Fiber

Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that the body cannot digest. Eating foods with fiber helps to keep the digestive tract healthy, stabilize blood sugar levels, and control cholesterol levels.

The recommended daily intake of fiber is 20 g to 35 g.

Fiber in the diet is classified as either soluble or insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber. As part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, soluble fiber has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, dry beans and peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, and apple pulp (the solids left after making apple juice).
  • Insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not lower blood cholesterol, but it is important in keeping the bowels healthy and preventing constipation and diverticular disease. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, whole-grain cereals, and whole bran. Other examples are cabbage, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, and apple skin.

Bran is widely known as a good source of fiber. But many commercially made bran products, such as muffins and waffles, actually contain very little bran, and they are often high in saturated and total fat. Check the labels for the actual fiber content.

Last Updated: February 6, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Diabetes Educator

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.