Which Foods are Good Sources of Dietary Fiber?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Dietary fiber is a very important part of nutrition for all animals, and many of us do not get nearly enough of it. Without adequate dietary fiber, many people experience digestive problems, and are more subject to heart disease, diabetes, hemorrhoids, and high cholesterol. Many individuals who suffer from constipation find their symptoms relieved by eating more fiber, as it makes stools larger and softer. Many foods are high in dietary fiber, and by ensuring that you eat a mixed and varied diet, you can get the recommended ounce (28 grams) of dietary fiber in your diet every day.

Sorghum has high amounts of fiber.
Sorghum has high amounts of fiber.

There are two categories of dietary fiber: insoluble, and soluble. Insoluble dietary fiber consists of the parts of plants which cannot be digested at all, moving whole through the digestive system and helping to bulk up stool. Insoluble fiber also helps to scrape the intestines clean as it moves through the body, keeping them healthy and free of build up. Soluble dietary fiber turns into a gel like substance as it is digested, and helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Many diabetics try to keep their intake of insoluble fiber high, as it helps to control blood glucose levels.

Legumes contain a lot of dietary fiber.
Legumes contain a lot of dietary fiber.

Only plant sources can be used for dietary fiber, and some plants are better sources than others. In order to get the most benefit, it is important to eat plants and fruits whole, as the skin often contains the most fiber, along with other vital nutrients. Try to eat whole grains and fruits when possible, rather than heavily processed grains and peeled fruits. Whole grains do not have to taste dull and boring; try eating them with a variety of seasonings, or incorporating them into dishes like soups and salads. While health food is traditionally associated with bland flavors, it does not have to be, and many dishes can be made in a high fiber but still delicious form.

Most vegetables are an excellent source of fiber.
Most vegetables are an excellent source of fiber.

Grains like wheat, rye, oats, buckwheat, millet, rice, and sorghum all have high levels of fiber, especially when eaten whole. Legumes such as beans, lentils, split peas, and others are also great sources of fiber, and can be eaten in a wide variety of ways. Whole fruits with edible skins along with dried fruits contain lots of fiber, and so do green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, and chard, along with squashes like pumpkin, acorn, and spaghetti. Finally, many nuts also have useful dietary fiber, and can be eaten on the go during a busy day.

Kale is high in soluble fiber.
Kale is high in soluble fiber.
Bran, which is high in fiber.
Bran, which is high in fiber.
Bananas contain a lot of soluble fiber.
Bananas contain a lot of soluble fiber.
Apples contain a significant amount of dietary fiber.
Apples contain a significant amount of dietary fiber.
Broccoli is a great source of fiber.
Broccoli is a great source of fiber.
Lentils are high in fiber.
Lentils are high in fiber.
Spaghetti is a good source of dietary fiber.
Spaghetti is a good source of dietary fiber.
Chard is a leafy green vegetable with a high amount of fiber.
Chard is a leafy green vegetable with a high amount of fiber.
Oranges and other citrus fruits provide roughage that helps the digestive tract function smoothly.
Oranges and other citrus fruits provide roughage that helps the digestive tract function smoothly.
Oats are a good source of dietary fiber.
Oats are a good source of dietary fiber.
Beans, including black beans, are good sources of dietary fiber.
Beans, including black beans, are good sources of dietary fiber.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

cafe41

Mutsy- I also wanted to add that many children don’t take in enough fiber which usually leads to constipation. In order to avoid this, children should eat peanuts, applesauce, and popcorn and bran muffins. This is a high fiber foods list that no parent should be without.

These are great high fiber food for kids. Many of these foods can be incorporated into snacks throughout the day. The fiber also makes children eat less and lowers the propensity for childhood obesity.

mutsy

BrickBack- Good suggestions. I did want to add that beans are another source of great high fiber foods.

A serving of kidney beans can have up to eight grams of fiber. Beans also regulate one’s blood sugar and reduce cravings. Beans are probably one of the best foods with high fiber content.

BrickBack

Isamgeek- It sounds like you know quite a bit about fiber. There are so many sources of fiber that is difficult to list them all.

I would like to add that a high fiber diet should consist of whole grain pasta, oatmeal, fruit, and vegetables like sweet potatoes and baked potatoes.

In addition, many whole grain cereals such as Total or Kashi Go Lean are excellent high fiber diet foods that could be included in any high fiber diet plan.

isamgeek

This article does not specify which fiber are these sources mentioned, and it does not specify the amounts of fiber in each of these sources. How could a rice be a good source and it has zero insoluble fiber (IDF) and about 1% of soluble fiber (SDF). Lentils is full of IDF (8%) but has very small percentage of SDF, so it is not a good source if we consider high level of IDF is not recommended and small amount of SDF is welcomed. I wonder why most experts on the subject ignore the only natural soluble dietary fiber on earth which is manna -- the bread from Heaven (Gum Arabic).

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