One cup of cooked artichoke hearts provides 14g of fiber.
You can add artichoke hearts to salads or pasta or use it as a topping for pizza. You can also make a spinach-artichoke dip or try different artichoke dip recipes.
Raspberries are among the berries that are highest in fiber. These delicious mini fruits also contain antioxidants and polyphenols, which lower oxidative stress. One cup of raspberries provides 8g of fiber.
You can use fresh frozen raspberries to make a smoothie or as a topping for oatmeal, pancakes, and pastries. You can also cook them as a natural syrup.
Whole grains are one of the best sources of fiber; they’re also rich in phytonutrients that help prevent various diseases. Although carb-rich foods have a terrible reputation, you’ll be okay if you opt for whole wheat products. One cup of cooked whole wheat pasta provides 7g of fiber.
You probably already have a favorite pasta but try different whole wheat pasta recipes like whole wheat pasta primavera to ensure your meal is packed with fiber and healthy vegetables.
Broccoli is a cruciferous veggie that is high in soluble fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B9. Broccoli is also believed to lower certain cancer risks. One cup of chopped broccoli provides 5g of fiber.
You can add broccoli to almost any dish; add it to a stir-fry or roast it as a standalone dish. Additionally, you can add it with eggs, pasta, and salads.
Avocados are an excellent healthy fat source, and unlike most fiber-rich foods, avocados can be used as a condiment. One avocado can provide up to 10g of fiber.
Avocados are very simple to incorporate into your diet. You can spread them on toast or sandwiches, make guacamole, and serve it with crackers or raw veggies.
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This originally appeared on Planet Natural.
Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.