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!

Good food sources of fiber

What is fiber and what are some good sources for it?

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.

Dietitian-approved good fiber sources

Fresh fruit - berries

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.

Food Serving Fiber
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

Avocado

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.

Dried beans & peas

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.

Food Serving Fiber
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

Nuts and seeds

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.

Food Serving Fiber
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

Whole-grain tortillas and bread

The fiber content of whole-grain breads and tortillas varies greatly. Read the Nutrition Facts label before purchasing.

Food Serving Fiber
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

Non-starchy vegetables

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.

Food Serving Fiber
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

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?

Food Serving Fiber
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

Whole-Grain breakfast cereals

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.

Food Serving Fiber
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

What are the health benefits of plant-sourced fiber?

As fiber travels through the gut, it enhances health by:

How much fiber do I need each day?

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.

Pro tips about fiber Intake

-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.

Are you eating enough high-fiber veggies and fruits? Consider tracking with MyNetDiary to find out

You can easily track your fiber intake on MyNetDiary's web or mobile apps. Look for the PLAN section to select fiber for tracking.

A day's worth of good food sources of fiber (total fiber = 40 grams)

Breakfast
1 cup cooked rolled oats (4 grams) + 1/4 cup almonds (4 grams) + 2 tablespoons of raisins (1 gram)

Snack
1 cup strawberries (3 grams)

Lunch
Whole wheat sandwich bread (6 grams for most brands) + small pear (4 grams)

Snack
2 slices of WASA™ crackers (4 grams)

Dinner
1 cup of cooked whole wheat spaghetti (7 grams) + 1/2 cup sauce (2 grams) + garden salad (2 grams)

Dessert
1/2 cup raspberries (4 grams)

Adapted from original content from Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES

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Diabetes->Carbs & Carb Counting Nutrients->"Carbs: Fiber, Starch, & Sugar"
Mar 9, 2021
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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