Fiber - It's Better For You Than You May Know

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. It is an age old adage. One most of us have probably heard with such frequency that we've never actually stopped to consider, "Why?"

Of course there is the obvious correlation: apples are fruits, fruits are healthy, therefore apples must be good for your health. But what if we looked a little closer? Why an apple? Why not a banana? A mango? Certainly oranges are higher in immune-supporting vitamin C. And yet, for hundreds of years, apples have been touted as the preeminent fruit to maintain your health. One possible explanation is that, in addition to its multiple other beneficial features, the apple happens to be one of the fruits that is highest in fiber.

Unfortunately, the importance of dietary fiber is often overlooked. Along with most essential nutrients, the average American diet fails to provide the recommended daily amount of fiber through food intake alone. However, getting the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day is one of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy digestive system. Surprisingly, good digestive health carries more benefits than simply maintaining regularity and avoiding the discomfort of occasional constipation.

Fiber aids the digestive process in multiple ways. In fact, there are two types of fiber—both of which play an equally important role. Soluble fiber (found in fruits, vegetables, oats, and legumes) absorbs water in the intestines and turns into a gel-like substance which slows the rate of glucose (sugar) absorption and helps maintain balanced blood-sugar levels. Insoluble fiber (found in whole grains) provides bulk and stimulates the intestinal muscles allowing food to pass through the digestive system more rapidly and with greater ease.

These processes are important for a variety of reasons. Maintaining bowel regularity decreases the contact time between stools and the intestinal wall, allowing less opportunity for the body to absorb harmful toxins. Fiber contributes to a healthier intestinal and colonic atmosphere by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria which, in turn, creates short-chain fatty acids that are rich in vitamin E and other nutrients.

On the whole, the benefits of fiber and its contributions to a person’s overall health and well-being are undeniable. And while an apple a day may, in fact, keep the doctor away, perhaps it is time for a new saying: Enjoy your fiber — because your body certainly does.

Fiber Quiz

 Fiber Quiz

Put your fiber knowledge to the test.
1) How much fiber should adults consume each day?
2) Which contains more fiber?
3) To which family of nutrients does fiber belong?
4) Which contains more fiber?
5) Which type of berry contains more fiber?
6) Which contains the least amount of fiber?
7) Which contains more fiber?
8) True or False: The typical American diet provides enough dietary fiber.
9) True or False: Good digestive health carries more benefits than simply maintaining regularity and avoiding the discomfort of occasional constipation.
10) True or False: Gummy fiber supplements are a healthy and delicious way to add more fiber to your diet.
Fiber Guide

Getting the recommend daily allowance of 25-38 grams of fiber can be easy and delicious, just by eating more fruits and vegetables.

Fiber Guide 

Fiber Calculator

Now you can easily see how much Fiber you are getting and from what foods! Simply enter how many servings you have daily of the following items, then click the "Calculate' button at the bottom right.

Please enter servings in decimals, eg., 1 serving to 2.5 servings.
Grain Products
Meat & Other Proteins
Product    Serving Size    Fiber    # of Servings  
Apples, raw, with skin    1 apple    3.3 g     
Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked    10 halves    2.6 g     
Avocados, raw, Florida    1 oz    1.6 g     
Bananas, raw    1 banana    3.1 g     
Blueberries, raw    1 cup    3.5 g     
Grapes, red or green (European type, such as Thompson seedless), raw    1 cup    1.4 g     
Mangos, raw    1 mango    3.3 g     
Melons, cantaloupe, raw    1 cup    1.4 g     
Melons, honeydew, raw    1 cup    1.4 g     
Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties    1 orange    3.1 g     
Peaches, raw    1 peach    1.5 g     
Peppers, sweet, green, raw    1 pepper    2 g     
Peppers, sweet, red, raw    1 pepper    2.5 g     
Pineapple, raw, all varieties    1 cup    2.2 g     
Raisins, seedless    1 packet    0.5 g     
Squash, summer, all varieties, raw    1 cup    1.2 g     
Strawberries, raw    1 strawberry    0.2 g     
Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average    1 tomato    1.5 g     
Watermelon, raw    1 wedge    1.1 g     
Product    Serving Size    Fiber    # of Servings  
Bagels, plain, enriched, with calcium propionate    3-½" bagel    1.6 g     
Biscuits, plain or buttermilk, prepared from recipe    4" biscuit    1.5 g     
Bread, French or Vienna (includes sourdough)    ½" slice    0.6 g     
Bread, pita, white, enriched    6-½" pita    1.3 g     
Bread, wheat    1 slice    0.9 g     
Bread, white, commercially prepared (includes soft bread crumbs)    1 slice    0.6 g     
Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared    1 slice    1.9 g     
Cereals, QUAKER, Instant Oatmeal, maple and brown sugar, prepared with boiling water    1 packet    2.8 g     
Corn, sweet, yellow, frozen, kernels cut off cob, boiled, drained, without salt    1 cup    3.9 g     
Crackers, saltines (includes oyster, soda, soup)    4 crackers    0.3 g     
Croissants, butter    1 croissant    1.5 g     
Croutons, seasoned    1 cup    2 g     
English muffins, plain, enriched, with ca prop (includes sourdough)    1 muffin    2 g     
Pancakes, plain, dry mix, complete, prepared    1 pancake    0.5 g     
Rice, white, long-grain, regular, cooked    1 cup    0.6 g     
Rolls, dinner, plain, commercially prepared (includes brown-and-serve)    1 roll    0.6 g     
Snacks, granola bars, hard, plain    1 bar    1.5 g     
Snacks, popcorn, air-popped    1 cup    1.2 g     
Snacks, pretzels, hard, plain, salted    10 pretzels    1.8 g     
Soup, chicken noodle, canned, prepared with equal volume water    1 cup    0.5 g     
Tortillas, ready-to-bake or -fry, corn    1 tortilla    1.6 g     
Tortillas, ready-to-bake or -fry, flour    1 tortilla    1 g     
Waffles, plain, frozen, ready-to-heat, toasted    1 waffle    0.8 g     
Product    Serving Size    Fiber    # of Servings  
Beans, baked, canned, plain or vegetarian    1 cup    10.4 g     
Beef, ground, 85% lean mean/15% fat, patty, cooked, broiled    3 oz    0 g     
Beef, top sirloin, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, broiled    3 oz    0 g     
Cheese, cheddar    1 oz    0 g     
Cheese, cottage, lowfat, 2% milkfat    1 cup    0 g     
Cheese, cream    1 tbsp    0 g     
Cheese, mozzarella, whole milk    1 oz    0 g     
Cheese, swiss    1 oz    0 g     
Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat and skin, cooked, fried, batter    ½ breast    0.4 g     
Chicken, braoilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted    ½ breast    0 g     
Egg, white, raw, fresh    1 large    0 g     
Egg, whole, cooked, scrambled    1 large    0 g     
Fish, cod, Pacific, cooked, dry heat    3 oz    0 g     
Fish, halibut, Atlantic and Pacific, cooked, dry heat    3 oz    0 g     
Fish, salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone and liquid    3 oz    0 g     
Fish, trout, rainbow, farmed, cooked, dry heat    3 oz    0 g     
Fish tuna, light, canned in water, drained solids    3 oz    0 g     
Ham, sliced, extra lean    2 slices    0 g     
Lamb, domestic, leg, whole (shank and sirloin), separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/4" fat, choice, cooked, roasted    3 oz    0 g     
Lamb, domestic, shoulder, arm, seperable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/4" fat, choice cooked, braised    3 oz    0 g     
Lima beans, large, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt    1 cup    13.2 g     
Nuts, almonds    1 oz (24 nuts)    3.5 g     
Nuts, cashew nuts, dry roasted, with salt added    1 oz    0.9 g     
Nuts, pecans    1 oz (20 halves)    2.7 g     
Nuts, walnuts, english    1 oz (14 halves)    1.9 g     
Peanut butter, smooth style, with salt    1 tbsp    1 g     
Peanuts, all types, oil-roasted, with salt    1 oz    2.7 g     
Pork sausage, fresh, cooked    1 patty    0 g     
Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, broiled, pan-fried or roasted    3 medium slices    0 g     
Pork, cured, canadian-style bacon, grilled    2 slices    0 g     
Pork, fresh, loin, center loin (chops), bone-in, separable lean    3 oz    0 g     
Pork, fresh, shoulder, arm picnic, separable lean and fat, cooked, braised    3 oz    0 g     
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted, with salt added    1 oz (142 seeds)    1.8 g     
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted, with salt added    1/4 cup    2.9 g     
Soup, chicken noodle, canned, prepared with equal volume    1 cup    0.5 g     
Turkey, all classes, dark meat, cooked, roasted    3 oz    0 g     
Turkey, all classes, light meat, cooked, roasted    3 oz    0 g     
Product    Serving Size    Fiber    # of Servings  
Artichokes, (globe or french), cooked, boiled, drained, without salt    1 medium    10.3 g     
Asparagus, cooked, boiled drained    4 spears    1.2 g     
Broccoli, raw    1 cup    2.3 g     
Carrots, raw    1 cup    3.1 g     
Celery, raw    1 cup    1.9 g     
Coleslaw, home-prepared    1 cup    1.8 g     
Cucumber, peeled, raw    1 cup    0.8 g     
Lettuce, romaine, raw    1 cup    1.2 g     
Lettuce, iceberg (includes crisphead types), raw    1 cup    0.7 g     
Mushrooms, shiitake, cooked, without salt    1 cup    3 g     
Onions, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt    1 cup    2.9 g     
Peas, green, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt    1 cup    8.8 g     
Pickles, cucumber, dill or kosher dill    1 pickel    0.7 g     
Potatoes, baked, flesh, without salt    1 potato    2.3 g     
Potatoes, french fried, all types, salt added in processing, frozen, home-prepared, oven heated    10 strips    1.4 g     
Potatoes, hashed brown, frozen, plain, prepared    1 patty    0.6 g     
Potatoes, mashed, dehydrated, prepared from flakes without milk, whole milk and butter added    1 cup    1.7 g     
Spinach, raw    1 cup    0.7 g     
Sweet potato, cooked, boiled, without skin    1 potato    3.9 g     
Signs You May Need More Fiber
1) You're Irregular
Since fiber adds bulk to your stool and increases food transit time through your digestive track, a high-fiber diet will help support regularity.

2) You Don't Eat 7-9 Fruits, Vegetables or Whole Grains a Day
If you currently don't consume many fruits, vegetables, or whole grains you're likely not getting enough fiber in your diet. These foods provide the majority of dietary fiber for most people.

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