Why you should eat good food sources of fiber every day for optimal health
- 3 Minutes Read
What is fiber and how do good sources of fiber enhance health? Here's what you need to know about it and foods that pack a fiber-rich punch!
A carbohydrate found in plant foods, dietary fiber is unique because your body cannot digest or extract energy from it. Fiber is vital for optimal health, yet many don't get enough daily fiber.
All fruits contain fiber, but some types provide more than others. When trying to boost fiber and control carbs and calories, think of fresh or frozen unsweetened berries. The standard portion size for berries is one cup compared to 1/2 cup for other fruits. You'll find this larger portion more filling if you are trying to lose weight and/or have diabetes.
|Raspberries, raw||1 cup||8 grams|
|Blackberries, raw||1 cup||7.6 grams|
|Boysenberries, frozen||1 cup||7 grams|
|Blueberries, raw||1 cup||3.6 grams|
|Strawberries, raw||1 cup, sliced||3.3 grams|
A high-fiber fruit, avocado is rich in heart-healthy fats and calories. One cup of cubed avocado contains 240 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrate, and 10 grams of fiber. If you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain, watch your portions.
Cooked dried beans and peas (legumes) are naturally high in fiber and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and protein. The standard portion size is 1/2 cup cooked, which contains about 100 calories.
|Navy beans||1/2 cup cooked||10 grams|
|Pinto beans||1/2 cup cooked||8 grams|
|Lentils||1/2 cup cooked||8 grams|
|Split peas||1/2 cup cooked||8 grams|
|Black beans||1/2 cup cooked||7 grams|
|Chickpeas/garbanzo beans||1/2 cup cooked||6 grams|
|White beans||1/2 cup cooked||6 grams|
Gluten-free, low in carbs, chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber. Like all seeds, chia is high in calories and heart-healthy fats. Chia seeds do not need to be ground up. Your body absorbs the beneficial nutrients from the whole seed. However, flax seeds must be ground for your body to reap all of the health benefits. Use MyNetDiary's Food Search feature to find the calories and macronutrients of your favorite nuts and seeds.
|Chia seed, black||1 tablespoon||5 grams|
|Almonds||1/4 cup||4.5 grams|
|Sunflower seeds||1/4 cup||3.6 grams|
|Pistachios||1/4 cup||3.2 grams|
|Flaxseed, ground||1 tablespoon||2 grams|
The fiber content of whole-grain breads and tortillas varies greatly. Read the Nutrition Facts label before purchasing.
|La Banderita Xtreme Soft Taco Flour Tortilla||1 tortilla||12 grams|
|Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Tortilla||1 tortilla||10 grams|
|Ole Xtreme Wellness High-Fiber Low-Carb Tortilla||1 tortilla||11 grams|
|Trader Joe's Low Carb High-Fiber Low-Fat Tortilla||1 tortilla||6 grams|
|Oroweat Double Fiber Bread||1 slice||4 grams|
Low in calories and high in fiber, non-starchy vegetables won't blow your calorie budget. The serving size for non-starchy vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked or one cup raw. One serving typically contains 20-30 calories and about five grams of carbohydrates along with vitamins and phytonutrients.
|Artichoke, cooked||1 medium||10 grams|
|Brussel sprouts, cooked||1 cup||6 grams|
|Broccoli, cooked||1 cup||5.5 grams|
|Asparagus, cooked||1 cup||4 grams|
|Okra, cooked||1 cup||4 grams|
Starchy vegetables are also rich in phytonutrients and fiber though contain more calories. Choose whole-food versions whenever possible. Did you know that winter squash has more fiber and fewer calories and carbohydrates than potatoes?
|Hubbard squash, baked||1/2 cup cubes||5 grams|
|Acorn squash, baked||1/2 cup cubes||4.5 grams|
|Green peas, boiled||1/2 cup||4.4 grams|
|Butternut squash, baked||1/2 cup cubes||3.3 grams|
Most dry breakfast cereals are highly processed, so be sure to look at the Nutrition Facts label, and choose those high in fiber and low in sugar and sodium.
Unprocessed whole-grain hot cereals contain fiber without the added sugar. Here's a short list of commonly consumed breakfast grains offering high fiber and low sugar.
|General Mills Fiber One Original Bran Cereal||1/2 cup||14 grams|
|Cooked oatmeal or rolled oats||1 cup||4 grams|
|Kellogg's All Bran Original Cereal||1/2 cup||10 grams|
|Oat bran cereal, cooked||1 cup||6-7 grams|
|Buckwheat groats, cooked||1 cup||5 grams|
As fiber travels through the gut, it enhances health by:
The Institute of Medicine (guidelines followed by MyNetDiary) recommends 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories consumed.
You can otherwise follow a basic rule of thumb: 25 grams of fiber per day for women, 38 grams of fiber per day for men.
If you eat a variety of plant foods, it's relatively easy to meet this recommended amount.
-High-fiber foods can cause some bloating and discomfort if you add too much too quickly. Keep track of your fiber and increase your intake by five grams or less in a day, working up to the 14 grams/1000 calories consumed.
-Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your bowels moving.
You can easily track your fiber intake on MyNetDiary's web or mobile apps. Look for the PLAN section to select fiber for tracking.
1 cup cooked rolled oats (4 grams) + 1/4 cup almonds (4 grams) + 2 tablespoons of raisins (1 gram)
1 cup strawberries (3 grams)
Whole wheat sandwich bread (6 grams for most brands) + small pear (4 grams)
2 slices of WASA™ crackers (4 grams)
1 cup of cooked whole wheat spaghetti (7 grams) + 1/2 cup sauce (2 grams) + garden salad (2 grams)
1/2 cup raspberries (4 grams)
Adapted from original content from Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES
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