Healthy foods that are high in fiber include legumes, including split peas, lentils, black beans and lima beans; vegetables, such as artichokes, green peas and broccoli; and fruits, including apples, pears and bananas. Whole-grain products, such as whole-wheat pasta, barley, bran flakes and oat bran, are also high in fiber.
Nuts and seeds, including almonds, pecans, pistachios and sunflower seeds, are also good sources of fiber. Turnip greens and baked potatoes with the skin provide high levels of fiber as well.
The body cannot digest dietary fiber, so the fiber passes through the digestive systems quickly. This is helpful in preventing and relieving constipation. Fiber adds bulk to the diet, making people feel fuller and helping control weight. Consuming a high-fiber diet may reduce the chances of developing obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Intake of 21 to 25 grams of dietary fiber is ideal for women, while men should strive to consume 30 to 38 grams of fiber each day. The average person only consumes about 15 grams of fiber daily. It is best to add fiber to the diet slowly to avoid the development of gas and bloating and the associated discomfort. Consumption of some types of fiber may worsen symptoms of diverticulitis, so people with this condition need to discuss appropriate levels of fiber intake with their doctors.