Getting the correct amount of fiber in your diet is important. It aids the digestive system and may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Only plant-based foods contain fiber. The daily recommended amount for women runs between 21 and 25g. Men should typically consume 30 to 38g per day. A food with 5 or more grams per serving is considered high in fiber.
Fiber comes in the form of soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber slows the passage of food in the intestines. Insoluble fiber speeds up the passage of food in the digestive tract and increases fecal bulk. Both are present in foods containing fiber.
Raspberries rank at the top of the fruit list with 8g of fiber per cup. Other high fiber fruits include pears, blackberries, apples and prunes. Keep in mind when eating fresh fruit that removing the peels, seeds and hulls reduces the fiber content.
Grains and Pastas
One cup of whole wheat spaghetti will give you 6.3g of fiber. You will also find larger amounts of fiber in barely, oat bran, wheat bran and oatmeal. Bran cereals are a popular source of fiber as well, with some brands as high as 8.8g of fiber per half cup.
Legumes, Nuts and Seeds
Legumes have the highest fiber counts. Split peas will yield 16.3g of fiber per cup. Lentils are a close second with 15.6g of fiber per cup. You will also find black beans, lima beans, and baked beans a good source fiber. While you can get fiber from nuts and seeds, they are on the lower end of the scale and it will take larger amounts to reach the levels of fiber you will get from legumes.
One medium size artichoke will give you 10.3g of fiber. Peas are another good source, coming in at 8.8g per cup. Broccoli, turnip greens and winter squash all provide over 5g of fiber per cup serving as well. Vegetables that provide fiber in slightly lesser quantities are brussel sprouts, sweet corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Sudden increases of fiber in your diet can cause discomfort, gas and diarrhea. Gradually adding fiber to your diet, and drinking plenty of water, will make the transition more comfortable and should alleviate these issues. It's also important to remember that excessive fiber in the diet can cause absorption problems with calcium, iron, copper, zinc and magnesium, which may result in deficiencies. Prescription medications may also be impacted by fiber. If you have any concerns about these issues you should consult your physician.