15 Ways to Boost Daily Fiber Intake  

Mar 31, 2021 | Nutrition, Wellness

Home » Wellness » 15 Ways to Boost Daily Fiber Intake  

Most of us know we ought to eat more fiber, but despite talk of numbers, most of us are not getting enough. We are not being shown how to improve out daily fiber intake, at least not in a way that is enticing or practical. The problem is most of us have a skewed understanding of fiber. We do not appreciate its benefits or versatility. If we did, we could start asking the right questions and discover better ways to give our body what it needs.

What is Fiber?

Occasionally referred to as ruffage or bulk, fiber is the non-digestible part of our carbohydrates. It is found primarily in plant-based foods, including grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. There are three types of fiber.

  1. Soluble Fiber. Attracts and dissolves in water, forming a gel in our stomach that slows digestion. Popular sources include beans, carrots, apples, avocados, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
  2. Insoluble Fiber. Remains intact as it passes through our intestines. Major sources include whole grains, nuts, seeds, cauliflower, and dark, leafy greens.
  3. Resistant Starch. Not a fiber, but because it resists digestion, it acts like one. Like soluble fiber, it feeds intestinal bacteria but is better tolerated by people with sensitive digestion. Rice, beans, and legumes are particularly rich sources. Potatoes are as well, if they are cooked and cooled correctly.

Soluble fiber is sometimes referred to as prebiotic fiber because it feeds the bacteria living in our intestines. These microorganisms are essential for good digestion and help the body synthesize certain types of vitamins, such as vitamins K and B. They also regulate health in other parts of the body, such as your skin, lungs, and urinary tract.

Daily Fiber Intake

What are the Health Benefits of Fiber?

Fiber plays an important role in digestion, regularity, and general health. It acts like an escort service, accompanying nutrients into our digestive tract and pushing waste out.

Most people are familiar with its effect on bowel movements. Soluble fiber draws in water, making stools softer, larger, and easier to pass. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, adds bulk, which keeps our bowels flowing smoothly, preventing constipation.

But fiber affects our health in even more profound ways. In fact, it is one of the biggest contributors to our well-being. It:

  • Prevents Blood Sugar Spikes. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar, which helps keep our blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.
  • Reduces Cholesterol. Fiber binds to cholesterol in our stomach and intestines, so instead of being absorbed, it is excreted through our waste.
  • Lowers Body Weight. Fiber provides volume and takes longer to digest, which keep you feeling full and makes you likely to eat less over time. People with a large daily fiber intake generally find it easier to achieve or maintain optimal weight.

Most important is fiber’s effect on the organisms in your gut. Our gut contains trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms, which make up what is known as the gut biome. Everyone’s biome is unique, just like our fingerprints, and plays an important role in our overall health. Some organisms protect against disease, while others are hard at work synthesizing glucose, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and short chain fatty acids. The more diverse, the more benefits they provide. Research has shown people with large microbiomes in their gut experience better digestion, healthier metabolism, and fewer chronic diseases.

Fiber & Gut Health

The composition, variety, and richness of your gut biome depends largely on diet. A strong, daily fiber intake keeps beneficial bacteria well-fed and flourishing, able to carry out their specialized tasks. Beyond good digestion, they also help prevent long-term illnesses, including:

Most significantly, high daily fiber intake encourages production of short chain fatty acids, which lower your risk of colon cancer. It is not a surprise therefore that people who eat a healthy mix of fiber and carbohydrates also tend to live longer as well.

Daily Fiber Intake

How Much Daily Fiber Intake Do You Need?

The Institute of Medicine recommended daily fiber intake for women is 28 grams and for men, 35 grams. However, it is important to note these are general recommendations and needs may vary from person to person.

To hit these numbers or go beyond them, eat fiber throughout the day. Make it part of every meal but never focus on a single source. Keep your diet varied be eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. A good rule of thumb is to broaden the colors you are eating. That way, even if you do not know the specific makeup of the items on your plate, you will ensure you are getting a diverse range of fiber with your food. However, make sure to increase your daily intake slowly, to prevent unwanted discomfort or bloating.

Are Fiber Supplements a Good Idea?

Fiber supplements can help increase your daily fiber intake, but lack the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in fibrous foods. They can also interfere with absorption of multivitamins and other medications, such as aspirin.

There are two types of supplements: powders and capsules. In order to make them palatable, a few powders contain artificial sweeteners such as erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol. They might taste better but they can also cause pain, bloating, cramps, and excessive gas, so be careful.

Capsules can be problematic as well. Many are pumped full of cheap fiber like chicory root. Some only contain 1-2 grams of fiber, which is not a lot given what they typically cost. Conversely, supplements advertising themselves as high fiber might contain as much as 15-20 grams. This sounds good, unless it is all from soluble fiber, which, in massive doses, can lead to digestive problems. In short, supplements make it easy to get too much or not enough of what you need. The best option is to get your recommended fiber intake from whole foods first before exploring other options.

15 Delicious Ways to Boost Your Daily Fiber Intake

Fiber is found in so many foods that it is easy to find exciting ways to incorporate it into your diet. Here are some of the ideas we discovered.

Avocado Kale Caesar Salad

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Salad

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 1 Bunch Lacinato Kale Ribs Removed. Leaves Torn
  • 1/2 Fuji Apple Diced or Sliced
  • 1 Avocado Diced into 1-Inch Cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. Hulled Hemp Seeds or Pepitas

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, salt, and Worcestershire sauce together in a small bowl.
  • Tear the kale and place in a large salad bowl. Add half the dressing and mix them together using your hands.
  • Set the dressing aside for at least 30 minutes, to soften the kale leaves. Leaving it out longer will soften them further. Some prefer to leave it out overnight.
  • Once the kale has been softened to your liking. Add the apples and the rest of the dressing and toss.
  • Serve with the avocado and hemp seeds or pepitas.
Daily Fiber Intake

Laguna Beach Hummus

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Snack
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Blender or Food Processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Can Chickpeas 15 oz.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Medium
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice Or One Squeezed Lemon
  • 1/3 Cup Tahini
  • 3/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. Water

Instructions
 

  • Puree the tahini, olive oil, cumin, salt, garlic, lemon juice, and water in a blender until smooth. 
  • Add the chickpeas and puree for another 3-4 minutes. Pause occasionally to scrape the sides. Continue until hummus is smooth. If it is too thick, slowly add more water until you reach the right consistency. 
  • Taste and add extra seasonings if desired (salt, lemon juice, cumin, etc.)   

Notes

Hummus is a great source of fiber, as well as protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Daily Fiber Intake

Dark Chocolate Bark

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Freezing 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 10

Equipment

  • Rimmed Sheet Pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Bag Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Goji Berries
  • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
  • 1/4 Cup Pistachios
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Flakes Unsweetened

Instructions
 

  • Melt the baking chips in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds to prevent the chocolate from burning. 
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread the chocolate over it. You want it about a quarter-inch thick.
  • Wait 2-3 minutes for the chocolate to set. 
  • Sprinkle the rest of the toppings (pistachios, berries, coconut). and stick the pan it the freezer for 30 minutes. 
  • Place the sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Wait 30 minutes before removing the chocolate and brekaing it into pieces.

Notes

Dark chocolate is an amazing source of fiber. One bag contains over 70 grams, making it one of the healthiest desserts available. It is also an opportunity to get more of your favorite superfoods.   
Feel free to substitute the listed topping for your favorite superfoods, such as walnuts, chia seeds, and strawberries. 
Daily Fiber Intake

Cinnamon Apple Sauté

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 3-4 Apples
  • 2 Tbsp. Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp. Honey

Instructions
 

  • Cut the apples into cubes about ½ -1 inch long, maing sure not to remove the skins. They contain fiber and nutrients you want. 
  • Put the apples into a covered saucepan with water and cook for five minutes over medium heat until the become soft.
  • Add the coconut oil and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in cinnamon and honey and continue cooking until the apples reach your desired softness. Serve immediately.   

Notes

Apples are a terrific way to start the day. Not only are they packed with fiber, but also potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants. Sautéed with cinnamon, they are wonderful at breakfast. Eat them separately or serve them on top of oatmeal, toast, or whole grain waffles.  
There are dozens of apple varieties, but Granny Smith, Pendragon, Red Delicious, Northern Spy, and Fuji are some of the healthiest. You can stick with one or mix and match until you find the tastiest combination.  

 

Daily Fiber Intake

Coconut Flour Tortillas

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • Non-Stick Skillet
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rolling Pin

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Whole Psyllium Husk
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt

Instructions
 

  • Mix the flour and psyllium together in a bowl. Stir in the water, olive oil, and baking powder to create the dough. Knead thoroughly.
  • Add salt. If the dough is sticky, add a touch of psyllium husk and knead for another 30 seconds.
  • Set aside for 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic. If you are feeling adventurous, sprinkle in some flax seeds.  
  • Flatten the dough. If you are worried about it sticking to your rolling pin, place it between two pieces of parchment paper.
  • Cut the dough into circles of roughly equal size. Depending on the size of your tortillas, you may have to re-combine and flatten the dough several times.   
  • Cook the tortillas in a non-stick skillet with a dash of olive oil. Spread the oil evenly or the tortillas might get scorched. Fry the tortillas the first side for 3-4 minutes. Then flip, and fry the second for 1-2. 
  • Serve immediatey or store for later.

Notes

Coconut flour contains 3 times more fiber than whole-wheat flour and 10 times more than all-purpose flour.

Tabouleh Salad

Prep Time 35 mins
Course Salad

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Bunches Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup  Wheat Bulgur Extra Fine
  • 1 Cup Tomato Diced
  • 1 Cup Cucumber Diced
  • 2 Green Onions
  • 1/4 Cup Mint Leaves Roughly 12-15 Leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Instructions
 

  • Combine the olive oil and lemon juice to make the dressing. Then add the bulgur and soak for 15 minutes, until soft and plump.
  • Wash and chop the vegetables, being sure to remove the stems from the parsley as you go.
  • Mix the vegetables together with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the bulgur and dressing on top and toss again. 

Notes

Tabouleh salad contains over half the fiber you need in a day. Can be served at room temperature, but it tastes better if it is chilled for 15-30 minutes.  

Daily Fiber Intake

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Salad

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Pound Spinach
  • 1 Cup Cranberries
  • 3/4 Cup Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. Minced Onion or Shallot
  • 1/4 Tsp. Paprika Optional

Instructions
 

  • Chop the spinach and place in a bowl with the cranberries and almonds. (For a bit of extra flavor, try sautéing the almonds in butter first.)
  • Mix the sugar and vinegar together to make the dressing.
  • When the sugar has dissolved, add the olive oil, sesame seeds, onion, and paprika. Whisk vigorously.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.

Notes

A cup of spinach contains four grams of fiber, while a cup of cranberries contains 6.6. Together with their naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they provide a powerful burst of flavor and nutrition.

 

Daily Fiber Intake

Almond Flour Snickerdoodles

Prep Time 10 mins
Course Dessert

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls (3)
  • Baking Sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/4 Cup Almond Flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Nectar or Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tsp. Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oven to 350° and cover your baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick coating. 
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar together.
  • In a second bowl, mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients and whisk thoroughly.
  • In a third bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Take two tablespoons of dough and form them into a ball. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and set them on the baking sheet.
  • Gently flatten each one before finally placing the sheet in the oven. 
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes, until they turn golden brown.

Notes

If you cannot finish them in one sitting, store them in an airtight container. They will be good for about a week. 
The coconut nectar and maple syrup keep these snickerdoodle from spiking your blood sugar after you eat one.

Fudgy Chocolate Chips Brownies

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert

Equipment

  • 8x8 Baking Pan
  • Blender or Food Processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Can Chickpeas 15 oz.
  • 1/2 Cup Nut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup or Coconut Nectar
  • 1 Tsp. Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oven to 350°.
  • Blend the chickpeas, nut butter, maple syrup (or coconut nectar), coconut oil, and vanilla in a food processor.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend, scraping the sides of the container as necessary.
  • Once the batter is creamy, transfer it to a mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Grease an 8x8 pan and pour in the batter. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

 

Daily Fiber Intake

Chickpea Socca

Prep Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Iron Skillet
  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tsp. Rosemary

Instructions
 

  • Combine the flour, water, olive oil, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Let the batter sit for at least 30 minutes. (Some people leave it for up to 12 hours.) 
  • Heat the oven to 450° and place an iron skillet inside. You want it hot when you add the batter.
  • Chop the rosemary and quickly fry it in olive oil for 30 to 60 seconds before mixing it into the dough.  
  • Remove the skillet and coat it with a tablespoon of oil. Pour in the batter and bake in the overn for 10-15 minutes. 
  • You will know it is done when the socca is brown and firm, with crispy edges. Remove and cut it into wedges. If the top is dry, brush it with a bit of oil.   

Notes

Socca is a remarkably flexible dish. It can be severed with cheese, as an appetizer, or topped with an egg, for breakfast.   

 

Daily Fiber Intake

Baked Cauliflower

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Snack
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cauliflower Head
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Avocado Oil
  • 2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tsp. Ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 - 1 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes For Spice
  • Fresh Chopped Parsley, Cilantro, or Mint For Garnish
  • Salt To Taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine oil and spices in a mixing bowl. Add cauliflower and toss until coated.
  • Place cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for 17 minutes, then flip and cook for another 17 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and brown.

Notes

This is a great snack you can use to boost your daily fiber intake. One head of cauliflower contains twelve grams of fiber, plus vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and magnesium.

 

Daily Fiber Intake

Cilantro Hemp Seed Pesto

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • Blender or Food Processor

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Cups Cilantro Fresh
  • 1/3 Cup Hemp Seeds
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese Optional

Instructions
 

  • Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor.
  • Pulse until everything is finely chopped and mixed. Scrape the sides of the container as you go.
  • Pour in the olive oil and continue until the mixture is perfectly blended. Serve or store for later.

Notes

Pairs great with pasta, chicken, or fish.
It can be stored fresh in an airtight container for three days.

 

Daily Fiber Intake

Chili Lime Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time 10 mins
Course Snack

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Pound Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. Lime Zest
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oven to 450°
  • Chop and halve the brussels sprouts.
  • Place them in a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, chili powder, lime zest, salt, and pepper until thoroughly coated.
  • Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 10-20 minutes, until they are brown and crispy.  

Notes

A cup of brussels sprouts has over three grams of fiber, not to mention a ton of vitamin C.

Raspberry Pear Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Salad

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 3 Cups Lettuce
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts Optional

Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cup Raspberries
  • 2 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Green Onion

Instructions
 

  • Slice the pears and chop the lettuce. Place them in a bowl and set aside.
  • Place the ingredients for the dressing into a food processor and blend for 20-30 seconds.
  • Pour over the salad.   
  • Add the walnuts and toss until all the ingredients are coated. 

Notes

Pears and raspberries contain 6 and 9 grams of fiber respectively, making this one of the sweetest and most nutritious salads imaginable.

 

High-Fiber Breakfast Scramble

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 2 People

Equipment

  • Non-Stick Skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Eggs Extra Large
  • 1/2 Cup Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Red Onion Chopped
  • 1 Cup Yellow Squash Cubed
  • 4 Mini Sweet Peppers
  • 2 Cups Lacinto Kale Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Potato Diced
  • 1/2 Medium Avocado Sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and chop the vegetables. Cut them small, so they will cook quickly.
  • Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water. Bring the pot to boil and let the potatoes simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes.
  • Pour the olive oil into the skilled and heat the skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the potatoes, onion, squash, peppers, and kale to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, until soft.
  • Stir the eggs and the egg whites into the scramble. Cook until they are firm to your liking.
  • Serve the eggs with the sliced avocado on the side.

In Summary

We should always be on the lookout for new and delicious ways of improving our daily fiber intake. A diet rich in grains, fruits, and vegetables is the best way to nourish your digestive system. But be mindful of the quality and variety of the food you eat. Choosing the right fiber will also increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals in your diet, which will help you achieve optimal health and fight chronic disease.  

Our well-being is shaped by the food we eat. Learn more about building a nutritious diet through Parentis Health & Wellness.  

Jasmine El Nabli MS RDN is a Registered Dietician who empowers and educates individuals through her scientific, holistic approach to health and happiness. With the right tools, skills, and knowledge, she shows people how to create healthy and sustainable eating habits through small changes to daily life.  

Lewis Jackson writes about technology and healthcare. His work provides practical insight into modern medicine and healthy living. 

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