High fiber foods

Healthiest high fiber foods

Pawel Malczewski
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Short introduction

In the U.S. the average daily dietary fiber intake is only 16 grams (1)Hoy MK, Goldman RD, Goldman JD. Fiber intake of the U.S. population. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. FSRG Dietary Data Brief – September 2014. Available here., while the recommendation for daily intake of fiber is 38 grams for adult men and 25 grams for adult women. A significant percentage (in total 46%) of this intake comes from foods with a high glycemic index and load: bread products 12%, grain-based mixed dishes 9% and cereals 8% (read more..). These foods tend to cause insulin resistance and, therefore, are unsuitable for diabetics and also are not recommended for people with heart conditions.

This article presents a list of the highest fiber foods that are at the same time super nutritious, provide a wide range of health benefits, and are incredibly valuable in your diet.

To improve your health, consider replacing bread, grains and cereals products for the following fiber superfoods.

A diet high in fiber has many health benefits such as: (2)Hoy MK, Goldman RD, Goldman JD. Fiber intake of the U.S. population. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. FSRG Dietary Data Brief – September 2014. Available here.

  • Improves gastrointestinal function by forming a bulk in the intestine, helping relieve constipation
  • Reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (read more..)
  • Creates a feeling of fullness after eating and may be used in weight loss or management programs (read more..)
  • Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and improves blood glucose management in diabetics
  • May reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer (read more..)

The following nutritional information was calculated using:

NOTE: Some foods, such as popcorn, and sweet potatoes were excluded from this list since they have a medium to high glycemic load and therefore, should be eaten in moderation.

Comparing the amount of fiber in foods is not easy. This can be done using the percentage of fiber content in foods or the amount of fiber in a typical serving. Both calculations are provided for each food, however, neither method is ideal for the following reasons:

  • Percentage/amount of fiber contents per 100g – although it gives a good indication of the fiber density in each food, it is not a practical comparison since it assumes the same serving sizes. While it is normal to have 100 grams of broccoli in one sitting, 100 grams of flaxseeds would be hard to digest or may provide too much of certain nutrients.
  • Amount of fiber per typical serving – although more practical, it is not ideal since the typical serving size varies between individuals. For instance, one person may like to sprinkle a teaspoon of sesame seeds on their breakfast cereal, while another regularly consumes hummus with a high proportion of tahini (made of sesame seeds).

What are the common features that make these high fiber foods list special?

The following list presents the highest fiber foods on the planet. All of these foods have a high ratio of fiber to carbohydrates and a high concentration of micro-nutrients and antioxidants. Each of them also has specific health promoting components that makes it unique.

Note on high starch foods

Although high in fiber, foods such as bulgur and spelt are not included in the list since they are also high in starch. While many studies prove that whole grains are beneficial for type 2 diabetes, heart health, prevention of colon cancer and even weight maintenance, the use of grains remains quite controversial due to contradicting studies showing that a diet high in starches (such as high cereal grain diet) lead to insulin resistance and support a high fat, and low carbohydrate diet.

Grains, due to their high starch content, are definitely not suitable for low carbohydrate diets and for carbohydrate sensitive people. Small amounts of bulgur and spelt may be not harmful, but this list only focuses on high fiber foods that are at the same time exceptionally healthy and comply with a low carbs diet.

Note on the best fiber supplements

The best and most effective fiber supplements are psyllium husk and slippery bark elm. Psyllium husk is the best way to relieve constipation and slippery bark elm has both anti-diarrheal and anti-constipation properties.

List of high fiber foods

Highest fiber foods

 

Highest in fiber nuts and seeds

1. CHIA SEEDS

Fiber contents per 100g: 37.9g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1oz – 28g): 10.6g
– RDA for men: 35.3%
– RDA for women: 42.4%
Excellent source of: Omega 3; Iron; Magnesium; Manganese; Phosphorus.
Good source of: Omega 6; Thiamin (Vitamin B1); Niacin (Vitamin B3); Calcium; Copper; Zinc.

Health properties

p0129_chia_seeds_mine_smallChia seeds are considered to be a superfood since they have a high density of nutrients and are the best source of omega 3 fatty acids. When soaked, they swell into tiny gel-like balls and can hold about 10 times their dry weight as liquid. Chia seeds can be eaten whole – its nutrients are well absorbed and don’t need to be grounded for digestion and absorption. Grounding reduces its shelf life.

Culinary suggestions
Chia seeds have a mild flavor, making them a very versatile food, suitable for wide range of recipes. You can sprinkle them on cereals, salads or any other meal.  They are a great addition to smoothies and thanks to its gel-like forming properties, chia seeds can be used to make puddings, thicken sauces and soups or as a replacement for eggs in some recipes. For a fun and refreshing drink, add a teaspoon of chia seeds to water with lemon and ice for about 15 minutes before drinking.

2. FLAXSEEDS

Fiber contents per 100g: 27.1g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1 oz. – 28g): 7.6g
– RDA for men: 25.3%
– RDA for women: 30.4%
Excellent source of: omega 3; thiamin (vitamin B6); copper; iron; magnesium; manganese.
Good source of: omega 6; phosphorus; selenium; zinc.

Health properties

p0689_flaxseeds_mineFlaxseeds are considered to be a superfood for its high omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and nutrient contents. They are useful in weight loss, since they reduce the appetite and relieve diarrhea and constipation. Flaxseeds have anti-inflammatory properties, are great for heart health, diabetes and help reduce inflammation, blood cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure. Flaxseeds are linked with a reduced risk of developing cancer.

Culinary suggestions

Flaxseeds have a stronger taste than chia seeds and so may not be as suitable in certain dishes (although it is a matter of preference). The best ways of using flaxseeds are to sprinkle them in salads, fried eggs or French toast, or to add them to baked products, muesli/yogurt, fruit salads, breakfast cereals, smoothies or protein shakes. Flaxseeds can be used as egg substitutes or to coat cooked foods, such as chicken breast.

3. ALMONDS

Fiber contents per 100g: 12.1g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1 oz. – 28g): 3.4g
– RDA for men: 11.3%
– RDA for women: 13.6%
Excellent source of: omega 6; vitamin E; riboflavin (vitamin B2); copper; magnesium; manganese.
Good source of: iron; phosphorus.

Health properties

almendraAlmonds are very high in antioxidants, and micronutrients.
The benefits of eating almonds are: improved blood sugar control, reduction in oxidative stress to the cell membranes, lowering LDL cholesterol and preventing it to be oxidized and reducing blood pressure. It is also great for weigh loss by reducing appetite due to its high fiber and protein contents. Almonds are good for diabetics and for optimal heart health.

Culinary suggestions

Besides nibbling on almonds, they can be added to desserts, granola, breakfast cereals and fruit salads. Homemade almond milk is easy to make – blend almonds with water. Almond butter can also be made (blend them with a little oil). Almonds can be used in baking (cakes, breads, pastry, biscuits), or in dips or added to stir fry, Thai curries (e.g. toasted almonds), salads and smoothies (as almond butter/milk). Toast almonds for more pronounced taste and crunchiness.

4. SESAME SEEDS

Fiber contents per 100g: 11.8g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1 oz. – 28g): 3.3g
– RDA for men: 11.0%
– RDA for women: 13.2%
Excellent source of: omega 6; calcium; copper; iron; magnesium; manganese; zinc.
Good source of: thiamin (vitamin B1); vitamin B6; phosphorus.

Health properties

Black white and red sesame backgroundSesame seeds have the highest concentration of cholesterol phytosterol of all nuts and seeds. Phytosterols are associated with lowering blood cholesterol, enhancing immune response and reducing the risk of developing some cancers.
Sesame seeds’ high concentration of minerals may be beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis (copper), respiratory and cardiovascular health (magnesium) and osteoporosis (calcium and zinc).

Culinary suggestions

Sesame seeds have many culinary applications. Halva is the most sesame rich food. Home-made halva contains much less sugar than halva products you can find in the supermarkets which often have over 50% sugar. If you like halva, blend 80% of sesame seeds and a maximum 20% of honey and rose water for taste and form a block or snack size pieces.
Sesame seeds can be used for stir fries in many Asian recipes, sauces, coating of fish or chicken, hummus, sprinkled on salads, breakfast cereals, baked products (breads, pastry) and, of course, desserts.

5. WALNUTS

Fiber contents per 100g: 6.8g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1 oz. – 28g): 1.9g
– RDA for men: 6.3%
– RDA for women: 7.6%
Excellent source of: omega 3; omega 6; copper; manganese.
Good source of: vitamin B6; magnesium; zinc.

Health properties

Orzechy włoskie na drewnianym stoleWalnuts are the richest omega 3 nut and contain a unique composition of unsaturated fats, proteins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. This combination has a beneficial impact on health.
Walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties and help in cholesterol reduction. Regular consumption of walnuts is associated with a reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and cancer, an improved brain function and a reduction in visceral fat. Walnuts are a great food for diabetics.

Culinary suggestions

The most common usage of walnuts is to nibble on them as a morning or mid-afternoon snack. They can also be used in desserts (e.g. ice-creams), in pieces on top of your breakfast cereal or granola, in baking (cakes, breads, pastry, biscuits), in dips or sauces (e.g. pesto sauce), in soups (e.g. sprinkle on top of creamy celeriac soup) and added to salads and smoothies (as nut butter or nut milk). Blend walnuts to make homemade walnut nut milk or walnut butter.

Highest in fiber legumes

BEANS

1. NAVY BEANS

Fiber contents per 100g: 10.5g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 91g): 9.6g
– RDA for men: 32.0%
– RDA for women: 38.4%
Excellent source of: folate; copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: omega 3; thiamin (vitamin B1); vitamin B6; magnesium; phosphorus; potassium; zinc.

2. PINTO BEANS

Fiber contents per 100g: 9.1g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 85g): 7.7g
– RDA for men: 25.7%
– RDA for women: 30.8%
Excellent source of: folate; copper, iron; manganese.
Good source of: thiamin (Vitamin B1); vitamin B6; magnesium, phosphorus, potassium; zinc.

3. BLACK BEANS

Fiber contents per 100g: 8.7g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 86g): 7.5g
– RDA for men: 25.0%
– RDA for women: 30.0%
Excellent source of: folate; copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: thiamin (vitamin B1); magnesium; phosphorus; potassium; zinc.

4. KIDNEY BEANS

Fiber contents per 100g: 7.5g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 88g): 6.6g
– RDA for men: 22.0%
– RDA for women: 26.4%
Excellent source of: folate; copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: vitamin K; thiamin (vitamin B1); magnesium; phosphorus, potassium; zinc.

5. ADZUKI BEANS

Fiber contents per 100g: 7.3g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 100g): 7.3g
– RDA for men: 24.3%
– RDA for women: 29.2%
Excellent source of: folate; copper; iron; manganese; zinc.
Good source of: magnesium; phosphorus, potassium.

6. LIMA BEANS

Fiber contents per 100g: 7.0g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 94g): 6.6g
– RDA for men: 22.0%
– RDA for women: 26.4%
Excellent source of: copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: thiamin (vitamin B1); vitamin B6; folate; magnesium; phosphorus, potassium; zinc.

7. SOYBEANS

Fiber contents per 100g: 6.0g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 86g): 5.2g
– RDA for men: 17.3%
– RDA for women: 20.8%
Excellent source of: omega 3; omega 6; vitamin K; riboflavin (vitamin B2); copper; iron; magnesium; manganese; phosphorus.
Good source of: thiamin (vitamin B1); vitamin B6; folate; potassium; selenium; zinc.

Health properties

Seamless texture with legumes on black background

Beans are the least expensive source of proteins and fiber and are rich in a wide variety of micro-nutrients and antioxidants. They digest slowly and a standard serving has a low glycemic load, making them a heart and diabetes – friendly food. Beans are also associated with lowering blood pressure and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.  Since they are rich in protein and fiber, beans are great in suppressing hunger and for weight control.

Culinary suggestions

Beans are good for stews, soups, curries, casseroles, salads and side dishes. They can either be blended to thicken soups or added whole to food. Beans should be soaked overnight before cooking. Cooked beans can be stored in the freezer for later use. Beans should not be cooked in acid, such as tomato sauce, since they will not soften up. The cooking time depends on the type of bean.

8. LENTILS

Fiber contents per 100g: 7.9g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 99g): 7.8g
– RDA for men: 26.0%
– RDA for women: 31.2%
Excellent source of: folate; copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: thiamin (vitamin B6); pantothenic acid (vitamin B5); vitamin B6; magnesium; phosphorus; potassium; zinc.

Health properties

Whole green and refined red lentils in wooden spoon and glass jar on linen sackcloth

Lentils are low in calories, very rich in micro-nutrients and in both soluble and insoluble fiber and great for constipation relief. Like beans, lentils have cholesterol lowering properties, and help regulate the blood glucose level, making them a heart and diabetes – friendly food. Lentils are a great source of steady release of energy, without causing spikes in the blood sugar level. Being rich in iron, lentils are great for menstruating, pregnant or lactating women and also vegetarians.

Culinary suggestions

Lentils are quick and easy to prepare. Unlike beans, lentils don’t require soaking before cooking and cook much faster. Cooked lentils are about 3 times the size of dry lentils and easily absorb the flavors of the seasoning. Lentils can be used in soups, salads, curries and as a side dish instead of grains (such as rice).

9. CHICKPEAS

Fiber contents per 100g: 7.7g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 82g): 6.3g
– RDA for men: 21.0%
– RDA for women: 25.2%
Excellent source of: folate; copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: magnesium; phosphorus; zinc.

Health properties

ceci in primo pianoThey are considered to be meat for vegetarians due to their high protein content. Consumption of chickpeas is associated with improving the blood glucose profile and reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, digestive issues and some cancers. Chickpeas also suppress appetite and are useful in weight loss.

Culinary suggestions

Hummus is one of the most well-known chickpea based foods. The culinary applications, however, are vast. They can be used in salads, dips, roasted in spices and used as a snack, cooked in curries, soups, falafels, pastas, risottos, loafs, veggie burgers, served with fried eggs, desserts such as granola bars, cookies, pies etc. Chickpeas are a great substitute to high glycemic index carbohydrate accompaniments, such as white rice or potatoes.

10. GREEN PEAS / SPLIT PEAS

Fiber contents per 100g: 5.5g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 80g): 4.4g
– RDA for men: 14.7%
– RDA for women: 17.6%
Excellent source of: vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamin K; copper; manganese.
Good source of: thiamin (vitamin B1); niacin (vitamin B3); vitamin B6; folate; iron; zinc.

Health properties

Collection of fresh green peaSplit peas are the dried version of green peas and although they have similar nutrients and health properties they can vary in culinary applications. The high protein contents make them a great food for vegetarians or as an animal product substitute. Green peas are high in phytochemicals of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. These properties combined with a low glycemic index and a high fiber to carbohydrate ratio makes it a perfect food for a healthy heart and diabetics. Being a great source of protein and carotenoid phytonutrients, green peas promote vision and eye health.

Culinary suggestions

Green peas can be eaten raw, as addition to salads or quiches. They have to be boiled for a few minutes to retain their crispiness and can be added to just about any savory dishes. Cooked and mashed green peas are also great to accompany foods, such as salmon or chicken.

Split peas can be used similarly to lentils.

Highest in fiber cereal grains

Note: only oats are included in the cereal grains section since they have exceptional health properties, and can be considered as the healthiest grain. Although spelt and bulgur are also high in fiber, they are considered to be high starch grains, which are not advisable in low carb diets which this site promotes. The foods listed in this article are not only high in fiber but also have tremendous health properties and don’t need to be restricted to the extent of cereal grains.

1. OATS

Fiber contents per 100g: 10.1g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 40.5g): 4.1g
– RDA for men: 13.7%
– RDA for women: 16.4%
Excellent source of: copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: thiamin (vitamin B1); pantothenic acid (vitamin B5); magnesium; phosphorus; selenium; zinc.

Health properties

oatmeal and oatOats provide a long lasting, sustained energy flow, keeping your blood sugar low. They are one of the healthiest foods and the healthiest carbohydrate food you can have with many proven health properties. Although they contain a high amount of carbohydrates, they also have high fiber amounts and are reasonably rich in protein. Their high soluble fiber content makes them useful for constipation relief.

Oats are known to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol lowering foods. It has been shown that it is a unique carbohydrate food recommended for diabetics due to its blood glucose lowering properties. Oats are a perfect ingredient for breakfast, supplying plenty of sustained energy (without making you feel heavy) for 3-4 hours without causing spikes in blood sugar levels.

Culinary suggestions

The best use for oats is in a healthy breakfast. Boil oats in water and mix them with fruit, nuts, seeds and full cream yogurt (or other variations). Oats can be toasted, used as part of granola, added to baked desserts, breads and smoothies to make them more nutritious and fiber rich.

Highest in fiber vegetables

1. ARTICHOKES

Fiber contents per 100g: 8.6g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 84g): 7.2g
– RDA for men: 24.0%
– RDA for women: 28.8%
Excellent source of:
Good source of: vitamin C; vitamin K; folate; copper; magnesium; manganese.

Health properties

artichoke garnish with saladArtichokes are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals (cynarin, gallic acid, quercetin and rutin). The consumption of artichokes is associated with the reduction of risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and improving digestive system problems. They may be useful in cancer risk reduction.

Culinary suggestions

Artichoke hearts are, on average, not a commonly used food, but have many uses: cooked with some mayonnaise, in risottos, dips or pasta dishes, roasted, stuffed, marinated, used on sandwiches, salads or soups. They may be a little harder to prepare than other vegetables, but are absolutely worth it for their great taste and, more importantly, their antioxidants and fiber contents.

2. AVOCADO

Fiber contents per 100g: 6.7g
Fiber contents per typical serving (small – 100g): 6.7g
– RDA for men: 22.3%
– RDA for women: 26.8%
Excellent source of: vitamin c; vitamin E; vitamin K; pantothenic acid (vitamin B5); vitamin B6, folate; copper.
Good source of: niacin (vitamin B3); potassium.

Health properties

AvocadoOne of the main features of avocadoes is the very high monounsaturated fat content and antioxidants. Avocados are useful in weight loss since they reduce appetite. Eating avocados helps in the reduction of inflammation, blood cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides. It is associated with the reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and is a great food for diabetics due to the high fiber to carbohydrate ratio and low glycemic index.

Culinary suggestions

Avocadoes have a creamy, fatty texture and are not sweet, making them very unique in culinary applications. Guacamole is probably the most well-known dish containing avocadoes. Avocados can also be used in smoothies, as spreads, in salads, side dishes, soups, sandwiches, burritos, tacos, sushi rolls, desserts and, to many people’s surprise, ice-cream!

3. ACORN (WINTER) SQUASH

Fiber contents per 100g: 4.4g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 102.5g): 4.5g
– RDA for men: 15.0%
– RDA for women: 18.0%
Excellent source of: vitamin C.
Good source of: vitamin A; thiamin (vitamin B1); pantothenic acid (vitamin B5); vitamin B6; copper; iron; magnesium; manganese; potassium.

Health properties

freshly baked and juicy slices of pumpkinWinter squash is very high in carotenoid antioxidants. It is also loaded with compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and insulin regulating properties. Winter squash is a safe food for heart health and suitable for diabetics, but in moderation since it has large percentage of starch and large amounts may increase the glycemic load.

Culinary suggestions

Winter squash can be used as the main salad ingredient (cooked and cubed), roasted with herbs and spices, glazed and roasted with spices, blended and used in squash soup, made into a puree for accompaniment with the proteins, stuffed with tasty filling (e.g. herbed wild rice and tomato) and used in lasagna, pizza, curries or stews.

4. PARSNIPS

Fiber contents per 100g: 3.6g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 78g): 2.8g
– RDA for men: 9.3%
– RDA for women: 11.2%
Excellent source of: vitamin C.
Good source of: pantothenic acid (vitamin B5); folate; copper; manganese; potassium.

Health properties

parsnipParsnips are high in phytonutrients and poly-acetylene anti-oxidants.
These compounds have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties (especially colon and acute lymphoblastic leukemia). Being high in vitamin C parsnips are helpful in maintaining the health of connective tissue, gums and teeth.

Culinary suggestions

Parsnips can be used instead of potatoes in hash browns recipes, blended with other vegetables (e.g. cauliflower), into creamy soups, roasted and added to salads, used in a vegetable roasted platter, added to curries, stews, used with dips, and even made into desserts (e.g. cakes).

5. TURNIP GREENS

Fiber contents per 100g: 3.5g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1 cup – 144g): 5.0g
– RDA for men: 16.7%
– RDA for women: 20.0%
Excellent source of: vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamin E; vitamin K; vitamin B6; folate; copper; manganese.
Good source of: calcium; iron; potassium.

Health properties

fresh green turnip on the white backgroundTurnip greens contain one of the highest concentration of glucosinolates –phytonutrients, with cancer preventing properties, of all cruciferous vegetables.
They have detoxifying effects due to their sulfur-containing compounds and antioxidant properties thanks to its high concentration of vitamins C, E, manganese, beta carotene and phytonutrients. Its anti-inflammatory effects come from the unusually high amounts of vitamin K (also great for bone health) and significant omega 3 contents. Turnip greens are also great for heart health and diabetes, and may be beneficial in preventing helicobacter pylori overgrowth in the stomach and in eye health.

Culinary suggestions

Turnip greens can be used in a similar way as other green leafy vegetables: in soups, casseroles, stews, dips and my favorite – smoothies.

6. BROCCOLI

Fiber contents per 100g: 3.3g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 78g): 2.6g
– RDA for men: 8.7%
– RDA for women: 10.4%
Excellent source of: vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamin K; folate.
Good source of: vitamin E; pantothenic acid (vitamin B5); vitamin B6; manganese.

Health properties

Fresh green broccoli on wooden backgroundBroccoli is rich in a wide range of antioxidants and exceptionally high in sulphoraphane – a cancer protective compound. Sulphoraphane is most abundant in broccoli sprouts.

Broccoli contains compounds that reduce inflammation, insulin resistance and oxidative stress, and strengthen the immune system. The consumption of broccoli is associated with a reduced risk of breast, gastric, pancreatic and prostate cancers.  Broccoli contains compounds of cholesterol lowering properties, and eye protective carotenoids.

Culinary suggestions

Blanched, stir-fried or steamed broccoli may be used in cold salads, casseroles, vegetable platters, dips, curries, frittatas, quiches or soups. Broccoli is great as a roasted vegetables or sprinkled with spices and deep fried. It is also a great thickener for soups or sauces. Replace carbohydrate accompaniments, such as white rice or potatoes, with steamed or stir fried broccoli florets.

7. SPINACH

Fiber contents per 100g: 2.6g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 90g): 1.8g
– RDA for men: 6.0%
– RDA for women: 7.2%
Excellent source of: vitamin A; vitamin C; manganese.
Good source of: folate; calcium; copper.

Health properties

set of vegetable grains and herbs on white backgroundSpinach is rich in carotenoids and in over a dozen anti-inflammatory and cancer protective flavonoids. The consumption of spinach is associated with reduced body inflammation, oxidative stress, the risk of developing prostate cancer, improving eye health (due to high levels of carotenoids) and bone health (due to its vitamin K1 contents).

Culinary suggestions

Spinach can be eaten in a cooked form in soups, stir-fries, stews, curries, blended as a side dish with fish or meats or in dip recipes. My favorite way of eating spinach is to blend raw young spinach leaves into smoothies.

8. BRUSSEL SPROUTS

Fiber contents per 100g: 2.6g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 78g): 2.0g
– RDA for men: 6.7%
– RDA for women: 8.0%
Excellent source of: vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamin K.
Good source of: omega 3; folate; copper; iron; manganese.

Health properties

brussel sproutsBrussel sprouts have some of the highest glucosinolate (phytonutrients with anti-cancerogenic properties) levels of all vegetables. They contain substances with detoxifying properties for cancer causing substances, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are excellent for cholesterol lowering.
Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable and are associated with reduced risk of various cancers, such as colon, breast, bladder, prostate and ovarian.

Culinary suggestions

Brussels sprouts are usually served as a side dish to accompany protein foods. They can be roasted, steamed or blanched. Brussels sprouts are a great addition to stews, soups, stir fries (after blanching) or roasted vegetable platters.

Highest in fiber fruits

1. COCOA NIBS/HIGH COCOA CHOCOLATES

Fiber contents per 100g: 15.7g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 oz. – 14g): 2.2g
– RDA for men: 7.3%
– RDA for women: 8.8%
Excellent source of: copper; iron; manganese.
Good source of: magnesium.

Health properties

Chocolate, cocoa beans and cocoa powder on a stone backgroundCocoa is one of the best sources of antioxidants and good quality fats – mostly saturated and monounsaturated.
Cocoa nibs or high cocoa-content chocolate (70% or more of cocoa) should not be confused with other chocolate products such as “dark chocolate” – which simply means that there is no milk added (but may still contain high sugar content). Cocoa nibs and 100% cocoa chocolate bars contain no sugar at all, and healthy chocolates either have a small percentage of sugar (up to 30%) or contain stevia as a sweetener.  This is because the glycemic load is low and, a standard serving has a low glycemic load and doesn’t cause sugar spikes. High cocoa chocolate is rich in calories so it needs to be eaten in moderation.

High cocoa chocolate is associated with the reduction of insulin resistance, lowering oxidation of LDL cholesterol, increasing production of HDL cholesterol and improving blood flow. It is protective against cardiovascular diseases and skin damage from sun exposure, is recommended for diabetics, improves short term brain function and last but not least it makes you feel better!

Culinary suggestions

Besides the obvious application of chocolate in sweet products, chocolate can be used in savory dishes such as sauces for meats, rubs for grilled beef, in breakfast cereal, stews or enchiladas. My favorite way is to purchase a large amount of good quality (e.g. Ecuadorian) 100% cocoa chocolate bars, melt them and add currants, roasted nuts, orange skin, ginger, plenty of chia seeds and rolled oats. If currants are not enough for your sweet tooth you can add stevia extract. After mixing all of the ingredients, you can either form bars of chocolate, use chocolate cube containers to make small snacks or simply roll them into bite size balls. The finished product can be kept in the freezer.

2. PASSIONFRUIT

Fiber contents per 100g: 10.6g
Fiber contents per typical serving (4 medium – 72g): 7.6g
– RDA for men: 25.3%
– RDA for women: 30.4%
Excellent source of: vitamin A; vitamin C.
Good source of: iron.

Health properties

Passion fruit isolated on whitePassionfruit is high in flavonoid antioxidants which together with vitamin A are essential for good eye-health.

Rich in fiber passionfruit is a great food in weight loss programs and has a very low glycemic index and glycemic load, making it a safe food for diabetics and beneficial for heart health.

Culinary suggestions

Passion fruit is a perfect ingredient in breakfast cereal, fruit salads, smoothies and desserts. It can be also used in sauces and jellies.

3. COCONUT MEAT

Fiber contents per 100g: 8.9g
Fiber contents per typical serving (2 oz. – 56g): 5.0g
– RDA for men: 16.7%
– RDA for women: 20.0%
Excellent source of: copper; manganese.
Good source of: iron.

Health properties

coconut snackContains high amounts of medium chain triglycerides MCTs.

Coconut meat contains oil which has a positive effect on suppressing appetite, helping in reducing visceral fat, raising “good” HDL cholesterol, decreasing LDL cholesterol and improving metabolic rate. It also has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiviral properties.

Culinary suggestions

Coconut meat has numerous culinary applications. It can be simply eaten raw as a snack. Coconut meat can be also shredded and sprinkled on food (such as breakfast cereal, curries, stir fries), added to energy bars, baked with cakes, pastries or cookies, or used to coat food (e.g. shrimps).

BERRIES

4. RASPBERRIES

Fiber contents per 100g: 6.6g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 61g): 4.0g
– RDA for men: 13.3%
– RDA for women: 16.0%
Excellent source of: vitamin C; manganese.
Good source of: copper.

5. BLACKBERRIES

Fiber contents per 100g: 5.3g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 72g): 3.8g
– RDA for men: 12.7%
– RDA for women: 15.2%
Excellent source of: vitamin C.
Good source of:

6. BOYSENBERRIES

Fiber contents per 100g: 5.3g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 66g): 3.5g
– RDA for men: 11.7%
– RDA for women: 14.0%
Excellent source of: manganese.
Good source of: folate; copper.

7. BLUEBERRIES

Fiber contents per 100g: 2.4g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 74g): 1.8g
– RDA for men: 6.0%
– RDA for women: 7.2%
Excellent source of: vitamin K.
Good source of: vitamin C; manganese.

8. STRAWBERRIES

Fiber contents per 100g: 1.9g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 72g): 1.4g
– RDA for men: 4.7%
– RDA for women: 5.6%
Excellent source of: vitamin C.
Good source of: folate; manganese.

Health properties

Healthy lifestyle, diet concept, Fruit and pills, vitamin supplements with on white backgroundBerries are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and their consumption is associated with improved immunity, reduction of oxidation of LDL cholesterol, lowered blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, may be protective against DNA damage and some cancers, improved brain function, and are great food for diabetics.

Culinary suggestions

Berries can be used in fruit salads, smoothies and ice-creams. They are also a great addition to breakfast cereals, yogurt based granolas, baked products, flavored ice cubes, as a topping on the French toast or as sauce for accompaniment of meats.

9. POMEGRANATE

Fiber contents per 100g: 4.0g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1/2 cup – 87g): 3.5g
– RDA for men: 11.7%
– RDA for women: 14.0%
Excellent source of: vitamin K.
Good source of: vitamin C; copper.

Health properties

Pieces of pomegranate fruitPomegranates contain high amounts of a powerful antioxidant, called punicalagins, and fatty acids, called punicic acids, providing a wide range of health benefits.
Pomegranates have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and may help in reducing arthritis related joint pain. They are associated with lowering blood pressure, decreasing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, can be protective against prostate and breast cancers, and have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Culinary suggestions

The most common use of pomegranate in the kitchen is to juice it. Pomegranate arils (seeds) can be also used in fruit or savory salads, tossed with roasted vegetables, used in sauces for meats, as garnish for meat dishes, in desserts or cocktails. My favorite way is to mix it with salmon tartar.

10. PEARS (WITH SKIN)

Fiber contents per 100g: 3.4g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1 medium – 178g): 6.0g
– RDA for men: 20.0%
– RDA for women: 24.0%
Excellent source of:
Good source of: vitamin C, vitamin K, copper.

Health properties

fresh pearsPears are one of the highest sources of a phytonutrients called flavonols. Pear skin is very high in fiber and contains high amounts of phenolic phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and cinnamic acids.  Therefore, it is beneficial not to peel pears. Pears are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber and are associated with the risk reduction of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, such as colorectal, gastric and esophageal.

Culinary suggestions

Pears are great for fruit salads, vegetable salads (great with rocket salad), in smoothies, and as an addition to vegetables juices. You can use them as finger food (wrapped with blue cheese in prosciutto), glazed and served with chicken, roasted with pork and vegetables, in noodle dishes, cooked in wine and spices as a dessert or used in pancakes with custard.

11. APPLES

Fiber contents per 100g: 2.4g
Fiber contents per typical serving (1 medium – 120g): 2.9g
– RDA for men: 9.7%
– RDA for women: 11.6%
Excellent source of:
Good source of: vitamin C.

Health properties

Woman biting apple. Side portrait of open mouthed woman about toApples are high in polyphenols, a number of health promoting antioxidants, and a fiber called pectin, which promotes insulin sensitivity.

Antioxidants and high fiber contents in apples are helpful in moderating blood sugar levels, weight management, protection against diabetes, heart disease and possibly some cancers.

Culinary suggestions

The most obvious way to use apples is simply as a snack, juices or in fruit salads. Apples are very versatile. They can be easily dried, used in smoothies, granitas, apple based sauces (e.g. apple-horseradish sauce), steamed and served with cream, baked, poached with red wine, made into cider, baked in a cake or pastry, shredded with carrots as a salad, made into a chutney or fried as a part of pancakes, crepes, etc.

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References   [ + ]

1. Hoy MK, Goldman RD, Goldman JD. Fiber intake of the U.S. population. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. FSRG Dietary Data Brief – September 2014. Available here.
2. Hoy MK, Goldman RD, Goldman JD. Fiber intake of the U.S. population. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. FSRG Dietary Data Brief – September 2014. Available here.