These days, the importance of consuming dietary fiber is fairly common knowledge. Most of us make an effort to add fiber to our diets, whether it be through a fiber-rich cereal or daily multi-vitamin.
But, even if you’re taking strides to include fiber in your diet, you’re likely not getting enough! On average, Americans eat about 15 grams of fiber a day. That number should be between 25 and 35 grams, or more. And not just from supplements or vitamins, but from whole foods.
Fortunately, there are many ways to incorporate more fiber into your diet. Keep reading to learn about what fiber is, why it matters, and some high-fiber foods to add to your grocery list.
What Is Fiber?
Dietary Fiber is a carbohydrate found in plants such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. Unlike other nutrients such as proteins and fats, fiber cannot be digested by the body. It simply passes through the stomach, small intestine, and colon.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. They are important for different reasons, and many foods contain both types. Soluble fibers can be dissolved in water, which helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibers cannot be dissolved in water, which adds necessary bulk to stool, promoting regularity of the digestive tract.
Why Is Fiber Important?
Beyond fiber’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, balance cholesterol, and promote regularity, adequate fiber consumption has been linked to a reduction in the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and many gastrointestinal conditions such as colorectal ulcers, hiatal hernias, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diverticular disease, and hemorrhoids. Plus, by reducing the risk of constipation, fiber helps improve gut health. High fiber foods are also generally healthier and more filling than processed, low-fiber foods.
Try These High Fiber Foods
High Fiber Fruits
- 1 cup of Raspberries: 8 grams of fiber
- 1 Pear: 5.5 grams of fiber
- 1 Apple: 4.5 grams of fiber
- 1 Banana: 3 grams of fiber
- 1 Orange: 3 grams of fiber
High Fiber Vegetables
- 1 cup of Green Peas: 9 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Broccoli: 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Turnips: 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Brussel Sprouts: 4 grams of fiber
- 1 Potato: 4 grams of fiber
High Fiber Grains
- 1 cup of Spaghetti: 6 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Barley: 6 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Quinoa: 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Oatmeal: 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Brown Rice: 3.5 grams of fiber
High Fiber Legumes
- 1 cup of Split Peas: 16 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Lentils: 15.5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Black Beans: 15 grams of fiber
- 1 cup of Baked Beans: 10 grams of fiber
High Fiber Nuts/Seeds
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of Chia Seeds: 10 grams of fiber
- 1 ounce of Flax Seeds: 8 grams of fiber
- 1 ounce of Pumpkin Seeds: 5 grams of fiber
- 1 ounce of Almonds: 4 grams of fiber
- 1 ounce of Pistachios: 3 grams of fiber
If you are suffering from symptoms of a GI condition, the experienced team of medical professionals at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you using the most advanced treatment options available. We strive to provide the highest quality, most cost-effective GI care in the region. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Gastroenterology Health Partners today at a location near you.