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High-fiber foods

Alternate Names

Fiber diet - self-care

Definition

Fiber is a substance found in plants. Dietary fiber -- the kind you eat -- is found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. Your body cannot digest fiber, so it passes through your intestines quickly.

Function

Dietary fiber adds bulk to your diet. Because it makes you feel full faster, it can help you control weight.

High fiber diets can also help with constipation. If you have diverticulitis, some types of fiber can make your symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor. See also: Diverticulitis and diverticulosis - discharge

What to Expect at Home

Slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet. If you have bloating or gas, you probably have eaten too much and need to reduce the amount of fiber you eat for a few days.

You should eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. To get more into your diet, eat different types of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. You will also need to read food labels carefully to see how much fiber they have. Choose foods that have higher amounts of fiber. See also: How to read food labels

Vegetables, Legumes, and Nuts

Vegetables are a major source of fiber. Eat more:

  • Lettuce, Swiss chard, raw carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Tender cooked vegetables, such as asparagus, beets, mushrooms, turnips, and pumpkin
  • Broccoli, artichokes, squashes, sweet potatoes, and string beans
  • Tomato juice and sauce
  • Vegetable juices

You can also get more fiber by eating:

  • Legumes, such as lentils, black beans, split peas, kidney beans, lima beans, and chickpeas
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios nuts, and pecans

Fruits

Fruits are another good source of fiber. Eat more:

  • Apples and bananas
  • Peaches and pears
  • Tangerines, prunes, and berries
  • Figs and other dried fruits

Grains

Grains are another important source of dietary fiber. Eat more:

  • Hot cereals, such as oatmeal, farina, and Cream of Wheat
  • Whole-grain breads (whole wheat or whole rye)
  • Brown rice
  • Popcorn
  • High-fiber cereals (such as shredded wheat, Grape Nuts, Ry Krisp, and puffed wheat)
  • Whole-wheat pastas
  • Bran muffins

Review Date: 3/2/2009
Reviewed By: George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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