Why is it so important for overall health?
Did you know that carbohydrates are made up of starch, sugar and fiber. Fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods. There are two different types; soluble and insoluble and found in a variety of plant foods. Soluble fiber helps slow glucose absorption and lowers cholesterol. Best forms are oats, legumes, barley and nuts. Insoluble fiber speeds up the passage of food through the GI tract and is in whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, skin on potatoes. Insoluble fiber is often referred to as “nature’s broom.” Many plant based foods are a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Benefits of Fiber
- Fiber is not digested or absorbed, therefore it does not raise blood sugar and can actually keep blood sugar from rising too fast
- Increases feelings of fullness which may help with weight management
- Lowers cholesterol
- Reduces risk of heart disease and cancer
- Improves digestion, colon health and prevents constipation
Foods Highest in Fiber
- Pulses: beans, peas, and lentils
- ½ cup cooked kidney beans, black beans & lentils is 7-8 grams of fiber
- Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, millet, barley
- ½ cup cooked quinoa is 5 grams of fiber and ½ cup cooked barley is 4 grams fiber
- Fruits: large pear is 5 grams fiber and ½ cup raspberries & blackberries is 4 grams fiber
- Vegetables: ½ cooked spinach, brussel sprouts, carrots is 3 grams of fiber
- Nuts: 1 ounce (1/4 cup) almonds is 3.5 grams of fiber
Daily Fiber Recommendations
- At meals make half your plate non-starchy vegetables
- Adults aim for 25-30 grams of total fiber per day for optimal health
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 14 g of fiber per 1,000 kcals with at least half of grain consumption being whole intact grains
Fiber on Food labels
- Excellent source of fiber has at least 5 grams or more fiber per serving
- A good source of fiber contains at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving
Nutrition Care Manual by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. High fiber food list.
What Do I Eat Now? A Step-by-Step Guide to Eating Right with Type 2 Diabetes, 2nd Edition. Tami A. Ross, RDN, LD, CDE, MLDE and Patti B. Geil, MS, RDN, CDE, MLDE, FAND, FAADE.