Fiber is the closest thing we have to a true superfood — or super-nutrient since it’s in so many different foods. Eating a fiber-rich diet is associated with better gastrointestinal health and a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. That’s because fiber is amazingly helpful in many ways: It lowers cholesterol and inflammation, feeds our microbiome, and slows the body’s absorption of glucose, which evens out our blood sugar levels.
So how can we eat more? Every researcher I spoke to suggested eating a diversity of whole foods, instead of relying only on supplements or fiber-enriched processed foods, especially the sugary bars and brownies now being marketed as fiber-delivery tools.
Today, the array of options for fibrous foods are way more delicious than Metamucil. On a list of foods according to their fiber content, from the USDA, these were among the top (yes, popcorn and avocados are right up there):
If you like smoothies, throw your fruits, veggies, and nuts in a blender. Contrary to the hype about blenders degrading fibers, liquified fruits and veggies won’t deprive you of them. “Even baking does not destroy most fibers,” Jens Walter at the University of Alberta, explained.
To work more fiber into your daily diet, consider snacking on fruits and vegetables in the chart above, replacing white bread with whole-grain alternatives, eating potatoes with the skins on, and tossing berries, nuts, and seeds on your yogurt, cereals, or salads. “Lots of small changes can add up,” Hannah Holscher, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, told Vox.