Did you know that fiber is one of the most critical nutrients people just aren’t eating enough of?
If you’re looking for how to maximize your fiber intake, these lists are indispensable!
In this blog, you’ll learn…
Fiber isn’t a macronutrient like carbohydrates, fat, and protein, but it isn’t a micronutrient like vitamins and minerals either. Fiber is in a class of its own, and for good reason: there are unique benefits associated with eating enough fiber that you can’t get anywhere else (see more below).
Fiber comes in two main forms:
Even though both forms are free of calories, they have powerful effects on your health.
Your body can’t digest fiber, but the bacteria in your large intestine can. Those bacteria extract calories from fiber leaving small chain fatty acids as a byproduct. These ‘byproducts’ are actually potent anti-inflammatory signalling molecules that tell your brain that you’re still full. SCFA’s also upregulate anti-inflammatory processes that preserve your gut health and decrease risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according to research.
Soluble fiber dissolves in, and absorbs, water. It adds soft bulk to your stool.
Insoluble fiber (think roughage that sometimes doesn’t get digested well) absorbs water, meaning that insoluble fiber holds water on to the outside of its surface. Both types of fiber are used to treat constipation as supplements, whereas insoluble fiber can also help treat diarrhea.
This “bulking” effect has some beneficial implications you might not think about.
To prevent disease, the Institute of Medicine recommends Americans get 25g/day for women, and 37 grams per day for men. With the average American intake of fiber at a paltry 13g per day for women and 17g per day for men, you can see why some scientists point to a lack of fiber as a key driver of chronic diseases today.
To help you with your grocery list for high-fiber food, drinks and supplements, I’ve made some easy to use lists of the foods with the highest fiber: carbohydrate ratio. This means that you’ll be getting the most fiber with the least sugar, making these lists suitable for people on a ketogenic diet too!
Note that the seeds in the list of high-fiber foods are often used to give smoothies a fiber-full boost. As long as you’re getting enough fiber from a clean (ie. low-sugar) source, it doesn’t matter whether you’re drinking it or eating it.
Lastly, if you’re like most people on Earth, you currently don’t get very much fiber. Don’t just grab one each of every high-fiber food on this list and eat it with every meal. That can lead to stomach pain, flatulence, or more serious gut issues.
Pro tip from a dietitian: to avoid side effects from getting too much fiber too fast, increase your fiber intake gradually by choosing one of these items to incorporate into your diet each day. Give your body a few weeks to get used to the extra fiber, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success!
Here’s a list of plant-based, highest-fiber foods, arranged by grams of fiber per 100 total grams of food:
If you’re looking for the best way to incorporate these ingredients in your diet, as well as all the other recovery-, performance, and sleep-enhancing benefits, check out my new ebook! It's part cookbook, part-research review that looks at food combinations to decrease inflammation, bolster physical and mental performance, and improve health daily by improving your sleep and recovery with what you eat.
Besides fruit and vegetable smoothies and fiber supplements, drinks are not what you usually think of first for their fiber content. A revolution in the beverage industry is underway, though, and I think you’ll want to be paying attention to where this industry is headed.
You’ll notice some old names in this list - in the past there really hasn’t been much of a choice when it comes to high-fiber beverages.
Pay attention to the best drinks on this list - the future of sparkling beverages is happening, and you can reap the rewards of better health by joining the fray and casting a vote for health with every dollar well spent.
6. V8® 100% vegetable juice: 2g / 12oz
5. Prune juice: 5g / 12oz
4. Kombucha with chia seeds: 6g / 12oz
3. Olipop®: 9g / 12oz can
2. Homemade smoothies: 5 to 10g or more, depending on the ingredients
1. Resync RTD: 7g/ 11.4oz can
Even though all of these provide some fiber, what really separates them is the presence of healthful ingredients or harmful ingredients. Resync RTD and homemade smoothies have all kinds of other beneficial ingredients, but many of the others on this list are full of that pesky, often-hidden, harmful ingredient: sugar.
Whether it’s added or natural, or if it goes by any other name (fructose, sucrose, glucose, syrups and more), sugar is still sugar. High blood sugar can damage your connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascia and more), increase your risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, and cause you to gain weight.
I only recommend intentionally crafted smoothies (see below for recipe ideas) and Resync RTD when it comes to fiber-rich beverages that also limit the sugar. Why would you want to take pro-inflammatory sugar with anti-inflammatory ingredients anyway?
Soda-alternatives have been adding health-promoting functional foods that can help shift the unhealthy trajectory most soda-drinkers are on (read more in our last post here). It’s a win-win: you’re getting the fiber you need without the excessive amounts of sugar in most pop, and the industry is getting a facelift that puts the health of their customers first.
It’s not the beverage giants that are leading this revolution, though, it’s small businesses like Resync that are paving the way to a future of better health.
At Resync, we’ve developed a new vegan sparkling multi-functional beverage that promises to take your taste buds to heaven while leaving your body in the best shape possible! It makes the top of the list for a reason - Resync made a new kind of drink with science-backed ingredients to support your immune system, digestive system and heart health. We packed in as much nutrition as possible while still delivering a unmatched taste.
According to the FDA, when it comes to fiber a food product has to have 20% of the total recommended dietary intake in order to qualify as an excellent source of fiber.
Resync RTD has that and more. And we use two different fiber sources, beta-glucan from oats and inulin, both of which have been studied in clinical research for their potential benefits.
For example, beta glucan has been studied since the 1970s to lower cholesterol levels, and is even approved by the FDA at a dose of 3 grams per day to lower the risk of heart disease in combination with a healthy lifestyle and a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Exciting new research is emerging to suggest that beta-glucan may also have immune system boosting effects, even though there has to be more high quality studies to prove it.
Inulin is a popular fiber source that has been known to have all the benefits of other fiber sources, and then some. Inulin has been studied for it’s glucose, insulin, and cholesterol-lowering effects, making it a perfect addition to a soda-alternative that prioritizes your heart health.
If you’re wondering “should I supplement with fiber?”, the answer depends on what else you eat and what you’re using fiber for. Always clear it with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian before making any drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle.
With the average diet so deficient in fiber, supplementing can be a good choice for many people to see the benefits seen in research and recommended by official agencies like the Institute of Medicine.
Some research shows that taking different types of fiber can help increase the diversity of your gut bacteria, which is in turn linked with beneficial effects on gut health. So, if you supplement with fiber, make sure to get it from a few different sources for the largest benefit.
Getting extra fiber in the form of supplements can increase your fiber intake up to the FDA recommended level, leading to many of the benefits seen in research, but I have to ask: why not get that fiber from your food?
A well-balanced diet provides ample fiber to reduce the risk of disease, plus the variety of fiber you get from whole foods sources might amplify the effect of a positive microbiome. Not to mention the wealth of other benefits from eating more fruits and vegetables.
Do you want better gains from exercise?
Better sleep and the ability to wake up refreshed?
Do you want natural energy without the caffeine- or sugar-crash?
These are the side stream benefits of the other ingredients present in a variety of high fiber whole foods. Check out my new ebook, Recover Every Layer of Your Body: 40 Science-Based Recipes For Better Sleep, Faster Recovery and Healthier Connective Tissues for more, including pages, tables, and references so you can make the best decisions for yourself. Here’s one high-fiber smoothie sample to help you fight inflammation and improve your energy. If you like this you’ll love my other recipes!
Want the practical details on how to eat and supplement to support your exercise, heart health, beauty, and energy? Subscribe to our feed and never miss our best content! If you want more, leave a comment or question below, and we’ll get back to you!
While other companies try to sell you through clickbait and fake news, we back up what we say with hard data. We believe that when you have the right information, you are empowered to make the best decision possible. That’s why we break down complex science into practical takeaways you can use today.
Wishing you the best in your health,
The Resync Team
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Ríos-Covián, David, et al. “Intestinal Short Chain Fatty Acids and Their Link with Diet and Human Health.” Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 7, 2016, p. 185. PubMed, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.00185.
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