Dietary fiber is incredibly important to your health, which is why we’re dedicating an entire article to high-fiber vegetables and plant foods to keep you fiber full!
Why is fiber so important? Fiber is the part of your food that your body can’t digest, but human gut bacteria can. Fiber feeds our friendly bacteria, helps to stabilize our blood sugar levels, and can even help promote weight loss and ease constipation.
The recommended daily intake of fiber for men is 38 grams, and for women 25 grams. There are medical conditions that sometimes necessitate following a low-fiber or fiber-restricted diet, but cutting back on fiber intake is otherwise not recommended.
Most of us are not eating enough fiber, close to half of what our bodies want and need. Luckily, naturally increasing your fiber intake is easily achieved with fiber-rich foods, and this list not only tells you the top 25 high-fiber vegetables and plant foods (good for vegetarians and vegans), but also ranks them percentage-wise according to their fiber content. How much of a strawberry is made of fiber? How about a sweet potato? Read on to find out!
The Benefits of Fiber
There are two types of fiber, divided based on water solubility.
- Soluble fiber: This fiber dissolves in water and can be eaten and metabolized by your “good” gut bacteria. It becomes gel-like during digestion due to its water absorption, which slows down digestion and reduces spikes in blood sugar. It’s found in beans, lentils, peas, barley, oat bran, nuts, seeds, and certain fruits and vegetables.
- Insoluble fiber: This fiber does not dissolve in water but adds bulk to your stool, which allows it to pass more comfortably through your digestive tract. It’s found in vegetables, wheat bran, and whole grains.
Another way to think of fiber is fermentable vs. non-fermentable, referring to whether or not your good gut bacteria can eat it. Feeding your good gut bacteria is a great way to make sure your digestive system is strong in its immune defenses and promotes the production of nutrients such as the short-chain fatty acids propionate, acetate, and butyrate needed by the colon.
Not only that, but a high-fiber foods list for weight loss is practically an oxymoron. When losing weight, a list of useful foods invariably includes high-fiber foods, and a list of high-fiber foods also helps with weight loss.
Fiber can boost weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of satiety, which leads to fewer calories eaten throughout the day. Fiber also reduces blood sugar spikes after high-carb meals by slowing down digestion, thus decreasing your risk for developing diabetes. Soluble fiber can even help reduce your cholesterol levels, adding a layer of protection against heart disease.
Lest we forget: fiber’s most famous benefit is that it helps keep your bowel movements regular and comfortable, reducing instances of both constipation and diarrhea depending on which type of fiber you ingest.
Top 25 High-Fiber Vegetables and Plant Foods
Without further ado, here is your top 25 high-fiber foods list. Keep it handy to review the fibrous content of the top high-fiber vegetables and plant foods.
- 2% fiber content
These sweet, bright, delicious berries not only contain fiber, but also come loaded with antioxidants, the mineral manganese, and vitamin C. Toss them into smoothies or shakes, bake them into pies, or just eat them whole, all the while relishing the high fiber content for such a low-calorie snack.
- 2.2% fiber content
Spinach contains a fair amount of fiber, plus all the benefits of green, leafy vegetables like vitamins A and K. Easy to include in both heart-healthy smoothies and juices, spinach is a heavy-hitter in the nutrient department.
- 2.4% fiber content
Apples come in great variety and are wonderful sources of fiber. They also make for healthy snacks for kids, healthy shakes for adults, and classic pies to share with family and friends, especially around the holidays.
- 2.4% fiber content
Naturally sweet and full of antioxidants, blueberries are an easy addition to a high-fiber diet: consume them in handfuls, mix them with yogurt for breakfast, or combine them into beautifully colored nutritious smoothies.
- 2.5% fiber content
Full of beta-carotene for eye health and B vitamins, sweet potatoes not only serve as a healthier replacement for white spuds (sweet potato fries, anyone?), but also make for a great baked potato or a traditional pie at the holiday table. Keep the skin on and get even more nutrients for your plate.
- 2.6% fiber content
Famous for their potassium content, bananas are also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, folate, and fiber. While a greener banana contains more use fiber-wise (an unripe banana contains more resistant starch, an indigestible carb that works like fiber in the body), you can’t go wrong including bananas in beneficial smoothies or as a dessert replacement by blending frozen bananas into a healthy ice cream.
- 2.6% fiber content
A cruciferous vegetable that can also provide greens via its leaves, broccoli is an incredibly nutrient-dense food. With B vitamins, folate, potassium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese, broccoli also provides powerful antioxidants and is relatively high in protein for a vegetable.
- 2.6% fiber content
Another cruciferous vegetable with small, edible cabbage-like buds, Brussels sprouts contain anti-cancer antioxidants as well as potassium, folate, fiber, and vitamin K.
- 2.8% fiber content
Whether you go crunching on carrots like Bugs Bunny or enjoy making and drinking carrot juice, carrots are a root vegetable well known for promoting eye health with their beta-carotene content. In addition to a nice dose of fiber, carrots also bring you vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium, and a particular antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A by the body.
- 2.8% fiber content
Another high-fiber root vegetable steeped in nutrients like copper, iron, folate, manganese, and potassium, beets also come loaded with nitrates, which are known to help blood pressure regulation and athletic performance. Just keep in mind that if you consume a healthy amount of beets, their vibrant purplish-red color often shows up on the other end, often staining your urine—rest assured that you’re not bleeding internally, it’s just the beets!
- 2.8% fiber content
Here comes our first foray away from fruits and veggies—the ancient grain and pseudocereal quinoa. A popular health food and refined carb replacement, quinoa contains potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, protein for those who don’t eat meat or animal products, and antioxidants for fighting off free radical damage. Perfect in stews and soups, as a base to replace white rice, or as an easy addition to any recipe for its texture and nutrient content, quinoa makes for a fiber-rich base.
- 3.1% fiber content
A good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K, pears are sweet and mild. When it comes to fruit, the pear is one of the highest sources of fiber.
- 3.6% fiber content
One of the top phenomenal superfoods, kale has protein, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid often lacking in a Western diet. It’s pretty impressive in the fiber department too!
14. Kidney Beans
- 6.4% fiber content
Just like other legumes, kidney beans are full of plant-based protein and fiber, along with iron, folate, and manganese. Beans and legumes are excellent foods to help lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
- 6.5% fiber content
Strong in flavor and in nutrients, raspberries are full of manganese and vitamin C. Like other berries, raspberries are high-fiber fruits full of antioxidants, and are easily considered superfoods.
- 6.7% fiber content
Botanically classified as a single-seed berry and loaded with healthy fats, avocados are also full of various B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Buttery and versatile, spread avocados on toast, drop them into a smoothie, or bring them to a nutritious salad to make sure you’re meeting your fiber needs.
- 7.6% fiber content
Another legume just like black beans, lima beans, and edamame, chickpeas too are full of fiber, protein, folate, and manganese. Chickpeas are the main ingredient of the delicious dish hummus, and can be easily combined with many other recipes.
- 7.9% fiber content
Not only are they high in protein and fiber and incredibly nutritious, but lentils are also extremely affordable, making them a great boon to both your physical and financial health.
19. Split Peas
- 8.3% fiber content
Split peas are green peas that have been peeled and dried, and are a form of pea that can be stored long-term and prepared as needed for their fiber content. Try making split pea soup!
- 8.6% fiber content
With no fat, artichokes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and magnesium, all on top of their dietary fiber content.
- 10.6% fiber content
An excellent grain food for healthy eating, it’s easy to get daily fiber from oats with the many overnight oat recipes available. With vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the soluble fiber in oats, beta-glucan, is extremely beneficial to blood sugar and cholesterol control.
22. Dark Chocolate
- 10.9% fiber content
While it’s easy to think of chocolate as the processed candy that is milk chocolate, dark chocolate that is more full of cocoa content (70-95% ideally) is not only delicious, but is also full of antioxidants and nutrients. With as much fiber as 3.1 grams per ounce, skip the sugar, but keep the chocolate.
- 12.5% fiber content
A tree nut, almonds include vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and healthy fats in addition to their high percentage of fiber. Get some dark chocolate-covered almonds for the best of two high-fiber foods in one!
- 14.5% fiber content
Not just an empty snack, popcorn is an easy way to satiate food cravings if you’re trying to lose weight, plus there are many healthy toppings you can use instead of butter or salt. Filling, and filled with fiber, don’t just leave popcorn at the movie theater.
25. Chia Seeds
- 34.4% fiber content
For such small seeds, over 30% of each one brings you dietary fiber. Make chia seed puddings, include them in smoothies, or find them in granola bars. No matter how you consume chia seeds, they’ll provide you with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and a hefty dose of fiber.
Your body needs fiber to function optimally, and this list is by no means the end of the line. Dried fruits, other greens like Swiss chard and collard greens, any seed or nut you can find, and whole grains like brown rice and those found in whole wheat breads can provide ample fiber. For promoting weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, and aiding digestive comfort, meeting your daily fiber intake can do you a world of good.