Yes, everyone wants to feel full for hours after they eat lunch and never be bloated again. But like, how?!? Well, there’s one solution that’s not exactly sexy (your grandma probably swears by it), but it works: fibre, baby.
Okay, yes, so fibre bars can be kind of nasty. But you can (and should) get this stuff from real food, too. Fibre helps keep your bowels regular, naturally lowers your LDL cholesterol, and, yes, makes you feel fuller for longer. “High-fibre diets have also been linked to lower rates of colon cancer, and most of us aren’t getting nearly enough,” says registered dietician Alex Caspero.
That said, too much fibre can shock your system, causing bloating and diarrhoea (fun!). “If you’re only eating 10 grams now, please don’t start eating 50,” says Caspero. She recommends adding in five grams at a time every few days over the course of a week until you hit about 30 grams per day—the sweet spot for most adult women.
And don’t forget to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep all that bulk moving through your GI tract (otherwise you’ll get gassy and bloated).
Not sure where to start? Here are 24 high-fibre foods that pack a solid amount of the nutrient (and other health benefits).
Fibre: 13.5 grams per 1/4-cup serving
Chia seeds add a nice nutty flavour to smoothies, yoghurt, and other foods — and they’re super easy to use. Just sprinkle them over or into your dish, and you’re good to go. In addition to an impressive fibre count (and being high in protein), “they’re a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a decrease in heart disease,” says Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet.
Fibre: 5 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Like chia seeds, sunflower seeds are an easy way to inject a little more fibre into your day. These fibre-filled little seeds are also “a good source of monounsaturated fats that may help decrease cholesterol levels,” Gans says. Toss ’em into a salad for a little crunch, or just nosh on them on their own.
Fibre: 10.5 grams per 1/8-cup serving
Bran is surprisingly versatile — you can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, muffins, and even mashed bananas with nut butter, says Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. There are also different types to choose from. “Wheat bran is a great source of insoluble fibre, which helps prevent constipation,” Angelone says. “I really like oat bran as a concentrated source of soluble fibre.” (Soluble fibre slows digestion and keeps your blood sugar stable.)
Fibre: 10 grams per 1/2-cup serving
High-fibre almonds can do your gut and your skin a solid. They’re a “good source of vitamin E, which has been associated with a reduction in UV damage of the skin,” Gans says. She recommends using finely-chopped almonds to coat meat before baking or over salads, or just munching on them whole.
Fibre: 3.4 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Sweet potatoes are an awesome way to up your fibre intake, plus they’re also an “excellent” source of vitamin A, which is great for your vision, Gans says. You can swap sweet potatoes into just about any potato dish, or try this cool hack from Gans: Slice sweet potato into quarter-inch thick into pieces and put them into the toaster. Then, slather your slices with your favourite toast toppings, like peanut butter, banana, and honey.
Fibre: 6.2 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Prunes have a solid rep for getting things moving in your gut, and part of their power is due to fibre. They’re also a good source of potassium, which helps your body regulate your blood pressure, Gans says. She recommends throwing a few into oatmeal, or blending them into smoothies.
Fibre: 22 grams per 1/2-cup serving (uncooked)
Don’t be intimidated by split peas. “They cook up in 30 minutes and don’t need to soak first,” Angelone says. “They also make a great one-pot meal when you add some vegetables at the start of cooking and then fresh spinach at the end.” Split peas are also a great source of iron, which is needed to transport oxygen in your blood, Gans points out.
Fibre: 3.5 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Brussels sprouts are a great option when you’re tired of broccoli or cauliflower but still want cruciferous vegetable benefits. They’re “rich in vitamin K, which is needed to help your blood to clot,” Gans says. Try brushing your Brussels with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasting them for a delicious side dish.
Fibre: 14.3 grams per 1/4-cup serving
Like chia seeds, flax seeds are an easy way to inject fibre into oatmeal, smoothies, yoghurt, pancakes, or baked goods, Angelone says. Another, non-fibre perk of flax seeds, per Gans: “They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties that have been associated with a decrease in joint discomfort.”
Fibre: 5.6 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Seaweed (a.k.a. nori) makes a great addition to salads and soups, and can be a go-to snack on its own, says Scott Keatley, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. (It adds a nice salty flavour to just about anything.) “Snacks like seaweed can help you to feel fuller longer, decrease cholesterol levels, help regulate blood sugar levels, and be great aids in weight loss,” he says.
Fibre: 7 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Popcorn is a whole grain (and therefore loaded with fibre), but the kind of popcorn you choose matters, Keatley says. Opt for the buttery movie theatre version, for example, and you’re adding in some ingredients that kind of undermines the good stuff. But, if you get your popcorn plain and dress it up yourself with garlic powder or cinnamon, it’s a benefit-packed snack, explains Gans.
Fibre: 7.5 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Apples are a sweet way to get your fibre intake up. Bonus perk: Apples are also a great source of vitamin C, which supports a healthy immune system and helps your body produce wrinkle-busting collagen, Gans says. Snack on them plain or top them with almond butter for more staying power.
Fibre: 7 grams per medium uncooked artichoke
Artichokes are a great source of fibre — but a pain to prepare. To make life easier, Caspero suggests adding frozen or canned artichokes to salads and frittatas. Or toss into whole-wheat pasta with sautéed sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, chicken, and a sprinkle of feta for a fibre-rich Mediterranean meal.
Fibre: 12 grams per 1-cup serving
Frozen or canned is your best option to get all the fibre in lima beans; pair with corn to make a savoury hash. “Corn gets a bad rap, but it’s technically a veggie and it’s relatively high-fibre,” Caspero says. Or puree lima beans with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to make a “hummus” for veggie dip or a spread on sandwiches.
Fibre: 16 grams per 1-cup cooked serving
You’ll get TONS of fibre and protein in every cup of this vegetarian staple. Buy a bag at the supermarket and forget the soaking; just drop in simmering water and they’re ready in 30 minutes. Caspero recommends using lentils as a filling for tacos or wraps, or making a “lentil loaf” (like meatloaf…but with lentils).
Fibre: 17 grams per 1-cup serving
Caspero suggests lightly mashing black beans and adding to sandwiches, pairing with sweet potatoes and a sprinkling of cheese, adding to soups and salads, or wrapping in a whole-wheat wrap with chicken and hummus.
Fibre: 6 grams per 1 cup of cooked pasta
Pasta is a surprisingly high-fibre food, if you do it right. Take your whole-wheat pasta and toss with about two cups of cooked mixed veggies, plus tomato sauce or olive oil and lemon, and you’ll have a fibre-rich meal.
Fibre: 8 grams per 1-cup serving
The season for raspberries is fairly short, and they’re pricey otherwise. But you can enjoy fibre-rich raspberries out of season if you buy frozen, then add to smoothies or fibre-rich oatmeal.
Fibre: 11 grams per 1-cup serving
“I call chickpeas my chicken,” says Caspero, since she swaps the high-fibre, vegetarian protein anywhere she’d otherwise use chicken. Because they’re pretty bland, they marry well in lots of different dishes. Toss them in a blender with mayo, celery, and carrots to make a take on chicken salad that’s high in fibre and protein.
Fibre: 6 grams per 1-cup serving (cooked)
You might associate barley with soups, but it works just as well anywhere you’d use rice. Buy a pack of barley and make one big batch that you can keep in the fridge all week. Mix with roasted veggies (like onions, broccoli, and red peppers to get an extra fibre kick), a serving of chicken, and dressing for a hearty lunch or dinner.
Fibre: 6 grams fibre per medium pear
When you think of fibre-rich fruits, you probably think of apples, but you’ll actually get a lot of it in pears, too. Pair it with almond butter for a snack or with almost any savoury food, like cheese in a salad.
Fibre: 7 grams per half avocado
Yet another reason to love brunch’s favourite food! Slather it on toast, dice, and toss with your favourite salad, or just slice and put on top of your sandwich to boost your meal’s healthy fat and fibre content.
Fibre: 8 grams per 1-cup serving
Like raspberries, blackberries are a high-fibre food that you should have in your repertoire. Fresh or frozen, you can eat these babies in yoghurt, as part of a fruit salad, or just pop ’em raw.
Fibre: 6 grams per 1/2-cup serving
Peanuts have a surprisingly-high amount of fibre for such a small, ordinary nut. As if you didn’t have enough reason to love peanut butter already. Toss the nuts into a stir fry or salad, or just eat some PB out of the jar.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com