The next time you go food shopping, put these items in your cart. They're great sources of fiber, which can cut your LDL ("bad") cholesterol, is good for your digestion, and helps you feel full. (Related: What is sulfur, and why does your body need it?)
Fruits and Vegetables
- Apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries all have around 3 to 4 grams of fiber. (Eat the apple peels -- that’s where the most fiber is!)
- Raspberries win the fiber race at 8 grams per cup.
- Mangoes, persimmons, and guavas are also good sources of fiber: A mango has 5 grams, a persimmon has 6, and 1 cup of guava has about 9.
- Dark-colored vegetables. In general, the darker the color of the vegetable, the higher the fiber content. Carrots, beets, and broccoli are fiber-rich. Collard greens and Swiss chard have 4 grams of fiber per cup. Artichokes are among the highest-fiber veggies, at 10 grams for a medium-sized one.
- Potatoes. Russet, red, and sweet potatoes all have at least 3 grams of fiber in a medium-sized spud, if you eat the skin and all.
Dry and Canned Goods
- Stock up on beans. Navy and white beans are the most fiber-rich, but all beans are fiber-packed. Any of these is a good choice for your shopping cart: garbanzo, kidney, lima, or pinto beans. They make great soups and chilis, and are a flavorful addition to salads. Beans are also high in protein, so if you’re cutting back on red meat, they’re a healthy, filling substitute.
- Include other legumes. Peas, soybeans (edamame), and lentils are also high in fiber.
Bread and Grains
- Check cereal labels. Most cereals have at least some fiber content, but they’re not all created equal. Any cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving is a good source.
- Whole-grain breads. Seven-grain, dark rye, cracked wheat, and pumpernickel breads are good choices.
- Whole grains. Bulgur wheat, brown rice, wild rice, and barley are all tasty substitutions for white rice.
The Snack Aisle
- Nuts and seeds.An ounce of of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or almonds gives you at least 3 grams of fiber. They are also high in calories, though, so make a little go a long way.
- Popcorn. Three cups of air-popped popcorn have about 4 grams of fiber.
The Cold Case
- Try foods with fiber added. Milk and other dairy products, and most juices, naturally have no or low fiber. New products, however, are changing that picture: Look for labels on orange juice, milk, and yogurt that say fiber is added or “fiber fortified.”