Constipation. The dreaded topic that no one wants to talk about. But let’s be honest, almost everyone has dealt with it at some point in their life. It’s not only uncomfortable, but it also allows waste and toxins to build up in the body which can eventually cause other health problems. Constipation usually stems from a diet that is lacking in fiber. When you consider what Americans are living off of these days, is it any wonder that constipation is an issue? Popular convenience foods like white bread, pizza, potato chips, and French fries provide little to no fiber. Although interventions such as Miralax and laxatives are certainly necessary in some situations, the majority of problems could be solved by decreasing processed foods and increasing whole, fibrous foods. I found this to be true in my own life! A few years ago, I used to be chronically constipated and often felt bloated and miserable. However as I changed the way I ate and incorporated consistent amounts of high fiber foods in my diet, I found the problem to completely resolve. Even if you don’t deal with constipation, increasing fiber in your diet can only benefit your body. A high fiber diet increases your satiety after eating and helps to keep your colon and intestinal system healthy. There are many foods that contain fiber, but I thought I would share with you five that I like to incorporate in my own diet.
Avocados are an incredible source of fiber. One California avocado contains 35-40% of an average person’s daily dietary fiber. There are so many different ways to incorporate avocados into your diet. As simplistic as it may seem, I love opening an avocado, putting a little salt on top, and digging in with a spoon. Avocados are also delicious mixed in a salad. Or try substituting avocados for mayonnaise next time you make an egg or tuna salad sandwich. And who doesn’t love some good guacamole?
2. Sweet Potato
When I think of high fiber foods, sweet potatoes don’t generally come to mind. However, a 200 gram, 175 calorie sweet potato contains almost 25% of an individual’s daily fiber needs. By eating one sweet potato, you could get one-fourth of your dietary fiber for the day. Pretty easy huh? I love sweet potatoes, and I usually eat one every day. My favorite way to prepare a sweet potato is by partially cooking it and then slicing it up into fries and frying it in butter on the stove top. You can also make baked sweet potatoes in the oven, cut up sweet potatoes into wedges and bake them, or make mashed sweet potatoes. Get creative! You can do so many things with sweet potatoes.
3. Almonds or Almond butter
Almonds have so many health benefits, one of which is its high fiber content. One-fourth cup of almonds contains 16% of your daily fiber, and 2 TBSPs of almond butter contain 17% of your daily fiber. Lately I’ve been keeping either almonds or almond butter stocked in my cupboard. I love taking a serving of almonds with me to work to snack on in between breakfast and lunch, and I love knowing that I’m providing my body with healthy fiber. You can also mix almonds in with other nuts and dried fruit to make a trail mix. Or topping baked goods with slivered almonds can be a great way to sneak in a little extra fiber. Almond butter is delicious spread on toast or even rice cakes. And if you’re not worried about calories , why not eat it by the spoonful with honey? I do!
4. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain 12% of your fiber in a one-fourth cup serving. Sunflower seeds have become my go-to snack recently. They are so satisfying and the perfect snack to take with you on the run. I like to buy a bag of them at my local health food store and then portion them out into little baggies as I go. Although I enjoy eating sunflower seeds plain, they are also great roasted in the oven with a little coconut oil and salt. You can also add sunflower seeds to a salad for a little extra fiber and added flavor. Try grabbing a handful of sunflower seeds next time you need a crunchy snack. You will love it, and your body will thank you.
A one-half cup serving of cooked broccoli contains about 10% of your daily fiber. When I was little, my uncle told me that broccoli was just baby trees. I’ve been hooked ever since. Broccoli is delicious raw with ranch or in salads, and it’s also great cooked in a casserole or as a side. I often prepare it very simply by just boiling it in some water until soft; however, steaming broccoli is also another great method that prevents you from losing any of the broccoli’s nutrients in the water. Broccoli is so versatile that you can add it to almost any meal, and it provides a great way to boost your fiber intake!
The list above is just a few of my favorite high fiber foods that have made a difference in my diet. However, this list is just the beginning. There are many more high fiber foods you can incorporate in your diet such as strawberries, blackberries, pears, squash, chia seeds, lentils, popcorn, and flax seeds. A healthy high fiber diet can make you feel better, but it can also be delicious. So explore what foods work best for you, and have fun with it!
This article was written by:
ACE Certified Health Coach
(B.S. in Sports & Health Sciences)
Heidi is a certified health coach with a bachelor’s degree in sports and health sciences. She specializes in helping women accomplish their health goals through nutritional and lifestyle changes. She enjoys creating healthy meals in the kitchen and working out with her husband.