I Got the Fiber!

I Got the Fiber!


I Got the Fiber!

Got fiber? Fiber is an essential element in a complete nutrition rich diet with a host of health-promoting benefits. First, fiber helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing digestive issues and disease such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, and diverticulitis. Some fiber is fermented in the colon and provides a prebiotic effect – feeding the beneficial bacteria of the gut that helps regulate our immune systems.

Fiber is very important for anyone with diabetes or blood sugar management issues as it slows the absorption of sugar and helps improve blood sugar levels. Another benefit is that fiber may help lower total blood cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation. Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Fiber is classified as soluble or insoluble fiber.

Recommendations for More Fiber
• Aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. This equals to at least 5-10 grams per meal and/or snack
• Jump start your day with a fiber rich breakfast
• Switch to whole grains
• Bulk up your baked goods by using whole-grain flour
• Add vegetables to soups and sauces, add beans and legumes to salads
• Drink plenty of water, especially when increasing fiber in your diet. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces of water, for example, if an individual weighs 150lbs, drink 75 oz of water daily

Food Fact
The Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults:

Age 50 or younger
Men 38 grams
Women 25 grams

Age 51 or older
30 grams
21 grams

Soluble Versus Insoluble Fiber
Soluble fibers attract water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full. Soluble fiber also tends to be easier on the gut if you are dealing with digestive issues. Foods high in soluble fiber include:

• Apples
• Oats
• Beans
• Carrots
• Winter squash
• Starchy tubers (yams, sweet potatoes)
• Beets
• Plantains

Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water, so they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. Foods high in insoluble fiber:

• Greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, etc.)
• Green beans
• Bell peppers
• Eggplant
• Celery
• Onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, garlic
• Cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower

Refer to the guidelines above and use the list below for some examples of amounts in common foods.

Fruits Serving size Total fiber (grams)*
Raspberries 1 cup 8.0
Pear, with skin 1 medium 5.5
Apple, with skin 1 medium 4.4
Strawberries (halves) 1 1/4 cup 3.8
Grains, cereal & pasta Serving size Total fiber (grams)*
Bran flakes 3/4 cup 5.3
Oat bran muffin 1 medium 5.2
Oatmeal, quick, regular or instant, cooked 1 cup 4.0
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 3.5
Legumes, nuts & seeds Serving size Total fiber (grams)*
Split peas, cooked 1 cup 16.3
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 15.6
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 15.0
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 13.2
Vegetables Serving size Total fiber (grams)*
Artichoke, cooked 1 medium 10.3
Peas, cooked 1 cup 8.8
Broccoli, boiled 1 cup 5.1
Turnip greens, boiled 1 cup 5.0

Quick Tip
Include a high-fiber food at each meal daily. Fiber supplements contain small amounts per serving. For example, a serving of Metamucil contains only 3 grams of fiber, while a cup of black beans provides nearly 15 grams!