Nutrition for Life: Fiber: Are You Getting Enough? (WO1016)

Fiber is an important part of your diet. High-fiber diets have many benefits. Fiber comes from plants, and there are many delicious ways to include fiber in your diet.

Nutrition for Life: Fiber: Are You Getting Enough?

WHY EAT HIGH-FIBER FOODS

  • May help you from getting some types of cancer
  • Keeps you regular and prevents constipation
  • May help lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Helps you have a nutritious diet, since most fiber-rich foods are low in fat and high in nutrients

READING THE FOOD LABEL

When looking for foods high in fiber make sure the food has 2 grams of fiber or more per serving. Also look for foods labeled a “good”, “high” or “excellent” source of fiber.

Sources of Fiber

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grain breads and cereals
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOLUBLE AND INSOLUBLE FIBER?

The food label may list soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps with blood cholesterol, and insoluble fiber helps you keep regular. Both are important for your health. Here are some examples of foods that fall under each category:

SOLUBLE FIBER:

  • Legumes (kidney and other beans, peas)
  • Oatmeal and oat bran
  • Fruits (apples, oranges, pears, peaches and grapes)
  • Vegetables (sweet potatoes, white potatoes, squash and carrots)

INSOLUBLE FIBER:

  • Wheat bran and whole grains (bread, crackers, breakfast cereals)
  • Fruits and vegetables (strawberries, bananas, pears, green beans, broccoli and peppers)

SUGGESTIONS FOR FIBER-RICH MEALS

Breakfast

  • Raisin bran cereal or oatmeal with lowfat milk
  • Strawberries
  • Coffee or tea
  • Juice

Lunch

  • Sandwich on whole-wheat bread with tomato and lettuce
  • Apple or pear
  • Large salad
  • Juice or milk

Dinner

  • Whole-wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • Cooked mixed vegetables
  • Whole grain dinner roll
  • Lowfat milk

More fiber please!

  • Choose at least 3 servings of whole grains per day
  • Eat legumes (like beans or peas) two to three times per week
  • Use higher fiber ingredients such as bran in recipes
  • Serve whole fruits or vegetables instead of juice
  • Increase the fiber in your diet slowly. Aim to have some fiber at each meal, and drink lots of water.

HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD EAT EACH DAY

AGE          GROUPS     NEEDED FIBER

                   (years)              (grams)

Men           (19-50)                 38

                  (over 50)              28

Women      (19-50)                 25

                 (over 50)               22

Girls            (9-18)              22-25

Boys           (9-18)               25-31

FURTHER INFORMATION

American Heart Association

www.heart.org/HEARTORG

Enter “Fiber” in the search box

Mayo Clinic – Dietary fiber: An essential part of a healthy diet

www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033

National Institutes of Health

www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dietaryfiber.html

 

 

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