Fiber plays an important role in our health. Well-known benefits of dietary fiber include the prevention of constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis, as well as weight management. In addition, soluble fiber can help decrease blood cholesterol levels. With the recommended daily fiber intake at 38 grams for adult males (19-50 years) and 25 grams for women, it is really handy to get to know some high fiber foods to make sure you get enough.
Understand the Fiber Claims
For a food item to be labeled as “high fiber,” it has to contain more than 5 grams of fiber per serving. “A good source of fiber” must contain 2.5-4.9 grams of fiber per serving, while a claim of “more” or “added fiber” means it contains at least 2.5 grams more fiber per serving than the reference food.
High Fiber Foods
Whole grain products are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Levels of fiber differ dramatically across brands and products, so make sure you always read the label and look for at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Here are some good ideas to start off your search:
- whole grain breads, buns, bagels, muffins
- breakfast cereals with at least 5 g of fiber per serving such as All Bran, Fiber One, Smart Bran, and Go Lean
- Cooked cereal such as Red River and Oat Bran
- whole-wheat pastas
- whole grains such as barley, popcorn, corn and brown rice
Fruits are excellent sources of many vitamins and antioxidants, but not all fruits are high in fiber, as some of them are mostly water. Choose these ones if you would like a fiber boost:
- dried fruits such as apricots, dates, prunes and raisins
- berries such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
- oranges, apple with skin, avocado, kiwi, mango and pear
Like fruits, vegetables are amazing sources of many nutrients but not necessarily high in fiber. The following are known for their high fiber contents:
- dark leafy greens such as spinach and swiss chard
- broccoli and cauliflower
- green peas
- dried peas and beans such as kidney beans, lima beans, black-eyed beans, chick peas and lentils
Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds come up just about everywhere in nutrition halls of fame, and why would fiber be an exception? Adding nuts and seeds, such as almonds, whole flaxseeds, and soy nuts to your diet is a delicious way to up your fiber intake.
The Bottom Line
Although it is important to add more fiber to your diet, make sure you don’t go overboard all at once! Add fiber slowly and gradually to avoid unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas,and cramps.