foods with fiber

30 min read

High Fiber Foods That You Can Easily Add to Your Diet

For some, fiber is not the sexiest food group. After all, who really wants to talk about stool bulk, constipation and digestive health problems? Well, besides us, of course.


But here’s the thing about fiber: even if you think you are getting enough of it in your diet, there’s a good chance you aren’t. Over 90% of adults don’t get enough fiber and it can have some pretty serious consequences for your health[1]. That’s because we have fiber to thank for a healthy digestive system, weight management, heart health, healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, among many other benefits[2].


Luckily, you have a lot of delicious options, including OLIPOP, for adding fiber into your diet. Read on to learn more about fiber, your recommended daily intake, and some of the best high-fiber food and drink options.

What Is Fiber?

Fiber is a healthy complex carbohydrate that your body cannot digest[3]. You might be wondering: why would I eat something that my body can’t break down?


Well, as fiber passes through your body it aids digestion, regulates your blood sugar levels, and keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer[4]. It plays such an important role in your body’s metabolism that a diet low on fiber could lead to weight gain, constipation, blood sugar fluctuations, nausea, or exhaustion[5].

Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

There are two different types of dietary fiber that your body needs: soluble and insoluble. Each plays its own role in supporting your body’s healthy digestive processes:


Dissolves in water? Health benefits  Types of food
Soluble fiber Yes

Absorbs cholesterol and acids in the gut helping to lower cholesterol levels[6]


Slows the digestion process which helps lower glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity[7]


Helps slow the stomach emptying process which keeps you feeling full for longer[6]


Enhances gut health and improves immune function[6]


Helps improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome[7]
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Lentils 
  • Oats/oatmeal
  • Peas
  • Citrus fruits
  • Carrots
  • Barley
Insoluble fiber No

Promotes improved bowel function and helps add bulk to your stool[6]


Can help move food through your digestive system, which promotes a healthy metabolism and reduces symptoms of constipation[3]


Helps trap toxins in the body and eliminates them through your stool[6]
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Whole grains
  • Whole wheat flours
  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grain couscous
  • Brown rice
  • Zucchini
  • Vegetables

Recommended Daily Fiber Intake

The 2020-2025 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the below fiber intake for adults[1]:

  • Women: 22-28 grams of fiber per day
  • Men: 28-34 grams of fiber per day

The Fiber Gap

Based on those USDA’s guidelines, we should all be getting around 25-30 grams of fiber every single day. Here’s the problem: most American adults think they are getting enough fiber but in reality more than 90% of women and 97% of men don’t get anywhere near that recommended amount[1]. The average fiber intake for most Americans is 15 to 16 grams of fiber per day, about half the recommended intake[6].


This means that the majority of the U.S. population is not getting enough fiber. This is a public health concern given that low levels of fiber are a contributing factor to obesity, inflammation, chronic diseases, and other major health concerns[2] [6] [8].

Read the Nutrition Label

Checking for “Dietary Fiber” on the nutrition label under “Total Carbohydrate” is the biggest step you can take in the fight against the fiber gap. Especially because some foods, like those labeled with “whole grains”, might sound like they have a lot of fiber in them when in reality they might not have as much as you think.


Unfortunately, according to some studies, only 1 in 4 consumers actually check the back label of foods before dropping them into their cart[2]. Let’s change that statistic by making the back label check a part of your decision-making shopping process! How Much Fiber Should I Look For? So what should you look for when reading the back label? Let’s start with the % Daily Value (DV). The DV tells you the percentage of how much of your total daily value of that nutrient is in the product[9].


The daily value recommendation for fiber is 28 grams, meaning you should have at least this amount of fiber throughout your day[9]. A product that has 28 grams of fiber has 100% of your Daily Value.


A general rule of thumb is that 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is low while 20% DV or more is high[9]. Given our diets are low in fiber, the higher the % Daily Value of fiber, the better.


It’s important to note that nutrient amounts refer to the size of the serving. So always check the serving size when comparing products to know exactly what you’re getting with what you plan on eating or drinking.


When it comes to total grams, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers 3 grams or higher a “good” source of fiber and 5 grams or higher an “excellent” source of fiber[2]. Although, we think you can aim even higher! This is where OLIPOP comes in... OLIPOP and the Fiber Gap On the Nutrition Label for our OLIPOP sparkling tonics, you can see that our soda has 9 grams of Dietary Fiber. This is 32% of your daily value of fiber in a serving size of one can of delicious soda.


We include 9 grams of dietary fiber and other health-supporting ingredients in our soda because we know it can be hard to get enough fiber in your diet. This is evidenced by the fact that 67% of people think they are consuming enough fiber when over 90% of us aren't[2].


There’s a clear disconnect between the foods we are eating and the foods we should be eating. Unlike our ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers, you aren’t wandering through the woods picking fruits and vegetables high in fiber and other healthy nutrients.


Today, we walk down the grocery store aisle and have access to so many different types of foods, many of which aren’t so great for us. And the truth is, most people have a hard time figuring out what’s good and what’s bad and how to swap in more of that good stuff.


That’s why at OLIPOP we went wandering and digging, like urban hunters and gatherers, trying to solve this puzzle of healthy eating in a modern world. And that’s exactly how we wound up making OLIPOP, a delicious drink designed to bring you all the ingredients and benefits of an age-old diet.


Our 9 grams of dietary fiber and other health supporting ingredients work hard every sip to fuel your microbiome and support your digestive health. With OLIPOP, we help make one decision in the modern world that much easier, without having to sacrifice delicious taste.

High Fiber Foods to Add

So we’ve talked about how important fiber is in your diet and how to read that back label to check for a high fiber intake. But where exactly can you find all this fiber besides a can of OLIPOP? Trust us, there are tons of delicious options to choose from!

Fruits

Fruits are some of the best fiber-rich foods you can find! Plus they’re super tasty and offer minimal calories. Here are some of the most fiber-rich fruits:


Fruit Standard portion Calories Fiber (g)
Avocado 1 cup 120 10.0
Guava 1 cup 112 8.9
Raspberries 1 cup 64  8.0
Loganberries 1 cup 81 7.8
Blackberries 1 cup 62 7.6
Boysenberries 1 cup 66 7.0
Gooseberries 1 cup 66 6.5
Blueberries, wild 1 cup 80 6.2
Passionfruit 1/4 cup 57 6.1
Pear 1 medium 103 5.5
Kiwifruit 1 cup 110 5.4
Grapefruit 1 fruit 130 5.0
Apple, with skin 1 medium 104 4.8
Durian 1/2 cup 179 4.6
Starfruit 1 cup 41 3.7
Orange 1 medium 73 3.7
Figs, dried 1/4 cup 93 3.7
Pomegranate seeds 1/2 cup 72 3.5
Mandarin orange 1 cup 103 3.5
Tangerine, with skin 1 cup 103 3.5
Pears, dried 1/4 cup 118 3.4
Peaches, dried 1/4 cup 96 3.3
Banana 1 medium 112 3.2
Apricots, with skin 1 cup 74 3.1
Prunes or dried plum 1/4 cup 105 3.1
Plantains, cooked 1 cup 215 3.1
Strawberries 1 cup 49 3.0
Dates 1/4 cup 104 3.0
Blueberries, dried 1/4 cup 127 3.0

*Data comes from the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

 

Fruits vs. Juices

To enjoy the maximal nutritional benefit from fruits, make sure to eat them in their whole-form. Some juice products, such as fruit drinks or juice concentrates, are just sugar-sweetened beverages in disguise[1].


Always check the back label for “added sugars” (or sugars that are not naturally occurring) and to see exactly how much of that juice is actually juice. For example, when you look at the back of some juice products you’ll be surprised to find a “contains 5% juice” line on their nutrition label! However, even a 100% juice product still contains a lower fiber content than just enjoying the fruit raw[1].

Fruits With Skins

You’ll notice that some fruits in our list above mention “with skin” next to them and that’s because the skin is where most of the fiber is[10]! So anytime you come across an edible skinned fruit, such as apples and peaches, make sure to enjoy the full fruit and not just its insides for full-fledged fiber potential. And dried fruit with the skin is a great choice too!

Vegetables

Vegetables, especially leafy green and dark-colored veggies, are high in fiber as well as other phytochemicals, antioxidants, and vitamins[7]. Artichokes come in first place here, but also on the list includes carrots, collard greens, brussels sprouts, potatoes, and more. Add as many of these veggies as you can into your recipes for maximum fiber and nutrition.


Vegetable Standard portion Calories  Fiber (g)
Artichoke, cooked 1 cup 89 9.6
Green peas, cooked 1 cup 134 8.8
Split peas, cooked 1/2 cup 116 8.2
Taro root (dasheen or yautia), cooked 1 cup 187 6.7
Brussels sprouts, cooked 1 cup 65 6.4
Sweet potato, cooked 1 cup 190 6.3
Parsnips, cooked 1 cup 110 6.2
Winter squash, cooked 1 cup  76 5.7
Yam, cooked 1 cup 58

5.3

Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 54 5.2
Cauliflower, cooked 1 cup 34 4.9
Carrots, cooked 1 cup 54 4.8
Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 63 4.8
Kale, cooked 1 cup 43 4.7
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 41 4.3
Cabbage, savoy, cooked 1 cup 35 4.1
Cabbage, red, cooked 1 cup 41 4.1
Corn, cooked 1 cup 134 4.0
Potato, baked, with skin 1 medium 161 3.9
Swiss chard, cooked 1 cup 35 3.7
Carrots, raw 1 cup 52 3.6
Mushrooms, cooked 1 cup 44 3.4
Red bell pepper, raw 1 cup 39 3.1
*Data comes from the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Start With Salad Before a Meal

Struggling to get enough veggies in your diet? One great tactic is to start with the salad. Before you dive into your juicy burger or grab a bite of your pasta, start by reaching for your salad first. It might take a little bit of willpower but this is a great way to load up on veggies instead of skipping them.

Legumes

Beans and legumes such as black beans, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans offer a healthy dose of fiber, as well as protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals[7]. Try replacing some of your processed or high-fat meats with legumes instead for a healthier and more fiber-rich diet[1]. We recommend adding some of the below legumes to your soups, chilis, dips, and salads.


Legumes Standard portion Calories  Fiber (g)
Navy beans, cooked 1/2 cup 128 9.6
Small white beans, cooked 1/2 cup 127 9.3
Yellow beans, cooked 1/2 cup 128 9.2
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 209 9.2
Adzuki beans, cooked 1/2 cup 147 8.4
French beans, cooked 1/2 cup 114 8.3
Lentils, cooked 1/2 cup 115 7.8
Pinto beans, cooked 1/2 cup 123 7.7
Black beans, cooked 1/2 cup 114 7.5
Taro root (dasheen or yautia), cooked 1 cup 187 6.7
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cooked 1/2 cup 135 6.3
Great northern beans, cooked 1/2 cup 105 6.2
Kidney beans, cooked 1/2 cup 113 5.7
White beans, cooked 1/2 cup 125 5.7
Black-eyed peas, dried and cooked 1/2 cup 99 5.6
Soybeans, cooked 1/2 cup 148 5.2
Fava beans, cooked 1/2 cup 94 4.6

*Data comes from the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

 

Whole Grains

Most people assume that foods labeled as “whole grain” are high in fiber. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and is one of the leading culprits in the fiber gap. For example, 34% of cereals that carry a “whole grain” claim are actually poor sources of fiber[2].


This is because the fiber content of whole grains varies widely depending on the product. Always check the label and look out for those whole-grain products with high fiber content such as oats, barley, high-fiber cereals, and even popcorn!


Grains Standard Portion Calories Fiber (g)
Ready-to-eat cereal, high fiber, unsweetened 1/2 cup 62 14.0
Ready-to-eat cereal, whole-grain kernels 1/2 cup 209 7.5
Ready-to-eat cereal, wheat, shredded 1/2 cup 172 6.2
Popcorn 3 cups 169 5.8
Ready-to-eat cereal, bran flakes 3/4 cup 98 5.5
Bulgur, cooked 1/2 cup 76 4.1
Spelt, cooked 1/2 cup 123 3.8
Teff, cooked 1/2 cup 128 3.6
Barley, pearled, cooked 1/2 cup 97 3.0
Ready-to-eat cereal, toasted oat 1 cup 111 3.0
Oat bran 1/2 cup 44 2.9
Crackers, whole wheat 1 ounce 122 2.9
Chapati or roti, whole wheat 1 ounce 85 2.8
Tortillas, whole wheat 1 ounce 88 2.8

*Data comes from the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

 

Whole Grains vs Refined Grains

A grain is any product made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or any other kind of cereal grain[11]. Most Americans meet their recommended daily intake for grains[1], which sounds like a good thing right?


The problem is that most of the grains we are eating are refined grains instead of whole grains. 98% of Americans don’t get enough whole grains and 74% exceed their limits for refined grains[1].


The difference between refined and whole grains is that whole grains contain the entire grain kernel whereas refined grains go through a milling process to improve their texture and extend their shelf life[11]. Through that process, refined grains lose a lot of their protein, fiber, iron, and vitamins[21].


This doesn’t mean that all refined grains are bad, some refined grains are enriched after the milling process with iron, vitamins, and other nutrients[11]. But unfortunately, fiber is not one of those nutrients added back in. To add more fiber into your diet, aim to make half your grains whole grains[1].


Refined Grains  Whole Grains
White flour Whole-wheat flour
Corn grits Bulgur (cracked wheat)
White bread Oats/Oatmeal
White rice Whole-grain cornmeal
Refined-grain cereal and crackers Brown rice
Barley (pearled) Barley (not pearled)
Pasta Amaranth
Bulgur
Quinoa
Whole grain cereals and crackers

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are not only a great source of protein and healthy fats, but can also contain a good amount of fiber per serving. Swap one or a few of these nut options into your diet for a fiber-filled snack between meals.


Nuts and Seeds Standard Portion Calories  Fiber (g)
Wocas, yellow pond lily seeds 1 ounce 102 5.4
Pumpkin seeds, whole 1 ounce 126 5.2
Coconut 1 ounce 187 4.6
Chia seeds 1 Tbsp 58 4.1
Almonds 1 ounce 164 3.5
Chestnuts 1 ounce 106 3.3
Sunflower seeds 1 ounce 165 3.1
Pine nuts 1 ounce 178 3.0
Pistachio nuts 1 ounce 162 2.9
Flax seeds 1 Tbsp 55 2.8
Hazelnuts (filberts) 1 ounce 178 2.8

*Data comes from the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

 

Adding Fiber to Diet Takeaway

Fiber is an important nutrient in a healthy diet, but unfortunately, most Americans don't get enough of it. Good sources of fiber to load up on are fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. Just make sure to check the back label of your products to look for high-fiber foods to add to your diet. And don’t forget to add 9 grams of fiber with every can of OLIPOP!


Sources


  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, December). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 (9th Edition). https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans-2020-2025.pdf
  2. Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2016). Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 11(1), 80–85. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827615588079
  3. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2019, October 28). Fiber. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/
  4. Cleveland Health Clinic. (2021, February 8). Carbohydrates: Types & Health Benefits. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15416-carbohydrates
  5. Fries, W. C. (2007, January 1). Is Your Diet Low In Fiber? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/4-warning-signs-your-diet-may-lack-fiber
  6. Sweat, W., & Manore, M. M. (2015). Dietary Fiber: Simple Steps for Managing Weight and Improving Health. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal, 19(1), 9–16. https://doi.org/10.1249/fit.0000000000000091
  7. Locke, A., Schneiderhan, J., & Zick, S. M. (2018). Diets for Health: Goals and Guidelines. American Family Physician, 97(11), 721–728.
  8. Dreher, M. (2018). Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects. Nutrients, 10(12), 1833. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121833
  9. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020, March 11). How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label. https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/how-understand-and-use-nutrition-facts-label
  10. Shaw, G. (2012, October 31). The Ultimate High-Fiber Grocery List. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/fiber-groceries
  11. 11United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Grains. MyPlate. Retrieved July 1, 2021, from https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/grains
Cheat Sheet
  • Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that helps aid digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and keeps you feeling full for longer.
  • There are two different types of dietary fiber that your body needs: soluble and insoluble. Each plays its own role in supporting your body’s healthy digestive processes.
  • Americans can benefit from eating more fiber, as the average adult only eats half the recommended amount of fiber per day.
  • Good sources of fiber to load up on are fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.
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