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The Many Benefits of Fiber E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

What is Fiber?sources-of-fiber-in-food

Dietary fiber (fibre), sometimes called roughage, is the indigestible portion of plant foods that that the body does not absorb.

Fiber pushes food through the digestive system, absorbing water and easing defecation. Fiber acts by changing the nature of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract, and by changing how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed by the body.

Benefits of Dietary Fiber

  • Fiber helps to keep our bowel movements regular and ward off certain diseases, such as colon cancer.

  • Fiber helps transport cholesterol out of our body, reducing our risk for heart disease.

  • Fiber makes us feel full sooner and stays in our stomach longer than other substances we eat, slowing down our rate of digestion and keeping us feeling full longer.

  • Fiber also reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes.

How to Increase Your Intake of Fiber

To increase your intake of fiber, eat more whole and natural foods.  Some good examples of fiber-rich foods include:

FRUIT/VEGETABLE

AMOUNT

TOTAL FIBER (grams)

Apples with skin

1 medium

5.00

Apricot

3 medium

0.98

Apricots, dried

5 pieces

2.89

Banana

1 medium

3.92

Blueberries

1 cup

4.18

Cantaloupe, cubes

1 cup

1.28

Figs, dried

2 medium

3.74

Grapefruit

1/2 medium

6.12

Orange, navel

1 medium

3.40

Peach

1 medium

2.00

Peaches, dried

3 pieces

3.18

Pear

1 medium

5.08

Plum

1 medium

1.00

Raisins

1.5 oz box

1.60

Raspberries

1 cup

8.34

Strawberries

1 cup

3.98

Avocado (fruit)

1 medium

11.84

Beets, cooked

1 cup

2.85

Beet greens

1 cup

4.20

Bok choy, cooked

1 cup

2.76

Broccoli, cooked

1 cup

2.30

Brussels sprouts

1 cup

2.84

Cabbage, cooked

1 cup

4.20

Carrot

1 medium

2.00

Carrot, cooked

1 cup

5.22

Cauliflower, cooked

1 cup

3.43

Cole slaw

1 cup

4.00

Collard greens, cooked

1 cup

2.58

Corn, sweet

1 cup

4.66

Green beans

1 cup

3.95

Celery

1 stalk

1.02

Kale, cooked

1 cup

7.20

Onions, raw

1 cup

2.88

Peas, cooked

1 cup

8.84

Peppers, sweet

1 cup

2.62

Pop corn, air-popped

3 cups

3.60

Potato, baked w/skin

1 medium

4.80

Spinach, cooked

1 cup

4.32

Summer squash, cooked

1 cup

2.52

Sweet potato, cooked

1 cup

5.94

Swiss chard, cooked

1 cup

3.68

Tomato

1 medium

1.00

Winter squash, cooked

1 cup

5.74

Zucchini, cooked

1 cup

2.63

 

 

 

CEREAL, GRAINS, PASTA

AMOUNT

TOTAL FIBER (grams)

Bran cereal

1 cup

19.94

Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

2.00

Oats, rolled dry

1 cup

12.00

Pasta, whole wheat

1 cup

6.34

Rice, dry brown

1 cup

7.98

 

 

 

BEANS, NUTS, SEEDS

AMOUNT

TOTAL FIBER (grams)

Almonds

1 oz

4.22

Black beans, cooked

1 cup

14.92

Cashews

1 oz

1.00

Flax seeds

3 tbs

6.97

Garbanzo beans, cooked

1 cup

5.80

Kidney beans, cooked

1 cup

13.33

Lentils, red cooked

1 cup

15.64

Lima beans, cooked

1 cup

13.16

Peanuts

1 oz

2.30

Pistachio nuts

1 oz

3.10

Pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup

4.12

Soybeans, cooked

1 cup

7.62

Sunflower seeds

1/4 cup

3.00

Walnuts

1 oz

3.08

Important Notes about Fiber

Adding more fiber to your diet will likely help you lose weight and improve your health, but do it gradually. Rapid increases in consumption of fiber may result in gas or diarrhea.

And be sure to drink plenty of fluids when adding fiber to your diet. While fiber is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it. 

 

 
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