5 Fabulous Fiber-Rich Fall Foods

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Are you getting enough fiber? Probably not. According to the Institute of Medicine, women need 25 grams of fiber per day, and men 38 grams. Yet Americans average just 15 grams of fiber daily. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and is key to good digestion. Check out these tasty, fiber-rich treats perfect for fall.


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Breakfast oatmeal

For a heartier, porridge-type oatmeal, choose steel-cut oats. Cook a pot on Sunday night, then microwave individual servings throughout the week. Adding naturally sweet raisins reduces the need for sugar and other refined sweeteners, which can exacerbate chronic inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Fiber content: One cup cooked oatmeal with 1/4 cup raisins provides 5 grams of fiber.


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Pears

Did you know pears are 20 percent higher in fiber than apples? Autumn is prime time for both of these fruits, with lots of crisp, American-grown varieties available. And any place apples can go, pears can follow. Pear crisp, anyone? Fiber content: One medium pear is equal to 5.5 grams of fiber.


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Lentils

Tired of lentil soup? Try this salad. Cook one cup dried lentils until soft; drain. Sauté six chopped garlic cloves in 1/3 cup olive oil until soft. Remove from heat, and add 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour over lentils and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature. Just one-half cup of lentils gives you 5.2 grams of fiber.


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Mashed winter squash

Choose butternut, acorn, Kabocha, or other orange-flesh varieties. Cut in half, scrape out seeds and microwave until soft. Scoop out and mash flesh. These squashes are naturally sweet and need only salt to season, plus a drizzle of maple syrup. One cup of mashed squash provides 7 grams of fiber.


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Chickpeas

Think beyond hummus! Reach for fiber-rich roasted chickpeas instead of nuts. Sauté one 15-ounce can drained chickpeas in olive oil with one teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder for two minutes. Transfer to a baking pan and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 25 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Just 1/2 cup gives you 5.5 grams of fiber.