The days of fiber being stigmatized as an elderly supplement (you can see grandma with her spoon of Metamucil now, can't you?) are over and done. However, on average, Americans only consume about 15 grams of fiber daily or about 40 percent to 60 percent of the daily recommended intake (25g a day for women and 38g a day for men), which begs the question: what’s the best way to incorporate it into your diet?
Contrary to popular belief, traditional grains are not necessarily the best source of fiber, and some of the highest-fiber fruits and veggies put bread to shame when it comes to this key nutrient. We spoke to Dr. Sarina Kajani and dietitian Alissa Rumsey about to learn how to get the maximum boost from fibrous fruits. "The fiber content of fruits differ depending on their water content and how much of the fruit is actually indigestible by our bodies," says Kajani. "Fruit is an easy and tasty way of incorporating fiber into one's diet."
Keep scrolling to see how high-fiber fruits can brighten your day-to-day and your diet.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Sarina Kajani has a Ph.D. in Translational Medicine and Pharmacology from University College in Dublin, Ireland. She educates the masses on the benefits of fiber on Instagram and creates fiber-filled recipes on her Patreon.
- Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and author of Unapologetic Eating. She specializes in intuitive eating and founded Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness.
Raspberries hardly need any introduction when it comes to nutritional benefits, like their high volume of antioxidants and vitamins. They're no slouch when it comes to fiber, either. These little guys pack a whopping seven grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit (about a cup). Try integrating them as a mix-in for your yogurt, or grab some with a handful of chocolate chips for a decadent snack.
With about 5.4 grams of fiber per mango, this exotic piece of produce is one of the highest-fiber fruits around—but it also contains a high amount of sugar, so don't gobble up too much. As a general rule of thumb, colorful and exotic fruits tend to score highly on the fiber scale; the brighter your fruit salad or morning smoothie, the better.
Smoothies are a great way to get in some of your five-a-day fruits and veggies. Plus, they can be a budget-friendly option, since buying frozen fruit is a little easier on the wallet than multiple cartons of fresh berries every week. "All fruits are good sources of fiber including fresh, frozen, and dried fruit," says Rumsey. Grab your blender!
Pears have been making a major comeback in desserts, cocktails, and seasonal dishes. With 5.5 grams of fiber per fruit, it's just one more reason to bump them to the top of the grocery list. They can also be a great addition to salads or leafy greens. "Off the top of my head, a great salad I’ve made in the past included salad leaves, fig, pear, and blue cheese," says Kajani. "Divine." We agree.
Yet another nutritional superstar, figs pack about 2.9 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit. That means that even just one large fig could account for 10 percent of your daily recommended intake. They make a great option for baking as well (Fig Newtons, anyone?). Rumsey suggests baking fruit into a tart, pie, or crisp. You'll still get the fiber benefits.
If you're looking to branch out into more geographically exotic produce, check out guava. With three grams of fiber per fruit, guava is an ideal addition to your breakfast bowl or healthy dessert lineup. As one of the highest-fiber fruits by density, it’s well worth adding to your tropical fruit repertoire.
Much like with blackberries and raspberries (or, let’s face it, just about any of the fruits on this list), eating strawberries hardly requires a twist of the arm. But in case you need one more reason to add this luscious pick to your diet, strawberries contain about two grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit.
Mixing up your produce picks from week to week will keep your fruit-eating habit from feeling rote. "The fiber content varies slightly between fruits, so your best bet is to try to eat a variety of fruit week over week," says Rumsey. "For example, one week you may buy apples and strawberries; then the next week try to get different fruits like tart cherries and kiwis."
Pomegranate juice has a well-known reputation for being both great for you and delicious, so it follows that the rest of the fruit would have great benefits as well. This natural wonder packs over 11 grams of fiber per fruit. Even just the seeds will pack a nutritious punch. "Pomegranate seeds can be added to savory salads for a nutritious and contrasting yet complementary flavor," suggests Kajani.
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is really not a lie, friends. At 4.5 grams per medium-sized fruit, you'll have almost 20 percent of your daily value knocked out with just one. Eat it whole or slice it up—just be sure to leave the skin on, because that's where most of the fibrous goodness exists.
Another seed-filled fruit like the pomegranate, passionfruit also contains 10g of fiber per fruit, making it a big bang for the buck. Try making your own popsicles by blending one with milk or yogurt and then freezing, suggests Rumsey, so you can have a little taste of the tropics whenever you like.
If you're trying to up your fiber intake, it's imperative that you do it gradually, says Kajani. "The gut microbiome is not equipped to deal with a sudden injection of fiber if it’s not something you regularly consume. The microbiome needs time to adjust to the increased ingestion of fiber and build up the bacterial populations to digest the fiber," she cautions. Soups and smoothies are a great way to start because the fiber is already partially broken down by blending or cooking, which will keep your gut healthy.