High Fiber Diet

What is fiber? Fiber is the portion of food that is not digestible. It is sometimes called "roughage." It helps to bulk up stools and make them softer. It also keeps the intestinal muscles well toned.

Fiber Facts:

  • You should eat at least 25-35 grams of fiber per day
  • Most Americans only eat 10-20 grams per day
  • Fiber is essential for keeping your digestive tract healthy

Why eat fiber?

Fiber is important in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions:

  • Reduces symptoms of diverticulosis by increasing the bulk of stools therefore reducing the amount of pressure in the colon.
  • Relieves constipation and reduces hemorrhoids by making stools bulkier and softer. Easier passage will reduce the pressure on the hemorrhoidal veins.
  • Aids in weight reduction.

When high fiber foods are consumed in place of foods high in fat and sugar, the total caloric intake will be reduced. Because of the bulk of high fiber foods, they also fill you up much faster.

Fiber may reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in some patients by normalizing stools and intestinal movement. Fiber absorbs the extra water of diarrhea and adds bulk to constipated stools.

Fiber lowers blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels therefore helping with heart disease and diabetes.

Adding more fiber to your diet

  • Increase your daily fiber intake slowly. This allows time for your colon to adjust to your new dietary habits and will reduce the symptoms of gas and bloating.
  • Eat a variety of fiber-rich foods in reasonable amounts. This includes fruits, vegetables, cereals and whole grains.
  • Read nutritional labels for dietary fiber content. Do not get your fiber intake from only one or two sources. Fresh fruit and vegetables usually contain more fiber than their canned counterparts. Bran cereals have the highest amount of fiber as compared to those that are sugarcoated.
  • Increase your fluid intake when you increase your fiber intake. Otherwise its effect can be reversed and it can lead to constipation and stomach pains. You should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
  • Add a fiber-bulking agent to your daily routine. These can be purchased at any drug store where medications are sold.

 

Examples of High Fiber Food

Goal 20-35 grams per day

Common servings of food containing dietary fiber are shown below. A variety of foods should be chosen every day. Foods that are good sources of fiber are typically low in fat and calories.

 

Serving size  Grams of dietary fiber

1 medium        bran muffin-- 3

1 slice             whole wheat bread-- 2

1 slice             white bread-- 1

1 slice             pumpernickel bread-- 1

1 slice             rye bread-- 1

1 slice             raisin bread-- <1

4 squares        saltines-- 0

 

CEREALS AND PASTA

1/2 cup           General Mills Fiber One Original-- 14

1/2 cup           Kellogg's All-Bran Extra Fiber-- 13

1/2 cup           Kellogg's All-Bran-- 10

1 1/4 cup        Post Shredded Wheat'nBran-- 8

1 cup              oatmeal-- 8

1 cup              Kellogg's Raisin Bran-- 7

1 cup              whole wheat pasta-- 6

1 cup              Post Fruit and Bran-- 6

1 cup              oat bran-- 6

3/4 cup           Post Bran Flakes-- 5

3/4 cup           General Mills Raisin Nut Bran-- 5

1 cup              cooked brown rice-- 4

1 cup              General Mills Cherrios-- 3

1 cup              General Mills Wheaties-- 3

1 cup              pasta-- 3

1/2 cup           Post Grape Nuts-- 2

1 cup              popcorn-- 2

1 cup              egg noodles-- 2

1 1/3 cup        General Mills Total-- 1

1 cup              Kellogg's Corn Flakes-- 1

1 cup              cooked white rice-- 0

 

LEGUMES

1/2 cup           kidney beans-- 9

1/2 cup           baked beans-- 7

1/2 cup           navy beans-- 5

1/2 cup           pinto beans-- 5

1/2 cup           lentils-- 2

 

VEGETABLES

1/2 cup          cooked frozen peas-- 4

1 medium       baked potato (with skin)-- 4

1/2 cup          cooked broccoli tops-- 3

1/2 cup          cooked young carrots-- 3

1/2 cup          cooked corn-- 3

1/2 medium    fresh avocado-- 2

1/2 cup          cooked green beans-- 2

1/2 cup          Brussels sprouts-- 2

1/2 cup          cooked eggplant-- 2

1/2 medium    cooked sweet potato-- 2

1/2 cup           raw cabbage-- 2

1/2 cup           raw bean sprouts-- 1

1/2 cup           raw lettuce-- 1

1/2 cup           sliced raw mushrooms-- 1

1 medium       dill pickle-- 1

1/2 cup           mashed potatoes-- 1

10 medium     french fried potatoes-- 1

1/2                 fresh tomato-- 1

1 stalk            raw celery-- <1

6 slices           raw cucumber-- <1

2 rings            green pepper-- <1

1/2 cup          raw onions-- <1

 

FRUIT AND NUTS

3.5 ounces      dried figs-- 18

3.5 ounces      prunes-- 8

3.5 ounces      raspberries-- 7

1/4 cup           almonds-- 5

1 medium       apple (with skin)-- 3

1 medium       banana-- 3

1/2 cup          blackberries-- 3

1 medium      nectarine--  3

1 medium      peach (with skin)-- 3

1/4 cup         roasted peanuts-- 3

1 cup            strawberries-- 3

1                   pear (with skin)-- 2

1/4 cup         cantaloupe-- 2

10 medium    olives-- 2

1 medium      orange-- 2

2 TBSP          smooth peanut butter-- 2

1 medium      tangerine--2

1/4 cup         walnut pieces--2

1 medium      apricot--1

10 large         cherries--1

1/2 medium   grapefruit--1

1/2 cup         pineapple--1

2 TBSP          raisins--1

2 medium      plums-- <1

1/2 cup         orange juice--0