If you eat a healthy diet that emphasizes plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, then chances are you’re already eating plenty of high-fiber foods. However, if you’re following a low-carb diet, such as the keto diet, you might be falling into the trap of thinking high-fiber foods contain too many net carbs to make it on to the menu. But getting plenty of fiber in your diet is important for maintaining optimal health. So if you’re looking for high-fiber low-carb foods that can not only boost your health but also help you with your weight-loss goals, then read on. Because we’ve got 21 perfect ways to increase your dietary fiber and still maintain a low-carb lifestyle.
While you may think of fiber as simply the stuff that helps keep your pipes moving properly, there’s so much more to this dietary roughage than maintaining a squeaky clean colon.
First of all, fiber is actually made up of two different types: soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fiber is the type we’re most familiar with, as it’s the one responsible for adding bulk to stool and moving waste products on their merry way through the digestive tract. It’s also the form of fiber most closely associated with colon cancer prevention.
But soluble fiber has a number of important health benefits as well. In fact, it’s soluble fiber that’s responsible for aiding weight loss. It does this by turning into a gel-like substance in the presence of water, which allows you to feel fuller longer.
Soluble fiber is also the type of fiber that helps keep cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the healthy range—a definite plus if you’re interested in reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
What’s more, soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, which means it provides food for good gut bacteria. And maintaining healthy levels of good gut bacteria is known to benefit everything from digestive tract health to immune function and mood.
If you’re looking for the best low-carb ways to increase your daily fiber intake, these 21 choices can’t be beat.
Avocados are chock-full of the same healthy fats found in olive oil, which is one reason they’re so popular among people following the keto diet. But did you know these fatty fruits are a great source of fiber too?
In fact, one avocado contains over 50% of the RDA of fiber—and that’s in addition to substantial amounts of 17 vitamins and minerals as well as free radical–scavenging phytochemicals.
Whether chopped for salads, mashed for guacamole, or sliced for sandwiches, avocados make a great addition to any meal plan.
Like other members of the cruciferous family of vegetables, collard greens are packed with nutrition. Just 1 cup of these leafy green veggies contains an astounding 308% of the RDA of vitamin A and 1,045% of the RDA of vitamin K! And that’s on top of their impressive fiber content, which is equivalent to 21% of the RDA.
Collard greens have a long history of use in Southern cooking and are traditionally prepared with either bacon or ham. But they’re also perfect for steaming or sautéing and pair well with olive oil, garlic, and lemon.
Brussels sprouts are another member of the cruciferous family of vegetables that pack a healthy punch. With 16% of the RDA of fiber and twice as much vitamin C as a small orange in every cup, Brussels sprouts are a healthy and low-carb addition to any meal plan and are great roasted or chopped raw for salads.
Another vegetable with more vitamin C than an orange is the bell pepper. With 200% of the RDA of vitamin C in every cup, this popular veggie—which is botanically a fruit—also contains 10% of the RDA of fiber.
Bell peppers are frequently used as a flavor booster in homemade dishes and processed foods alike and are perfect sautéed, roasted, raw, and everything in between.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free or low-carb alternative to traditional grain-based flours, it’s hard to go wrong with coconut flour. Made from the dried and ground flesh of coconuts, coconut flour contains 20 grams of fiber and 40% of the RDA of iron in just half a cup.
Coconut flour is also a good source of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs—fatty acids that may assist with weight loss by decreasing appetite and speeding up fat metabolism.
With almost 3 grams of fiber and fewer than 20 calories per cup, eggplant is one member of the nightshade family that won’t pack on the pounds. This low-carb vegetable—which is technically a fruit—is also rich in a number of antioxidants that are known to fight free radicals and may even help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Artichokes are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, so they not only help keep you regular, but they also feed good gut bacteria. And just a half cup of artichoke hearts contains almost 30% of the RDA of fiber. Artichokes are light on calories too, with the same serving containing only about 45 calories.
Like artichokes, flaxseeds are also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. They pack a large amount of fiber in a small space, with just 1 tablespoon of whole flaxseeds containing almost 3 grams of fiber.
What’s more, flaxseeds are the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA—an omega-3 fatty acid that benefits eye, heart, and brain health while boosting mood and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
When it comes to seeds rich in fiber, chia seeds contain even more than flaxseeds. In fact, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber. But that’s not all. Chia seeds are also a great source of protein, with 5 grams in every tablespoon. And they’re rich in antioxidants, including the potent flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which may help prevent allergies, protect joints, and even fight cancer.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about berries may be sugar. But there’s much more to berries than that. In fact, your average berry is really just a superfood in disguise.
Blackberries are no different.
This common berry is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and even omega-3 fatty acids. Just 1 cup of blackberries contains 31% of the RDA of fiber, half the day’s supply of vitamin C, and 36% of the RDA of vitamin K.
Blackberries are also a rich source of several powerful polyphenols, and a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that blackberries contain more antioxidants than 50 other types of foods tested (1).
When it comes to berries, raspberries are no slouch either. A single cup of raspberries contains 32% of the RDA of fiber and 54% of the RDA of vitamin C. And, like blackberries, raspberries are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and free radical–fighting polyphenols.
Another fruit that’s commonly referred to as a vegetable is zucchini. Like other fruits and veggies on our list, this member of the gourd family is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, with 1 cup supplying 5% of the RDA of fiber, 35% of the RDA of vitamin C, and fewer than 20 calories.
Zucchini is also a great source of the carotenoids needed for eye health as well as a soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its ability to lower cholesterol.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the most nutritious seeds in the plant kingdom. One ounce of these flavorful green seeds not only contains almost 2 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein, but is also a good source of healthy fats, carotenoids, and several important minerals, including magnesium and zinc.
Plus, pumpkin seeds have been found in studies to reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol and even symptoms related to enlarged prostate and overactive bladder. And they may also help prevent certain types of cancer.
What’s more, pumpkin seeds are a natural source of the amino acid tryptophan, which plays a role in maintaining healthy sleep patterns.
When it comes to radishes, you could conceivably nosh on this healthy root vegetable all day and not gain an ounce. That’s because half a cup contains just 9 calories! But what radishes lack in calories, they make up for in nutrition.
For example, that same half a cup provides 4% of the RDA of fiber and 14% of the RDA of vitamin C. Radishes are also a member of the cruciferous family, which is known for its powerful cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
Kale is another member of the cruciferous family of vegetables that packs a punch. You might even say that kale is nature’s multivitamin. In addition to 5% of the RDA of fiber and just 33 calories, 1 cup of this cabbage variety contains 206% of the RDA of vitamin A, 134% of the RDA of vitamin C, and 684% of the RDA of vitamin K.
Kale is also chock-full of the cancer-fighting flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol and the eye-protecting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
You may have noticed a theme in our list of high-fiber low-carb foods. And that’s a heavy emphasis on cruciferous vegetables.
What can we say? When it comes to nutrition, you’d be hard-pressed to find another group of vegetables as jam-packed as this one.
But no list of cruciferous veggies would be complete without a shout-out to cauliflower.
No surprise here.
Because a cup of cauliflower contains 10% of the RDA of fiber, 77% of the RDA of vitamin C, 20% of the RDA of vitamin K, and 14% of the RDA of folate—all while packing just 25 little calories. And that’s in addition to the potent phytonutrients the cruciferous family is known for.
With stats like these, it’s no wonder cauliflower is popping up in everything from keto rice to pizza crust.
One of the healthiest vegetables in the world that’s not a member of the cruciferous family is asparagus. However, although available in white, green, and purple varieties, green asparagus is considered the most nutritious.
Just 1 cup of green asparagus contains 11% of the RDA of fiber, 20% of the RDA of vitamin A, 70% of the RDA of vitamin K, 17% of the RDA of folate, and an impressive 6% of the RDA of protein. Asparagus is also rich in plant sterols as well as quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol.
Okay, we admit it. Sesame seeds are not the lightest fare out there. In fact, 1 ounce contains a whopping 158 calories. But that same ounce also contains 16% of the RDA of fiber and 9% of the RDA of protein.
Sesame seeds are also an especially good source of many important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and thiamine.
So while we’re not recommending you go out and gorge yourself on these fatty seeds, they can make a substantial contribution to your fiber intake if eaten in moderation.
A traditional Asian favorite that’s recently become more popular in the West, edamame is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy soy. Not only are these immature soybeans extremely high in both fiber and protein, but they also contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals.
One cup of edamame contains:
With its large amount of fiber and protein as well as potential health benefits similar to those seen with other forms of soy, edamame can make a great addition to low-carb salads, soups, stews, and even snacks.
If you’re looking for healthy nuts to add to your low-carb lifestyle, look no further than almonds. With 14% of the RDA of fiber and 12% of the RDA of protein in just 1 ounce, a handful of almonds is one of the fastest ways to increase your protein and dietary fiber intake.
Almonds are also a great source of several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and manganese. In fact, that same ounce of almonds supplies 37% of the RDA of vitamin E and 32% of the RDA of manganese.
If you were wondering where broccoli was on our list of high-fiber low-carb foods, wonder no more. We couldn’t possibly close out our list without including the most well-known member of the cruciferous family.
It goes without saying that this poster child for cancer prevention is a great source of a number of important nutrients, including vitamin C (135% of the RDA in 1 cup), vitamin K (116% of the RDA in 1 cup), carotenoids, polyphenols, and glucosinolates. But broccoli is also a great source of fiber, supplying 9% of the RDA in every cup.
For all the health benefits fiber has to offer, health experts recommend that women aged 50 and younger get 21 grams of fiber each day, while those over 50 should consume about 25 grams. By contrast, men 50 and younger require much more, approximately 38 grams, with those under 50 needing about 30.
So if you’re on a low-carb diet and not eating enough fiber because you’re wary of the extra carbohydrates, remember that not all carbs are created equal. And fiber, unlike other types of carbs, is absolutely necessary for good health.
What’s more, fiber passes through the digestive tract largely intact, yet leaves a host of health benefits in its wake, from improved levels of good gut bacteria to lower cholesterol.
Which means you don’t have to worry about fiber getting in the way of your weight-loss goals. On the contrary, it may just be the missing link in making all your weight-loss dreams come true.