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September 2017

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

Fiber may be a key nutrient for healthy aging! Even though fiber is not digested and just passes through the body, fiber-rich foods are an important part of a healthy eating plan. Fiber has been linked to health benefits beyond digestion. These benefits include reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. Despite the benefits of dietary fiber, most people do not get enough fiber.

How Much Fiber?
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for fiber: women should have 22 grams and men 28 grams daily.

These recommendations are based on fiber naturally occurring in foods and not in supplements. In addition, the guideline is for total fiber, both soluble and insoluble.

Meeting Your Fiber Needs
Dietary fiber is found in plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Most fiber-rich foods contain both types of fiber. However, the amount of each type will vary depending on the food. For the greatest health benefits, choose a variety of fiber-rich foods. It is never too late to start eating more fiber!

Foods ~
Daily/Servings

Fiber (grams)

Highest Fiber Content

Vegetables -
2 cups

2-8 grams
Per 1c cooked

Spinach, Parsnips, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato,
Carrots, Broccoli

Fruits-
1 1/2 cups

1-5 grams per
medium fruit or 1 cup

Pear, Apple,
Berries, Orange,
Banana

Whole Grains -
3 servings

3 grams per slice or
1/2 c cooked

Bran (1/4 c dry)
Barley and
Bulgar Wheat

Legumes -
at least once
a week

4-8 grams per 1/2 c cooked

Lentils, Lima and Pinto Beans

Nuts and Seeds
(High in calories,
use sparingly in place of other fats)

2-3 grams per 1/4 cup

Peanuts, Walnuts,
Almonds,
Flaxseed (1Tbsp)

Tips for Adding Fiber

  • Increase fiber SLOWLY.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid using fiber supplements to meet fiber needs. They will not provide the same health benefits that fiber-rich whole foods offer.
  • Check the “Nutrition Facts” label on packaged foods. Grains should have at least 1 gram of fiber for every 10 grams of carbohydrates. Be aware of added sugars and unhealthy saturated fats


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