We know fiber is required for our health. The American Heart Association, for example, recommends that we consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day. This is especially true for the younger generation. According to a study done at Northwestern University, eating a high-fiber diet is one of the most significant benefit factors for heart health among young to middle-aged people. Death from heart problems later in life is decreased by as much as 30% if you eat a high-fiber diet compared to those who eat a very low-fiber diet. Fiber is also known to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Although you can buy fiber-rich bars, these tend to contain high quantities of sugar and salt and are not optimal for health. It is better to get fiber from whole foods such as vegetables and grains. If you think you cannot eat that much food in a day, you can try fiber supplements, especially those that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is absorbed into the blood stream and contributes to heart health. (One caution: these supplements tend to generate gas in the intestines if you are not used to taking them. Start with small quantities.)
Here is a list of typical fiber contents in certain foods: Enjoy!
|Fruits||Serving size||Total fiber (in grams)|
|Raspberries||1 cup||8.0||Pear, with skin||1 medium||5.5||Apple, with skin||1 medium||4.4||Strawberries (halves)||1 1/4 cup||3.8||Banana||1 medium||3.1||Orange||1 medium||3.1||Figs, dried||2 medium||1.6||Raisins||2 tablespoons||1.0|
|Grains, cereals, & pasta||Serving size||Total fiber (in grams)||Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked||1 cup||6.2||Barley, pearled, cooked||1 cup||6.0||Bran flakes||3/4 cup||5.3||Oat bran muffin||1 medium||5.2||Oatmeal, quick, regular or instant, cooked||1 cup||4.0||Popcorn, air-popped||3 cups||3.5||Brown rice, cooked||1 cup||3.5||Bread, rye||1 slice||1.9||Bread, whole-wheat or multigrain||1 slice||1.9|
|Legumes, nuts, & seeds||Serving size||Total fiber (in grams)||Split peas, cooked||1 cup||16.3||Lentils, cooked||1 cup||15.6||Black beans, cooked||1 cup||15.0||Lima beans, cooked||1 cup||13.2||Baked beans, vegetarian, canned, cooked||1 cup||10.4||Sunflower seed kernels||1/4 cup||3.9||Almonds||1 ounce (23 nuts)||3.5||Pistachio nuts||1 ounce (49 nuts)||2.9||Pecans||1 ounce (19 halves)||2.7|
|Vegetables||Serving size||Total fiber (in grams)||Artichoke, cooked||1 medium||10.3||Peas, cooked||1 cup||8.8||Broccoli, boiled||1 cup||5.1||Turnip greens, boiled||1 cup||5.0||Sweet corn, cooked||1 cup||4.2||Brussels sprouts, cooked||1 cup||4.1||Potato, with skin, baked||1 medium||2.9||Tomato paste||1/4 cup||2.7||Carrot, raw||1 medium||1.7|
*This table is reproduced from the Mayo Clinic website (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fiber-foods/)
Northwestern University (2011, March 23). Load up on fiber now, avoid heart disease later.
Dietary Fiber Intake and Mortality in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Arch Intern Med, Feb 14, 201
Whole-Grain, Cereal Fiber, Bran, and Germ Intake and the Risks of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease%u2013Specific Mortality Among Women With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Circulation, 2010