Dietary Fiber

Does Your Diet Include Enough Dietary Fiber?

Dietary fiber is essential for a healthy diet and offers many health benefits. Here’s how to include more in your diet.

Dayton Gastroenterology recommends consuming 25-35 grams of fiber and drinking plenty of liquids every day to prevent constipation. Some people can tolerate even more. The amount and type of fiber that benefits you the most is variable and must be determined by trial and error.

By simply adding 10-20 grams of fiber per day you will improve bowel habits and colon health. This can be achieved by modifying your diet or adding fiber supplements. The lack of dietary fiber and fluids is a contributing factor to the development of hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

What is Fiber?

Fiber is carbohydrates found in plants that cannot be broken down all the way and thus pass through the intestine partially undigested. There are two kinds of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both are important for proper bowel function.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel in the intestines that increases the amount of water that stays in the colon and coats the intestinal walls which decreases cholesterol absorption.

Insoluble fiber passes through the digestive system almost intact, adding bulk to the stool and acting as a sponge to absorb water.

Why should I eat fiber?

  • Cardiovascular health: Soluble fiber can help lower serum cholesterol levels by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol. This may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Control of diabetes and blood sugar: Fiber helps to regulate or slow glucose absorption.
  • Preventing constipation and diverticulitis: Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool, keeping stool soft and the bowels moving regularly.
  • Weight loss: Both types of fiber make you feel full, without adding a lot of calories. Fiber-rich foods tend to be low in fat too.
  • Cancer prevention: Fiber-rich foods contain phytochemicals, known to reduce cancer risks. Fiber may also help detoxify cancer-causing substances.
  • Overall health: Foods with fiber have lots of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Fiber also helps our bowels to function properly on a regular basis.

Your Best Dietary Fiber Sources

Fruits (serving size is one piece or as noted)


Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Figs (3)                                  5.3

Orange                                       3.1

Applesauce                             1.5

Apple w/ skin                      4.7

Kiwi                                         2.6

Peach                                      1.4

Pears                                     4.3

Strawberries (6)                    2.0

Cantaloupe (1/4)                   1.1

Dates (5)                               3.7

Raisins (1/4 c)                        1.9

Pineapple (1/2 c)                   0.9

Apricots (10)                        3.6

Banana                                    2.4

Grapefruit (1/2)                     0.8

Prunes (5)                             3.5

Blueberries (25)                    1.7

Watermelon (1 c)                  2.0

Cranberries (1/4 c)              2.0

Blackberries I1/2 c)              4.4

Grapes (20)                             1.0

Plums                                      1

 

 

Vegetables (serving size is 1/2 cup unless noted)


Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Baked Potato w/ skin           4.2

Okra                                          1.6

Brussels Sprouts                      2.0

Sweet Potato                         3.4

Broccoli                                   4.0

Green beans                             2.1

Corn                                         5.0

Spinach (1 c)                           3.5

Tomato (1/2)                            0.8

Peas                                        2.9

Turnip                                       2.0

Celery                                         3.0

Winter squash                       2.9

Beets                                         2.5

Green pepper                           1.2

Carrot (1)                                2.3

Cabbage                                   1.5

Lettuce  (1 c)                             0.8

Asparagus                               1.7

Cauliflower                              1.4

Mushrooms                               1.5

Legumes (serving size is 3/4 cup of cooked beans)


Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Almonds (1 T)                        0.6

Baked Beans (4 oz)              8.0

Tofu                                        1.4

Pinto beans                           14.2

Lima beans                            10.3

Lentils                                    5.6

Kidney beans                        13.8

Navy beans                            9.0

Split peas                               4.1

Black-eyed peas                   12.3

Chickpeas                               7.1

 

*Grains (serving size is 1 cup unless noted)


Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Fiber (g)

Barley                                     8.6

Quinoa                                   4.6

Wheat                                     3.1

Bulgur                                    8.1

Brown rice                             3.3

White rice                               1.3

Bran meal (1 T)                    2.0

White Bread (2)                     1.9

Wheat Bread (2)                    6.0

All-Bran (1/2 c)                    10.4

Cornflakes                               2.6

Raisin Bran                              3.0

Oatmeal                                7.0

Fiber 1 (1/2 c)                        14.0

Fiber 1 Bar (1)                         9.0

Flax Meal (2 T)                      4.0

Oatbran (1/3 c)                     6.0

 

*Mention of brand names is for recognition purposes and does not necessarily imply and endorsement by Dayton Gastroenterology. Similarly, Dayton Gastroenterology has no financial connection to the various cereal producers of the products mentioned.

Supplements

You may add 6 grams of fiber with 1/3 cup of whole oat bran or 1/4 cup of wheat bran, psyllium (a seed native to Iran and India), Metamucil, Citrucel (methylcellulose), Konsyl, Benefiber or Fibersure.

Warnings

We recommend rotating the food and fiber types. Avoid foods to which you have food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities. Gradually increase the fiber in your diet until your bowel movements are optimum for you (consult your physician for information and guidance). A temporary increase in intestinal gas or bloating is to be expected. Fennel seed may help reduce gas. Diabetics should not change their diet without consulting their physicians as fiber may affect your blood sugar. Excessive fiber via supplements may decrease the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium. Finally, be patient as it may take 6 weeks to see the ultimate benefit of adding fiber to your diet. For persistent constipation or change in the caliber of your stool see your doctor.

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Dayton Gastroenterology, Inc.

  • Beavercreek (Sylvania) Office & Endoscopy Center - 75 Sylvania Drive, Beavercreek, OH 45440 Phone: 937-320-5050 Fax: 937-320-5060
  • Beavercreek (Indian Ripple) Office & Endoscopy Center - 4200 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek, OH 45440 Phone: 937-320-5050 Fax: 937-320-5060
  • Englewood Office & Endoscopy Center - 9000 N. Main Street Suite 405, Englewood, OH 45415 Phone: 937-320-5050 Fax: 937-320-5060
  • Miamisburg Office - 415 Byers Road Suite 100, Miamisburg, OH 45342 Phone: 937-320-5050 Fax: 937-320-5060

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