In this article, you can find out what fiber is and what foods contain fiber. We’ll also cover low-fiber foods and suggest swaps to increase your fiber intake.
Regularly consuming fiber is associated with protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar control, digestion, weight management, and immune function.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend that women aim for 25 grams (g) of fiber each day and men for 38 g. But in reality, most people in the U.S. consume only about 16 g of fiber per day.
Fiber is the key fuel for your gut microbiome — the trillions of microbes in your gut that are crucial for good health.
ZOE scientists are at the forefront of gut microbiome research. We’ve identified 15 “good” gut bugs associated with markers of good health and 15 “bad” bugs linked to negative health markers.
If you would like to learn about the bacteria in your gut and how to boost your “good” bugs, start by taking our free quiz today.
29 High-fiber foods
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest itself. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber — found in oats, beans, and citrus fruits — dissolves in water and helps with digestion, cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and feelings of hunger.
Insoluble fiber — found in nuts, cauliflower, and green beans — doesn’t dissolve in water and is important for regular bowel movements.
Here are our top high-fiber foods with tips on incorporating them into your meals.
Most vegetables are a great source of fiber. However you like them — baked, sauteed, grilled, seasoned — they will provide you with your much-needed daily fiber.
1. Green peas: 9 g fiber per cup
Green peas are a great source of fiber, with a whopping 9 g of fiber per cup. Not only this, but they contain antioxidants, vitamins, and polyphenols, giving them great anti-inflammatory benefits.
2. Broccoli: 5 g fiber per cup
Whether you enjoy broccoli steamed, boiled, or raw, the beneficial bacteria in your gut will enjoy this boost of soluble fiber. Broccoli is also high in vitamins and minerals.
3. Brussels sprouts: 4 g fiber per cup
Brussels sprouts are full of vitamins and nutrients. High in protein, they can be a great addition to any meal.
4. Sweetcorn: 3.5 g fiber per cup
Sweetcorn is an excellent source of carbohydrates and other vitamins and minerals. Corn is great on the cob, on the grill, or just on the side of a dish.
5. Carrots: 3 g fiber per cup
Carrots are a crisp and crunchy food that pairs well with hummus or guacamole to make a perfect, healthy snack. They are packed with the famous vitamin A and are also a great source of fiber.
Fruits are another great source of fiber. Include them in your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, grab them on the go for a midday snack, and end your dinner with a naturally sweet piece of fruit.
Be mindful of fruit juices, though, as juicing removes the fiber. Similarly, eat the skin of washed fruit if you can, since it contains the most fiber and nutrients.
6. Avocado: 10 g fiber per cup
Packed with healthy fats and fiber, avocado is a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and dips like guacamole.
7. Raspberries: 8 g fiber per cup
Raspberries are a great source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. Packed with flavor, raspberries are a great addition to yogurt and nuts. They are the perfect way to sweeten up a meal and are great fresh or frozen.
8. Coconut: 7 g fiber per cup
Coconut contains plenty of fiber and healthy fat. Shredded or cubed raw coconut makes a good addition to oatmeal or yogurt, or try it mixed into a salad.
9. Kiwi fruit: 5 g fiber per cup
Naturally sweet, kiwi fruit are packed with fiber and vitamin C. Eating the skin will boost your fiber intake even further.
10. Apple, with skin: 4.5 g fiber per medium apple
Apples are a fantastic immune boost and source of fiber. They can be the perfect sweet and balanced snack when paired with nut butter.
11. Strawberries: 3 g fiber per cup
A great addition to smoothies, strawberries are a great source of sweetness and antioxidants.
There are tons of great grain options, and a lot of them are packed with fiber. Grains make a good base for many dishes and can help you feel full for longer.
Choosing high-fiber grains doesn’t have to be challenging, as there are a lot of options.
12. Bulgur wheat: 8 g fiber per 1 cup, cooked
Bulgur wheat is a great grain base to substitute for rice or couscous. It’s nutrient-packed and can be spiced, seasoned, and flavored to your liking.
13. Dark rye flour: 7.2 g fiber per quarter cup
Dark rye flour is a great substitute for standard flour. Using this can help you make fiber-packed bread.
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14. Whole-wheat spaghetti: 6.3 g fiber per cup
Regular pasta is often a simple starch, which isn’t always the best for our bodies.
Instead, swap to whole-wheat pasta for a more nutrient-dense meal. For example, try whole-wheat spaghetti with your favorite sauce or pesto.
15. Oats: 4 g fiber per half cup, uncooked
Oats contain a type of fiber called β-glucan, which can help control blood sugar and might be particularly beneficial for glucose control.
16. Popcorn: 4 g fiber per 3 cups
Popcorn is a great, healthy snack and packed with fiber. So, choose popcorn as your new high-fiber snack.
17. Rye crackers: 3 g fiber per two slices
Rye crackers are a great source of fiber. You can add avocado, hummus, or nut butters to them to create a fiber-packed, healthy snack.
18. Wheat germ: 2 g fiber per 2 tablespoons
Wheat germ is a great, high-fiber substitute for typical flours. You can make healthier versions of pancakes and muffins or add them to oats.
Protein is a vital part of your diet. We all know it as the muscle builder, but protein is important for every cell in your body.
Protein-rich foods can be fiber-packed, too, when they are from plant sources. Sprinkle seeds over your oatmeal and salads or add lentils to your next casserole.
19. Lentils: 15.6 g per cup
High in polyphenols with their associated cardiovascular benefits, lentils are a great addition to meals. The fiber bulks them up to make you feel fuller for longer while providing you with tons of health benefits.
20. Black beans: 14 g fiber per cup
Black beans are another high-fiber protein source. They are great when seasoned and added to tacos and grain bowls.
21. Edamame pasta: 11 g fiber per 50 g
Have you ever heard of edamame pasta? It’s essentially protein pasta with high fiber. You can serve it with your favorite sauce or pesto to get a flavor-packed and healthy dish.
22. Chia seeds: 10 g fiber per ounce
Chia seeds contain a whopping 10 g of fiber per ounce, in addition to protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids , minerals, and antioxidants. Crunchy when eaten raw, they turn into a gel when you mix them with water.
23. Chickpeas: 4 g fiber per cup
Chickpeas include high amounts of soluble fiber and contain lots of protein. These are a great addition to salads or grain bowls. You can also use them to make your own hummus.
24. Sunflower seeds: 3 g fiber per tablespoon
Sunflower seeds are a great source of fiber, healthy fat, and protein. They are a great addition to salads, yogurt bowls, trail mix, or just a quick snack.
25. Almond flour: 3 g fiber per quarter cup
Almond flour is another excellent substitute for standard flour. You can bake just about anything with it, so it’s a great way to get some extra nutrients.
26. Peanuts: 2 g fiber per tablespoon
Peanuts are a great source of fat and fiber. You can add these to just about anything you like. Peanuts enhance the flavor and, as a bonus, add extra nutrients. Alternatively, you could use peanut butter, which has 3 g of fiber per 2 tablespoons.
Believe it or not, high-fiber drinks do exist, but fiber from the original source needs to be maintained throughout the production process.
As mentioned above, consuming just the juice leaves you without the fiber and all of its important benefits.
You may be an avid coffee drinker. If so, this may be good news. Coffee can have high amounts of soluble fiber. Find out more about coffee in an episode of our ZOE Science & Nutrition podcast: Is Coffee Healthy?
Select a mix of the fruit, veg, grains, and proteins above and put them in a smoothie. It’s an instant and delicious high-fiber drink.
29. Vegetable juice
Vegetable juice can be high in fiber. On the label, look for the amount of fiber per serving; it should be around 3 g or higher.
Which foods are low in fiber?
Low-fiber foods lack an adequate amount of fiber per serving. While you might think of foods like cheeses or butter as being low in fiber, there are some unexpected candidates.
The processing of foods tends to remove the fiber that is present in the whole food. A good example of this is a standard cereal bar. Therefore, it’s better to use whole foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans, and legumes, to ensure you consume adequate fiber.
Here are some foods that are low in fiber:
white rice, pasta, and bread
potatoes without the skin
some cereal bars
eggs, poultry, meat, and fish
You might be surprised that potatoes and white rice are on this list.
Here are some swaps you can try:
Choose plant-based proteins rather than animal-based ones.
Eat the skin on fruit and vegetables.
Swap white rice for brown rice, bulgur, or farro.
Swap canned vegetables for frozen or fresh vegetables.
Swap potatoes without skin for skin-on sweet potatoes.
Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. It’s necessary for proper digestion and has numerous positive health benefits, including better immune function, heart health, digestion, and blood sugar control.
There are a host of high-fiber vegetables, fruits, grains, protein sources, and drinks. You can prepare and incorporate these in your diet in countless ways and substitute them for low-fiber options.
But the best high-fiber foods and food combinations will differ between people — everyone’s body is different. With ZOE, you can find the high-fiber foods that are best for you.
Understanding how your body responds to food is important. When you join ZOE, we show you how your blood sugar and blood fat levels respond to food. We also give you detailed information about the bacteria in your gut.
Based on your unique results, we provide personalized nutrition advice so you can eat the best foods for your body and long-term health goals.
You can take a free quiz to find out more.
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Closing America’s fiber intake gap. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. (2017). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124841/
Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (2020). https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
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Polyphenols, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Vascular Biology. (2013). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11883-013-0324-x
The effect of oat β-glucan on postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (2021). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-021-00875-9