12 High Fiber Foods Great for Healthy Digestion

When it comes to common health recommendations, eating more fiber may top the list.

It’s no wonder, as Americans are getting only about half the amount they need on average. To understand why this nutrient is so special, look no further than the impressive health benefits associated with it, as there are so many. And while there are loads of products and supplements boasting hefty amounts of fiber on the market, there’s an even larger amount of delicious whole food options to turn to for meeting your daily needs.

Read on to learn why fiber is beneficial for many aspects of well-being—from digestion and cholesterol levels to mental health and even longevity—plus, a roundup of high fiber foods to mix into your meals year-round.

What is fiber?

Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrient groups (alongside protein and fat), and are often categorized into two categories: simple carbohydrates, and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates include easy-to-metabolize options that tend to be more processed (or refined), such as desserts, chips, sugary beverages, and refined grains like white bread, pretzels, and rice. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, require more energy for your body to digest—this is mainly due to their high fiber content.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that can’t fully be broken down by the body. Many of its related health benefits (more on that in a minute) are related to this fact. Fiber itself is categorized into two main kinds: soluble and insoluble—and within these groups you’ll find many more types of fiber, each of which have their own benefits. Complex, fiber-rich carbohydrates encompass some of the healthiest foods in the diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that can’t fully be broken down by the body. Many of its related health benefits are related to this fact.

Health benefits of eating high fiber foods

There are so many notable health benefits associated with fiber. Here are the major take-home points:

Regulates blood sugar

When we eat high fiber foods, it takes much longer for the body to digest them compared to simple carbohydrates. Because of this, the blood sugar response is dulled when we eat these foods, helping to prevent big spikes and crashes in blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day. This is also why fiber-rich foods are such great options for those with cardiovascular concerns.

Reduces cholesterol

Another reason fiber is an excellent choice for those with heart conditions (or those who are looking to prevent them)? It can reduce your cholesterol. This is because when you eat soluble fiber in particular, it binds to dietary cholesterol in the small intestine, removing it from your body when you go to the bathroom instead of being absorbed into the blood. High cholesterol levels over long periods of time can lead to atherosclerosis, or clogging of the veins and arteries that can lead to heart disease.

Promotes digestive health

Both soluble and insoluble fiber supports healthy digestion in their own unique ways. Soluble fiber dissolves in water (and in the digestive tract) to form a gel which helps add bulk to stool to treat and prevent diarrhea. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber acts as “roughage” in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, moving food through our bodies, helping to address the opposite concern, constipation.

Supports a healthy gut microbiome

While we have gut health on the brain, fiber also boosts the vitality of our gut microbiome. Soluble fiber acts as prebiotic for our healthy gut bacteria in the biome. This colony of trillions of microorganisms living in our large intestine is responsible for far more than our digestive health, including brain health, immune health, and even chronic disease prevention—more than illustrating its importance.

Reduces cancer risk

Evidence tells us that consuming high fiber foods may also help to prevent a variety of cancers, including breast and colon cancer.

How much fiber to eat daily

So, how much fiber do you need everyday to reap these benefits? Well, the recommended daily intake for adult women is 25 grams and 38 grams for adult men.

Keep in mind, however, that these amounts decrease after age 50. Personally, I think that everyone should aim for at least 30 grams per day for maximum benefits. However, do keep in mind that if you aren’t used to eating this much fiber, a sudden increase in intake can result in GI upset, so be sure to go slow.

Finally, fiber needs water to carry out all of its important functions and move through the GI tract appropriately—so drink plenty of water with your high fiber foods, too.

Fiber needs water to carry out all of its important functions and move through the GI tract appropriately—so drink plenty of water with your high fiber foods.

12 high fiber foods

While the list of fiber-rich ingredients could truly go on for what seems like ever, here are some of the best food sources that are also super delicious.


Oats are a classic go-to when looking to up your fiber game, thanks to the nearly eight grams found in one cup dry. This breakfast favorite is also particularly high in soluble fiber, so it’s a great addition for those looking to lower their cholesterol.


Regardless of which kind of berry you choose, these irresistibly sweet fruits are packed with fiber. This is mainly due to their abundance of skins and seeds—the parts of fruits and vegetables where fiber is most concentrated. In one cup of raspberries and blackberries you’ll find about eight grams of fiber and about three grams in the same amount of blueberries and strawberries.


Outside of all the vitamins and minerals found in kale, the fiber in these leafy greens are a big part of what makes them so popular nowadays. With around five grams in one cup cooked, these greens are fantastic additions to pastas, egg dishes, casseroles, and more.


It may just be the fiber content of apples at the root of the famous saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” as these fruits are packed with the stuff. At around five grams per one medium apple, it’s no wonder these crunchy favorites make for such a satisfying snack. Be sure to leave the skin on for the most fiber bang for your buck.


Whether it’s beans, lentils, or peas, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many foods higher in fiber than legumes. In half a cup cooked there are nearly 10 grams of fiber in navy beans and green peas, eight grams in lentils and black beans, and six grams in chickpeas and kidney beans.


Beyond being an excellent source of healthy fats and protein, nuts also deliver on fiber. In terms of the most fiber-rich varieties, one ounce of almonds contains about four grams whereas chestnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, and hazelnuts contain around three. Opt for skin-on varieties where you can to boost the fiber content.


Just like their relative the nut, seeds are also chock full of fiber. In one ounce, you’ll find five grams in pumpkin seeds, four in chia, and three in sunflower and flax. These make for the perfect addition to a super satisfying smoothie or bowl of oatmeal.


When it comes to roughage, broccoli is one of the first foods that comes to mind for many. This is because this fibrous veggie boasts an impressive five grams per one cup cooked, helping you to meet your fiber goals that much easier.


Though often overlooked, pears have so much to offer in the way of vitamins and minerals, but are also especially high in fiber. One medium pear offers about six grams of the heart-healthy stuff and Asian pears offer almost seven!


Having gained lots of attention in recent years due to being one of the few plant-based complete proteins, quinoa is also a super healthy choice for its fiber content. In one cup cooked, you’ll find about five grams of fiber.


Many people wouldn’t guess avocado to be high in fiber given its creamy texture, but boy is it an excellent source with five grams in only half a cup. Combining both insoluble and soluble varieties, avocados can help address a number of health concerns while also being downright delicious (especially spread onto toast).

Whole wheat products

Finally, we have whole wheat products, whether it be pasta, bread, crackers or cereal. While wheat has gotten an undeserved bad rap over the years (sigh), it is actually full of vitamins, minerals, and (of course) fiber. While these stats will be brand dependent, you can expect about three grams in one ounce of whole wheat crackers or tortilla, up to six grams in shredded wheat cereal, and nearly seven grams in two ounces of whole wheat pasta. There are some standout products in this space when it comes to fiber, however. For example, in half a cup of dry GoodWheat pasta, you can find a whopping eight grams of fiber.

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