Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

High-fiber foods

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 without being absorbed much.

Alternative Names

Dietary fiber - self-care; Constipation - fiber

Function

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

High fiber diets can also help with constipation.

What to Expect at Home

Slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet. If you have bloating or gas, you have probably eaten too much and need to reduce the amount of fiber you eat for a few days. Drink plenty of fluids. When you increase fiber in your diet, you also need to get enough fluids. Not getting enough fluids may make constipation worse instead of better.

The daily recommended intake (DRI) for adults 19 to 50 years old is 38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. To get more into your diet, eat different types of foods, such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

Read food labels carefully to see how much fiber they have. Choose foods that have higher amounts of fiber, such as whole-wheat bread versus white bread.

Vegetables, Legumes, and Nuts

Vegetables are a good source of fiber. Eat more:

  • Lettuce, Swiss chard, raw carrots, and spinach
  • Tender cooked vegetables, such as asparagus, beets, mushrooms, turnips, and pumpkin
  • Baked potatoes and sweet potatoes with skin
  • Broccoli, artichokes, squashes, and string beans

You can also get more fiber by eating:

  • Legumes, such as lentils, black beans, split peas, kidney beans, lima beans, and chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, 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 and farina (Cream of Wheat)
  • Whole-grain breads
  • Brown rice
  • Popcorn
  • High-fiber cereals, such as bran, shredded wheat, Grape Nuts, Ry Krisp, and puffed wheat
  • Whole-wheat pastas
  • Bran muffins

References

Dahl WJ, Stewart ML. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: health implications of dietary fiber. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(11):1861-1870. PMID 26514720 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26514720.

Grodner M, Escott-Stump S, Dorner S. Carbohydrates. In: Grodner M, Escott-Stump S, Dorner S, eds. Nutritional Foundations and Clinical Applications. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2016:chap 5.

Review Date:8/14/2016
Reviewed By:Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No