vector icon of an arrow pointing upwardsWhy do I need to include fiber in my diet?

Fiber is found naturally in fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. You may also find fiber added to various food products. Fiber provides benefits  to the body like improving digestion, lowering blood cholesterol, helping control blood sugar levels and promoting overall colon health.

Fiber supports your health by:

  • Increasing size and weight of stool to reduce constipation and improve bowel movement regularity.
  • Thickening gastrointestinal contents to create a gel-like substance can carry unhealthy cholesterol out of the body and promote normal movement of intestinal contents.
  • Increasing activity of good bacteria, a.k.a. prebiotics, in the gut.  Prebiotics feed on the fiber in our diets, support the immune system and help the body absorb some minerals.

How much fiber should I eat? 

Adults should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Here is a general guide to help you know how much fiber is in some foods:

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal = 4 grams fiber
  • 1 medium banana = 3.1 grams fiber
  • 1 medium apple = 4.4 grams fiber
  • 1 cup black beans = 15 grams fiber
  • ½ avocado = 6 grams fiber
  • 1 cup brown rice = 3.5 grams fiber
  • ¼ cup almonds = 3.5 grams fiber
  • 3 cups of popcorn = 4 grams fiber
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds = 5.5 grams fiber
  • 2 tablespoon peanut butter = 2.6 grams fiber

How do I add more fiber to my diet?

If you’d like to add more fiber to your diet, try:

  • Making overnight oats, so your breakfast is waiting for you in the morning
  • Adding fresh or frozen fruit, flax seeds, chia seeds or wheat bran to yogurt or oatmeal
  • Choosing cereals with at least 20% of your daily value of fiber/serving (check the food label to see how much fiber is in a food)
  • Adding shredded or pureed fruit or vegetables (bananas, applesauce, zucchini, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots) to baked goods
  • Eating more legumes (ex: beans, peas, lentils). Canned beans are easy to prepare and ready when you need them.
  • Snacking on nuts and seeds
  • Adding vegetables and/or fruits to your meals
  • Making your own trail mix with popcorn, dried fruit and nuts
  • Eating whole fruits and vegetables, not just juice, because juice doesn’t have as much fiber
  • Leaving the skin on fruits and vegetables (apples, potatoes, cucumbers, etc.)