Fiber-rich foods (such as chia seed, berries, beans, oats, and jicama) may protect against heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, all while helping keep you regular. Unfortunately, adults get an average of only 15 grams of fiber daily—less than half the recommended amount.
If you’re falling short of your daily fiber quota—at least 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men—you could be missing out on more than just roughage. “Eating a variety of naturally fiber-rich foods helps people be healthier even if they’re not focusing on fiber, per se,” says Diana Fleming, PhD, coauthor of The Full Plate Diet (Bard, 2009). Not only do high-fiber, low-fat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans and other legumes help sate hunger, they’re also packed with minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant nutrients.
No wonder studies suggest such foods may protect against heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, all while helping keep you regular. Unfortunately, adults get an average of only 15 grams of fiber daily. Boost your intake by chowing on these six fiber power foods.
A mere 2 tablespoons of these tiny seeds boast 6 grams fiber—that’s more than any other whole food, including flaxseed. (And yes, chia seeds come from a field-grown version of the same plant [Salvia hispanica L.] as the pet-shaped planters.) Animal studies suggest chia could help lower triglyceride levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, says Wayne Coates, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. Preliminary human studies suggest the seeds may also help control appetite, reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure, and moderate post-meal blood sugar surges.
Fit them in: “Chia seeds are essentially flavorless, so they can be added to almost anything, from salads to smoothies,” Coates says. “And chia seeds have a soft seed coat, so you don’t have to grind them.” He adds them to peanut butter sandwiches for extra crunch.