7 High-Fiber Foods That Do More Than Help Your Gut

Fiber! Fiber! Fiber! If you've heard it once, you've heard it 100 times that we need to eat more fiber. But in the world of high protein diets, the message that fiber is important to our overall health can be seriously ignored. But it goes way deeper than that. Did you know that the average American only eats 10-15 grams of fiber per day? That is way less than the USDA recommended amount of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. (Source: Harvard Health)

7 high-fiber foods that do more than help your gut

The American diet is loaded with processed and take out foods. Many of which are high in fat, protein, carbs and low in fiber. Not eating enough fiber means we are more likely to have digestive issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas and abdominal pain. We are also missing the chance to eliminate toxins, excess hormones and cholesterol from our body. Did you know weight gain and the inability to lose weight can be linked to eating very little fiber?


Eating very little fiber means the good bacteria in our digestive system is not getting the nutrients it needs. That means the good bacteria cannot keep us healthy. We need the good bacteria to keep our immune system healthy, reduce anxiety and depression and help us sleep well.


Unfortunately, the trend of eating very low carbohydrate lifestyles means that we are more likely to get ill. While I definitely agree eating too many carbs can hurt our health, not eating enough also has the same effect. The body wants to be in balance. That means eating an adequate amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Not too much and not too little. Understanding how to eat for balance and good health is hard.


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Carbohydrates are a tricky macronutrient. We need fiber from carbohydrates for overall good health but too much of them can cause health issues. This is due to the amount of sugar and starches in some of them. Eating carbs that have high sugars and starches, increases the likelihood of weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.

eggplants in a line

Counting carbohydrates can be confusing. For example, carbs in oatmeal are 30 grams if you are eating 1 cup cooked oatmeal. But, the oatmeal also has 4 grams of fiber. This means the oatmeal has 26 grams of net carbs. What are net carbs? Calculating net carbs is simply subtracting the amount of fiber and any sugar alcohols in a food from the amount of total carbohydrates.


Why do we care about net carbs? For some people, eating fewer carbs helps with weight loss and weight maintenance. When tracking the amount of carbs eaten in a day, it is important to focus on net carbs. Net carbs are the amount of digestible carbs in a food. Digestible carbs are the amount of carbs that are absorbed by the body. While net carbs are important for some to lose weight, ultimately the amount of carbs we eat in a single day will determine if we gain or lose weight. The good thing about watching total carb intake is it makes us focus on eating more foods with fiber! Eating more fiber is always a good strategy for promoting overall health, weight loss and weight maintenance.


One thing to remember when increasing the amount of fiber in your day is to drink more water! Adding fiber means that we need more water in our bodies to help move the fiber through the digestive tract and out of the colon. Drink half your body weight in ounces every single day! Since our bodies are mostly water and 75% of our stool is water, we need to replenish the water we lose from normal body processes. If you sweat regularly, you need even more water to avoid constipation.


Here are 7 high fiber foods that do more than help your gut.


Chia seeds


Why are chia seeds good for you? These nutritious seeds are probably the best source of dietary fiber in the world, packing a whooping 34 grams per 100 grams. Chia seeds contain high amounts of soluble fiber, which absorb water to form a gel-like substance that expands the stomach, thereby increasing the feeling of fullness. This, of course, helps you eat less. Studies have also shown that chia seeds can help with weight loss, blood pressure reduction and blood sugar regulation. (Source: NIH) Below are recipes with chia seeds to try. Simply click on the name to be brought to the recipe.


Chocolate Cashew Chia Pudding from Bon Appetite

Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookie Dough Protein Bites from My Fresh Perspective

Grain Free Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes from L L Balanced

Healthy Pear Ginger Chia Smoothie from Yay For Food

chocolate chip cashew cookie dough protein bites

Almonds

Almonds are a popular, but highly underrated nut. Not only are they rich in magnesium, manganese, vitamin E, protein and healthy fats, they’re also very rich in fiber, with 12.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams of the nut. The health benefits of almonds include improving gut health via its sizeable fiber content, almonds have also been linked to reduction of oxidative stress, lowering of “bad” LDL cholesterol and hunger reduction, while also aiding in weight loss. (Source: NIH) Below are recipes with almonds to try. Simply click on the name to be brought to the recipe.


Honey Sesame Almonds from A Couple Cooks

Healthy No Bake Almond Cookies from Eating Bird Food

No Bake Almond Butter Bars from Kitchen At Hoskins

Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cake from The Banana Diaries

vegan almond butter bars

Flax Seeds


With 27.3 grams of fiber out of every 100 grams, flax seed remains one of the leading sources of dietary fiber. But it’s not just fiber either, it contains high amounts of protein (18.3 g) and omega-3 fatty acids (22.8 g) as well. What are flax seeds good for? Flax seeds benefits include improvement in gut health, reduction in hunger cravings, reduction of LDL cholesterol, blood pressure reduction and prevention of diarrhea and constipation. (Source: NIH) Below are recipes using flax seeds to try. Simply click on the name to be brought to the recipe.


Flaxseed Muffins from Life After Wheat

Flaxseed and Blueberry Oatmeal from Little Broken

Linseed (flaxseed) Cinnamon Cookies from The Bossy Kitchen

Flaxseed Twisty Sticks from A Family Feast

flaxseed twisty sticks

Popcorn

If you’re looking to load up on healthy fiber while enjoying your favorite TV shows, organic popcorn might just be your best bet. Air-popped popcorn in particular, contains 14.5 g/100 g of serving, which makes it an excellent low-calorie snacking option. Organically-grown popcorn comes with a number of health benefits too. For instance, in one study that compared the filling capacity of popcorn to potato chips, it was observed that 15 calories of popcorn was just as filling as 150 calories of potato chips. This, of course, can help with weight management. (Source: NIH)


Oats


Oats are one of the best meals with which to start your day. In addition to its high fiber count (16.5 g/ 100 g), it’s also loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta glucan, which aids the regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol. Other proven health benefits of oats include prevention of LDL oxidation and reduction in the risk of childhood asthma. (Source: NIH) Below are recipes using oats to try. Simply click on the name to be brought to the recipe.


Chocolate Baked Oats from Plant You

Healthy Peach Cobbler from Show Me The Yummy

Healthy Baked Oats from Gimme Delicious

Easy Overnight Oats from Feel Good Foodie

chocolate baked oats

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of those delicious delicacies that doesn’t harm your health. For a dark chocolate with a 70-95% cocoa content, you can safely expect to get 10 g of fiber per 100 grams. Dark chocolate health benefits include a reduction in insulin resistance and risk of heart disease, skin protection and improved brain health. (Source: NIH) Below are recipes using dark chocolate to try. Simply click on the name to be brought to the recipe.


Dark Chocolate Hummus from Create Mindfully

Healthy Oatmeal Bars with Dark Chocolate from Be Brave and Bloom

Healthy Chocolate Coconut Balls from I Food Real

Healthy Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies from Amy's Healthy Baking

dark chocolate hummus

Chickpeas


The chickpea is a leguminous plant lauded primarily for its protein content, but it’s also a great source of fiber. With 7.6 g/100g, chickpeas pack a sizeable chunk of fiber which can promote feelings of fullness. For instance, in a study where participants ate 104 g of chickpeas daily for 12 weeks, they reported a higher feeling of fullness and eating of less junk food. Health benefits of chickpeas include weight loss, blood sugar regulation and improved bowel function. (Source: NIH) Below are recipes using chickpeas to try. Simply click on the name to be brought to the recipe.


Roasted Chickpeas from Love and Lemons

Hummus from The Mediterranean Dish

Falafel from Feasting At Home

Chickpea Stew from Healthier Steps

hummus





SUMMARY


Eating a diet high in fiber is not only good for the gut, it helps with weight loss, stable blood sugar and reduced risk of major lifestyle illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Foods such as chickpeas, dark chocolate, oats, popcorn, flax seeds, almonds and chia seeds are high in fiber and can easily be included in your daily routine.


What is your favorite high fiber food? Let me know in the comments below.


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