Whole grain cereal and nutrition info
1 / 11

Start Your Day With Whole Grains

Fiber can help lower cholesterol, prevent constipation, and improve digestion. And Americans don’t eat enough of it. On average, we get less than half of what we need. Most whole grains are a great source of fiber. Fiber supplements can be another source of fiber in addition to the foods you eat. Start with breakfast: Look for whole-grain cereal or oatmeal with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. Add fruit and you’ll be on your way to the daily goal of 38 grams for men under 50 and 25 grams for women under 50.

Swipe to advance
Asian pear in a basket
2 / 11

Fresh Fruit

Any fresh fruit is a healthy snack. But when it comes to fiber, all fruits are not created equal. One large Asian pear has a whopping 9.9 grams of it. Other high-fiber fruits include raspberries (4 grams per 1/2 cup), blackberries (3.8 grams per 1/2 cup), bananas (3.1 for one medium sized), and blueberries (2 grams per 1/2 cup). Pears and apples -- with the skin on -- are also good choices.

Swipe to advance
Close up on sandwich on whole grain bread
3 / 11

Whole-Grain Bread and Crackers

Keep the grains coming. For lunch, eat a sandwich on whole-grain bread. Or dip whole-grain crackers into your favorite healthy spread. Whole grain means it includes all parts of the grain -- and that gives you all the nutrients. Studies show that adding whole grains and other high-fiber foods to your diet may also reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Swipe to advance
Potatoes and other veggies in a bowl
4 / 11

Eat Your Vegetables

Artichoke hearts, green peas, spinach, corn, broccoli, and potatoes are high-fiber veggies. But all vegetables have some. To boost your fiber intake, add veggies to omelets, sandwiches, pastas, pizza, and soup. Try adding interesting ones -- such as beets, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, or celeriac -- to a salad or other meals.

Swipe to advance
Dried fruits on wooden plate
5 / 11

Dried Fruit

Prunes are well known for their ability to help digestion. That’s in part because of their high fiber content. The roughage can help regulate bowel movements and relieve constipation. Most dried fruits are loaded with fiber. Try having a handful of dried figs, dates, raisins, or dried apricots as a snack. Or chop them up and sprinkle on top of cereal or whole-grain dishes. But keep in mind that dried fruits are also loaded with sugar. So portion control is still important.

Swipe to advance
Assorted beans in soup bowl
6 / 11

Fiber-Rich Beans

From adzuki to Great Northern, beans are high in fiber and protein, and low in fat. Try eating them instead of meat twice a week. Use them in soups, stews, salads, and casseroles, and with egg, rice, and pasta dishes. For a healthy snack, boil edamame beans for 4 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Be sure to wash down the fiber you eat with plenty of liquid to avoid constipation and gas.


Swipe to advance
Green peas in a red wooden bowl
7 / 11

Peas and Other Legumes

Related to beans, lentils and peas are high in fiber and protein and low in fat, too. Lentils cook more quickly than most other legumes and are a favorite in soups and stews. You can add cooked chickpeas to salads, or blend them to make hummus.

Swipe to advance
Close up of hand picking peanut from bowl
8 / 11

Nuts, Seeds, and Fiber

Many people steer clear of nuts and seeds because they tend to be high in calories and fat (although the fat in nuts is considered one of the good fats). They can, though, be a great source of fiber and other nutrients. A 1/4 cup of sunflower seed kernels, for example, has 3.9 grams of fiber. One ounce of almonds has 3.5 grams. Try adding chopped nuts or seeds to salads, cereal, or yogurt. Or enjoy a handful of roasted nuts or seeds for a healthy afternoon snack.

Swipe to advance
Whole wheat fettuccini
9 / 11

Enjoy Whole Grains With Dinner

Enjoy brown rice instead of white with your meal. Or try whole-grain noodles. For something different, make a dish with millet, quinoa, or bulgur -- whole grains that are packed with fiber. Worried that grains cause weight gain? Adding fiber to your diet can actually help prevent it by making you feel fuller longer. These foods also require more chewing -- giving your body more time to feel full.

Swipe to advance
Cereal with added flaxseed
10 / 11

Add Flaxseed

The seed of the flax plant can be an excellent source of fiber, giving you 2.8 grams per tablespoon. Flaxseed is often used as a laxative, but studies show that it also may help reduce cholesterol levels and decrease hot flashes. Add whole or ground flaxseeds to breads or other baked goods. Or sprinkle ground flaxseed into a smoothie or onto cooked vegetables.

Swipe to advance
Woman shopping for high fiber yogurt
11 / 11

Buy Fiber-Enriched Foods

If you can’t work another serving of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, or whole grains into your diet, consider eating a food enriched with fiber. You can find cereal, snack bars, toaster pastries, pasta, and yogurt fortified with it.

Swipe to advance

Up Next

Next Slideshow Title

Sources | Medically Reviewed on 5/29/2018 Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on May 29, 2018


(1)   Tom Grill / Iconica
(2)   Achim Sass
(3)   J.P. Nodier
(4)   Lew Robertson / Brand X Pictures
(5)   Lehner / iStockphoto
(6)   iStockphoto
(7)   Annabelle Breakey / FoodPix
(8)   Studio Paggy
(9)   Jennifer Levy / StockFood Creative
(10) Lori Lee Miller / iStockphoto
(11) Ariel Skelley / Blend Images


American Academy of Family Physicians.

American Diabetes Association: "Whole Grain Foods."


Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, American Dietetic Association spokesperson.

Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University: "Fiber."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

National Institutes of Health, News in Health: "Rough Up Your Diet."

Sari Greaves, RD, American Dietetic Association spokesperson.

Uptodate.com: “Patient information: High-fiber diet (Beyond the Basics),” Arnold Wald, MD.

USDA Nutrient Database: "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 22."

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on May 29, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.