9 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.


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Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkins seeds are packed with nutrition. They are a good source of polyunsaturated fat, antioxidants, and calcium. They are also a good source of magnesium, which can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. They are high in both protein and fiber — just 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds has 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Roast them yourself in the oven or buy them already roasted in the produce section of your grocery store.


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Brussels sprouts

Not only are Brussels sprouts rich in nutrients such as vitamin C and K and a good source of folate and potassium, they also have more protein than your average vegetable (4 grams in one cup). A good source of fiber (3.3 grams in one cup), Brussels sprouts are one of the cruciferous vegetables that have been linked to a decreased risk of cancer. Try drizzling them with olive oil and garlic and roasting them in the oven for a tasty side dish.


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Dried figs

You can easily satisfy your sweet craving with this naturally sweet food — and you only need to eat four dried figs to get 3 grams of dietary fiber. The fiber in dried figs is a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are important for both intestinal and cardiovascular health. Figs are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, and potassium. Sprinkle a few on top of your cereal, stir into yogurt, or add to your salad.


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Sugar snap peas

While peas alone are more of a starchy vegetable, the edible pods of sugar snap peas help to supply 3 grams of dietary fiber in just one cup. Sugar snap peas are also a good source of vitamin C, K, magnesium, iron, folate, and lutein, which is important for eye health.