Buy fresh produce to motivate yourself to consume more fiber.
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A high-fiber diet can lower your risk for heart disease and type-2 diabetes, help you control your weight and promote gastrointestinal health. Fiber comes from the carbohydrates in plant foods that your body cannot digest, and good sources of dietary fiber include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains. These foods can help you meet recommendations to consume 14 grams of fiber for each 1,000 calories in your diet, or 28 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Vegetables Are Low-Calorie Fiber Options
Most vegetables are low-calorie sources of dietary fiber. One-half cup of cooked artichoke hearts supplies 7.2 grams of fiber, 1/2 cup of cooked mixed vegetables has 4 grams of fiber, a sweet potato has 3.8 grams of fiber and 1/2 cup of cooked spinach or collards provides 2.5 to 3.5 grams of fiber. Potassium, vitamins A and C and antioxidants are other nutrients in many kinds of vegetables.
Add Fruit to Increase Your Fiber Intake
Most kinds of fruit are good sources of dietary fiber. A medium pear has 5.5 grams of fiber, and 1/2 cup of raspberries or blackberries, a small apple or 1/4 cup of dried figs has 3.6 to 4 grams of fiber. Eating more fruits and vegetables can help you lower your risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. To increase your fiber intake, select fruit instead of sugary desserts, eat berries or whole fruit for snacks or add berries or sliced banana to oatmeal or cold breakfast cereal.
Nuts and Peanuts Provide Fiber and Healthy Fats
Almonds are the nuts with the greatest amount of fiber, supplying 3.5 grams per ounce. Hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts and macadamia nuts each provide 2.4 to 2.9 grams of fiber per ounce, and other types of nuts provide slightly less. Nuts are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats and are sources of vitamin E, folate and potassium. Peanuts are nutritionally similar to tree nuts, with an ounce containing 2.4 grams of fiber. Have nuts for a snack, spread peanut butter on celery or make cashew chicken to increase your fiber intake.
Legumes Are High-Protein Fiber Sources
Legumes include beans, peas and lentils, and each 1/2 cup of cooked legumes provides 5.8 to 9.6 grams of dietary fiber. Legumes also provide iron and zinc and are good sources of protein. Individuals who eat more legumes may have a lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes. For a high-fiber meal, make three-bean salad, bean soup with vegetables, white chicken chili with beans, burritos with black or pinto beans or salads with garbanzo or kidney beans.
Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains consist of the bran, germ and endosperm components of the entire grain kernel. The bran contains dietary fiber, and whole grains are higher in fiber than refined grains, which are lacking the bran components. Consuming whole grains instead of refined grains can lower your risk for heart disease and type-2 diabetes. One-half cup of cooked bulgur provides 4.1 grams of fiber, and a whole-wheat English muffin has 4.4 grams. To get more fiber, choose whole-wheat bread and pasta instead of white varieties; brown rice instead of white rice; and whole-grain breakfast cereals instead of refined.