High Fiber Diet and High Fiber Foods

A high fiber diet is shown to help prevent the risk of colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Fiber helps the digestive process, preventing conditions such as constipation, hemorrhoids, colon polyps and can even help with weight control. Dietary fiber helps add bulk to your diet and makes you feel full faster. Fiber keeps stools soft and lowers pressure inside the colon so that bowel contents can move through easily.

If you have diverticultis, some types of fiber can make your symptoms worse. It’s important that you talk to your doctor if you have diverticulitis or divericulosis.

Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. Because your body cannot digest fiber, it passes through your intestines quickly. Most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diet. The recommended amount is 20 to 35 grams a day and most people take in half this amount.

Below is a list of high fiber foods. It’s important to note that if you are not used to eating much fiber in your diet that you need to gradually add fiber over a period of a few weeks to avoid abdominal discomfort. Too much fiber in a short amount of time will result in intestinal gas (flatulence), bloating and cramps. In addition to the fiber make sure you are drinking enough water. The recommended amount is eight glasses a day.

The doctor may also recommend taking a fiber product such as Citrucel, Konsyl, or Metamucil once a day. These products are mixed with water and provide about 2 to 3.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon, mixed with 8 ounces of water.

Amount of Fiber in Some Foods

Fruits
apple 1 medium = 4 grams
peach 1 medium = 2 grams
pear 1 medium = 4 grams
tangerine 1 medium = 2 grams
Vegetables
acorn squash, fresh, cooked 3/4 cup = 7 grams
asparagus, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 1.5 grams
broccoli, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2 grams
brussels sprouts, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2 grams
cabbage, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2 grams
carrot, fresh, cooked 1 = 1.5 grams
cauliflower, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2 grams
romaine lettuce 1 cup = 1 gram
spinach, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2 grams
tomato, raw 1 = 1 gram
zucchini, fresh, cooked 1 cup = 2.5 grams
Starchy Vegetables
black-eyed peas, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 4 grams
lima beans, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 4.5 grams
kidney beans, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 6 grams
potato, fresh, cooked 1 = 3 grams
Grains
bread, whole-wheat 1 slice = 2 grams
brown rice, cooked 1 cup = 3.5 grams
cereal, bran flake 3/4 cup = 5 grams
oatmeal, plain, cooked 3/4 cup = 3 grams
white rice, cooked 1 cup = 1 gram
Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Nutrient Database for standard reference. Accessed September 19, 2001.