Your gut needs help to move and remove the waste in your digestive system. That’s where fiber can help. You can get good sources of fiber from food you already eat. The dietary fiber you get from supplements, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in your daily diet doesn’t just keep you regular. Some fiber, like psyllium, can also give you important health benefits.
Keep reading to learn about high fiber foods, fiber supplements, types of fiber, and daily recommended fiber intake.
How Much Fiber Do You Need Every Day?
The recommended daily fiber intake is 28 grams, with variations based on age and gender. However, most Americans consume only about 16 grams each day. The reality: Less than 5% of Americans get enough daily fiber.
What can you expect if you don’t eat enough fiber? In the short-term you might occasionally feel constipated and sluggish. But over time, a diet consistently low in fiber may increase your risk for more serious issues, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you have any concerns, reach out to your healthcare provider.
A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of whole plant foods is the best way to get all of the nutrients your body needs to function at its best, including fiber. But that’s not always possible with our day-to-day busy, demanding schedules.
Fiber supplements like Metamucil can help increase your daily fiber intake. One serving of Metamucil’s Sugar Free and Real Sugar Powders give you 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving. New Metamucil users should start with one serving per day, and gradually increase to desired daily intake.
30 High Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet
You may already be eating high fiber foods every day. Or you may find that some foods you eat have delicious high fiber food alternatives. But do you know if you’re reaching the 28 grams of daily recommended fiber intake, every day? This high-fiber food guide can help you determine how much fiber you are getting. Taking Metamucil every day can also help ensure you get the recommended amount of daily fiber along with the high-fiber foods you add to your diet.
1. Broccoli Flowerets
It takes about 9 cups of broccoli flowerets to reach the daily recommended fiber intake. High in sulforaphane, broccoli also adds 3.2 grams of fiber per cup. And it’s low in calories, so add an extra helping of broccoli to help reach your fiber goals.
2. Brussels sprouts
These mini cabbages can be boiled, broiled, pan fried, or sliced up raw in a brussels sprout slaw. With 4 grams of fiber per cup, it takes about 7 cups of brussels sprouts to reach the daily recommended fiber intake.
Have you ever seen 83 asparagus spears on one plate? Probably not, unless it’s a family-style meal. That’s how many raw asparagus spears it takes to hit the 28 grams of fiber recommended for your diet. As an alternative to steamed asparagus try adding thinly sliced raw asparagus spears to salads or sandwiches for a sweet, crunchy flavor.
Artichokes taste great on pizza, paired with spinach in a delicious vegetable dip, or steamed to perfection. But can you eat 4 artichokes in a day?
5. Acorn squash
Simply cut out the stem, scoop the seeds and bake until tender. Or prepare stuffed acorn squash using wild rice, quinoa, or ground beef. You’ll need to eat about 3 cups of acorn squash to reach your fiber goals.
6. Green peas
With 9 grams of fiber per cup, help yourself to bigger helpings to add more fiber to your diet. You’ll need about 3 cups of green peas to get the daily recommended fiber intake. Flavorful and healthy, green peas are a great source of iron, manganese, and vitamins A and C.
7. Turnip greens
An excellent source of beta carotene and vitamin K, turnip greens have a mild flavor. They can be used like spinach and other leafy greens, blended into green smoothies, or juiced. It takes about 5.5 cups of turnip greens to reach your fiber goals.
Lightly steamed carrots will release more of their beta carotene, but, whether you enjoy them raw or cooked, you’ll get all the benefits of 4.68 grams of fiber in each cup. It takes about 6 cups of carrots to reach the daily recommended fiber intake.
Riced cauliflower is a popular low-carb alternative to starchy vegetables and can be made into pizza crust and chips. It’s great way to add fiber to your diet, but it may not get you to the 28 grams of daily recommended fiber every day. That would mean eating about 8.5 cups of cooked cauliflower, every day.
Whether in guacamole, on toast, or in salads, avocados are widely enjoyed for their rich, creamy flavor and healthy fats. With 9 grams of fiber per medium-size avocado, it would take about 3 avocados to reach your daily recommended fiber intake.
Apples are particularly high in a type of soluble fiber called pectin. At 4.4 grams per apple, it takes about 7 apples to get your daily recommended fiber. That’ll take quite a while to slice.
Strawberries are also a great source of vitamin C. Slice a few into your next salad for next-level flavor and fiber. You may need to supplement with other high-fiber foods or supplements like Metamucil—it takes about 6 cups of strawberries to reach 28 grams, the daily recommended fiber intake.
Can you eat 9 bananas in a day? One of the most versatile fruits and a perennial favorite, a medium-size banana provides 3 grams of fiber. Bananas are filling and a great way to add some fiber to a meal or snack.
About two cups of raspberries a day gets you the daily fiber you need. They’re a delicious treat all by themselves, baked into your favorite dessert recipe, or blended in a smoothie.
Nuts & Seeds
A 1 oz. serving of almonds contains 3 grams of fiber. Try sprinkling some over cooked vegetables or entrees to add crunchy, flavorful fiber. It takes about 1 cup of almonds to hit your daily recommended fiber. Almond butter also contains fiber, but almond milk does not.
About 1 cup of pecans can get you to your daily recommended fiber. Pecans also contain zinc, beta carotene and other essential nutrients. Top a salad with toasted pecans or add some to your favorite homemade baked goods.
Your go-to PB&J is not just a favorite comfort food, it also provides a good amount of fiber, especially when you pair it with whole grain bread. It takes about 1 cup of roasted, unsalted peanuts to reach 28 grams.
Touted for their heart-healthy omega-3 fats, walnuts can also help you reach your fiber goals if you eat about 2 cups each day. Sprinkle on cereals and salads or blend some into your smoothie.
19. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a super-food well worth adding to your diet. High in soluble fiber, they’re a great thickener for smoothies or used as a crunchy topping for yogurt. Each tablespoon provides 4 grams of fiber.
20. Navy beans
Navy beans are used in baked beans and soups. About 1.5 cups of cooked navy beans will get you to the 28 grams per day recommended. Or, make your bean recipes a little “extra” by substituting navy beans for other types.
21. Split peas
About 1.5 cups of cooked split peas gets you to the 28 grams of daily recommended fiber. Split peas can be used as more than just soup. They also make a great hummus-like spread or base for a curry dish.
22. Pinto beans
Creamy, delicious pintos are the bean of choice for making refried beans or burritos. Pintos are also great as the base for veggie burgers. About 2 cups of cooked pinto beans will get you to the daily recommended fiber intake.
23. Kidney beans
Kidney beans are a favorite in chili recipes because they hold their shape through long cooking times and high heat without getting mushy. One cup contains 13.1 grams of fiber, so eat about 2 cups of kidney beans to reach your daily recommended fiber intake.
With 7.5 grams of fiber per cup, they offer modest amounts of fiber compared to other legumes. You’ll need about 3.5 cups of cooked soybeans to reach the daily recommended fiber intake.
Whether you choose red, yellow, brown or green, lentils are an excellent source of fiber. With 15.6 grams per cup, you’ll need about 2 cups of cooked lentils to reach the daily recommended fiber intake. Lentils are great in all kinds of soups or as the base for veggie burgers.
Does your barley consumption amount to a few bowls of soup in the winter? About 2 cups of cooked barley per day will get you your daily recommended fiber intake. Try adding more of this tender, chewy high-fiber grain in roasted vegetables or as a pilaf.
27. Whole grain pasta
If you’re a pasta lover choosing whole grain varieties could add up to considerable fiber benefits. One cup provides 5.46 grams of fiber, more than twice that of white pasta. To reach your daily recommended fiber intake, you’ll need about 5 cups of cooked whole grain pasta, which could take up a big portion of the recommended amount of carbs or other nutrients.
Quinoa is loaded with protein, and with 5.18 grams of fiber per cup, provides 40% more fiber than brown rice. But it still takes about 5.5 cups of cooked quinoa to hit the daily recommended fiber intake. Add quinoa to your weekly dinner rotation or stir in cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat.
Great as a cooked cereal, or baked in cookies, muffins, or granola, oatmeal is particularly high in heart-healthy soluble fiber. With 4 grams of fiber per cup, it takes about 7 cups of oats to hit 28 grams.
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy snack—but it’ll take you 1.5 gallons of popcorn to get the daily recommended fiber intake. Top it with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor or experiment with your favorite herbs and spices.
Not All Fibers Are Equal – The Different Types of Fiber and What They Do for Your Body
Dietary fiber is divided into two main categories, each has its own characteristics and health benefits. All types of fiber pass through your digestive system without being digested or absorbed into the bloodstream:
Insoluble fiber type is made of large, coarse particles. It doesn’t dissolve in water. Intestinal bacteria can digest insoluble fiber to a limited degree through fermentation. If you consume large quantities, it may act as a mild laxative by irritating the intestinal lining. Wheat bran is an example of insoluble fiber and most fibrous foods have a component that is insoluble.
Soluble, nonviscous, fermentable: This type of fiber dissolves but doesn’t thicken or add bulk to the stool, so this fiber is not effective for use as a laxative supplement. It’s easily fermented, which is great for promoting healthy intestinal flora. However, fermentation can produce excess gas, leading to flatulence. Examples include inulin and dextrin.
Soluble Viscous non-gel-forming and non-fermentable: This type of fiber mixes evenly in water. Since it is not fermented and is present in stool it does help to increase stool contents. Examples include Calcium Polycarbophil and Methyl-cellulose.
Soluble, viscous, gel-forming and fermentable: This type of fiber expands in water to form a thick gel. This slows digestion and absorption of food and sugar. It also traps cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed. However, bacteria consume it, reducing its gel formation, so this fiber is not useful as a laxative. Beta glucan is an example and is what gives oats and barley their delightfully thick, chewy texture. Guar gum, from the guar bean, is used as a commercial food thickener.
Soluble, viscous, gel forming and non-fermentable: This type of fiber forms a gel, adding water and bulk to the stool, but cannot be consumed by intestinal bacteria, so doesn’t cause excess flatulence. It also helps lower blood sugar* and cholesterol levels.† This fiber is ideal as a supplement. It is found in the fiber in Metamucil, psyllium.
What Is Psyllium, the Fiber in Metamucil?
Psyllium fiber, like the fiber found in Metamucil, is a soluble, viscous, gel-forming fiber that doesn’t ferment. Not fermenting means that minimal gas is released, which helps it remain in your gut to trap and remove the waste that weighs you down.* In addition to helping with occasional constipation, studies on psyllium husk have revealed other benefits, including lowering cholesterol to promote heart health,† helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels,* and extending feelings of fullness after eating.*
Regardless of what your source of fiber is, you should talk to your doctor and discuss how much fiber is right for you. Adding fiber too quickly can lead to gas or bloating. You should add fiber gradually over a few weeks to let your body adjust. Remember to drink plenty of water when adding a fiber supplement.
Sources (Accessed May 2020)
- Harvard Health, "Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods to Foster Heart Health”
- USDA Food Data Central
- Nutrition Today, “Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Benefits, Part 1”
- Medicine Plus, “Dietary Fiber”
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2016), “Is Dietary Fiber Considered an Essential Nutrient?”
*THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.
†Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fiber per day from psyllium husk, as in Metamucil, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. One serving of Metamucil has 2.4 grams of this soluble fiber. One serving of Metamucil capsules has at least 1.8 grams of this soluble fiber.
**Survey of 291 adults who self-reported that they felt lighter and more energetic after completing the Metamucil Two Week Challenge.
^P&G calculation based in part on data reported by Nielsen through its ScanTrack Service for the Digestive Health category for the 52-week period ending 04/27/19, for the total U.S. market, xAOC, according to the P&G custom product hierarchy. Copyright © 2019, The Nielsen Company.