For something as essential as fiber, few of us get as much of it as we need. According to the FDA, if you eat 2000 calories in a day, then you need to get 28 grams of fiber in your diet. Unfortunately, most Americans fall short of that goal. An average American woman eats only 15 grams of fiber each day, while an average American man eats around 19. The reason for this is that most American stray very far from their natural diet. Instead of eating natural produce and whole grains, foods humans are supposed to be eating, we lean towards processed, refined foods that are completely stripped of their fiber. To improve how much fiber you’re eating, here are seven foods you definitely need to include into your diet.
One serving of pears (about one medium sized pear) contains around 5.5 grams of fiber. While this number is certainly astounding, it only holds true if you’re eating the pear with its skin. Leaving the skin on is also extremely important because this is where most of the nutrition in a pear comes from. If you’re peeling and discarding the skins, you’re losing out on all those vitamins and fiber.
Broccoli is one of the most maligned vegetables. Bur at 5.1 grams of fiber, it should be your new favorite food. Broccoli is one of the easiest and quickest vegetables to cook and can easily be a part of every meal you eat. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli also help you lower your risk for developing cancer. So if you shoved broccoli away as a child, it’s time to reunite with it.
A quarter cup of steel cut oats has as much as 5.1 grams of fiber. However, it’s important that you buy steel cut oats and not rolled oats. Whole oat groats which take a very long time to cook are steel cut into smaller bits which are easy to make. This is why steel cut oats have almost as much as actual oat groats. Rolled oats on the other hand, are flattened and lose much of their fiber content in the process.
4. Whole Grain Bread
If you can’t go a day without eating bread, then making the switch from white bread to whole grain bread could add a ton of extra fiber to your day. One slice of whole grain bread contains as much as 5 grams of fiber, but many brands these days have even more than this. But while multigrain and whole grain breads might seem interchangeable, try to stick to whole grain. Multigrain bread just has a bunch of different grains added, they might not necessarily be whole grain.
If you need a mid-morning snack to get you through the day, make it almonds. A quarter cup of almonds (a small handful) contain 4.5 grams of fiber. However, if you roast your almonds first, you lose a few grams of fiber in the process. When you’re buying a packet of almonds, make sure it says it’s raw, unpeeled and unsalted.
Bulgur isn’t very commonly used in America, but it’s extremely popular in the Middle East. Bulgur needs to be boiled in water until it softens a little bit, which usually takes around 15 minutes. It makes an excellent addition to any salad because it bulks it up, while adding a nutty texture to it. Toss a cup of bulgur with finely chopped cucumber, chickpeas, onions, fresh herbs and dress it with a simple vinaigrette for a fresh, zesty salad.
7. Dried Figs
Each dried fig contains about 1 gram of fiber while a quarter cup of figs contains 3.7 grams. For a quick snack on-the-go, mix a couple of dried figs along with almonds and cashew nuts for a fiber-fueled tasty treat. Try not to eat too many figs at one go though, because they have more sugar than regular figs.