Fiber 101

by Lauren on August 9, 2011

I find there is a lot of fiber hype out there these days, but do you know why it’s important to get enough, how much your daily fiber intake should be, and what the best sources are? I’ll tell you right now; eating a Fiber 1 granola bar daily is not the answer. 

There are two types of fiber: soluble (attracts water & keeps you feeling full) & insoluble (indigestible; adding bulk to prevent constipation). Both types of fiber are good for you and provide the following benefits: 

1. Healthy Digestion: fiber acts as bulk in your intestines to push things through if you know what I mean. But, it’s important to drink lots of water to keep things flowing; otherwise your food will just sit there. Ok, enough of that…too many mental pictures 

2. Stabilizes Blood Sugar levels: fiber actually slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which prevents your blood sugar from spiking and excessive secretion of insulin. Fiber tip: try adding ground flaxseed when making muffins, cookies or pancakes! 

3. Controls Hunger Levels: fiber keeps your blood sugar at a sustained level so your body is able to make efficient use of glucose, which provides you with energy for a longer period of time. High fiber food gives you more bang for your buck, and you’re left feeling satisfied longer. It’s like giving your body premium fuel instead of regular.  

So, how much fiber do we need? I would recommend anywhere between 30 – 50g of fiber per day. Women are typically smaller than men, and need less food; therefore, I would suggest 30-40g for women and 40-50g for men per day.

Ok, so what should you be eating to ensure you’re getting enough fiber? Here’s a list of the best soluble & insoluble sources, and how many grams of fiber are in each. 

Fruit
1 medium Apple (with skin): 3.5g
¼ cup Raisins: 3.1g
½ cup Raspberries: 3.1g
½ large Pear: 3.1g
3 Prunes: 3.0g
1 cup Strawberries: 3.0g
1 medium Orange: 2.6g
1 medium Banana: 2.4g 

Raw Vegetables
1 cup Spinach: 1.5g
½ cup Bean Sprouts: 1.5g
½ cup Mushrooms: 1.5g
1 medium Tomato: 1.2g
½ cup diced Celery: 1.1g 

Note: most raw vegetables are good sources of fiber, and lower in calories than fruit so you can eat more without affecting your caloric intake for the day 

Steamed Vegetables
1 cup Parsnips: 5.4g
1 cup Brussel Sprouts: 4.6g
1 cup Carrots: 4.6g
1 cup Broccoli: 4.4g
1 cup Spinach: 4.2g
1 cup Zucchini: 3.6g
1 medium Sweet Potato: 3.4g 

½ cup of Legumes
Kidney beans: 7.3g
Black beans: 6.0g
Chick peas: 6.0g
Navy beans: 6.0g
Peas: 4.7g
Lentils: 3.7g 

Cereal
1/3 cup of Bran Buds: 13.0g
1/3 cup All-Bran: 8.5g
2/3 cup Shredded Wheat with Bran: 8.0g
2/3 cup Raisin Bran: 4.0g
¾ cup Oatmeal: 1.6g

Rice, bread, pasta
¼ cup of Quinoa: 5g
½ cup of Wheatberries: 4g
½ cup of Whole Wheat Spaghetti: 3.9g
2 Rye crackers: 2.0g
1 slice Whole Wheat bread: 1.4g
½ cup cooked Brown Rice: 1.0g 

Nuts & Seeds
2 tbsp Chia seeds: 7.0g
2 tbsp ground Flax seed: 4.0g
10 Peanuts: 1.4g
10 Almonds: 1.0g

Happy Fiber Eating!

Share

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: