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Fabulous Fiber

Fiber comes from plants, not animal foods. It is highest in fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dried beans and peas. Nuts and seeds contain fiber, but are also high in fat and calories so be careful with these.

At all times, but especially during pregnancy, a high fiber diet is recommended to prevent constipation. This means a goal or 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day. Most people who eat a high fat, high meat diet or who rely on processed foods do not get enough. In fact, 10 to 11 grams is the estimated daily fiber intake of typical westernized diets. Low-fiber diets are strongly linked to colon diseases and a high fiber diet provides protection.

As you increase fiber in your diet, do it slowly and increase fluid intake. This is important because the action of fiber is facilitated by water. The two must work together. Normally, 6 to 8 cups of fluid per day is recommended. With a high fiber intake, you may need to boost this a bit more.

Two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, contribute to total dietary fiber. These two act quite differently in the intestine. You need both of them, but may want to emphasize one over the other depending on your goals. Look for "total fiber" in the table below. Compare the soluble to insoluble fiber contributions.

FIBER CONTENT OF SELECTED FOODS
Food Serving Size
Total Fiber (gms)
Soluble Fiber (gms) Insoluble Fiber (gms)
Fruits
Apple, with skin 1 medium
4.2
1.6 2.6
Banana 1 medium
2.3
0.7 1.6
Grapes 1 cup
0.6
0.1 0.5
Orange 1 medium
2.5
1.6 0.9
Pear, Bartlett 1 medium
4.0
0.8 3.2
Prunes, dried 4
3.1
1.3 1.8
Strawberries 1 cup
1.6
0.6 1.0
Vegetables
Beans, green, cooked 1/2 cup
2.0
0.8 1.2
Broccoli, raw 1/2 cup
1.5
0.1 1.4
Brussel Sprouts, Cooked 1/2 cup
3.6
1.7 1.9
Carrot, raw 1 medium
2.6
1.1 1.5
Cauliflower, raw 1/2 cup
1.0
0.4 0.6
Celery, raw 1/2 cup
0.9
0.2 0.7
Corn, cooked 1/2 cup
4.7
0.2 4.4
Lettuce, Butterhead 1 cup
1.3
0.6 0.7
Lettuce, Iceberg 1 cup
1.0
0.3 0.7
Lettuce, Romaine 1 cup
0.7
0.3 0.4
Peas, cooked 1/2 cup
4.4
1.2 3.2
Pepper, green, raw 1/2 cup
0.9
0.3 0.6
Potato, with skin 1 medium
2.4
0.6 1.8
Sweet potato, peeled 1 medium
3.4
1.7 1.7
Tomato 1 medium
1.3
0.3 1.0
Dried Beans and Peas (cooked)
Blackeyed peas 1/2 cup
4.1
0.5 3.6
Garbonza beans 1/2 cup
4.0
1.2 2.8
Kidney beans 1/2 cup
8.2
3.6 4.6
Lentils 1/2 cup
4.5
0.7 3.8
Pinto beans 1/2 cup
10.3
3.9 6.4
Split peas 1/2 cup
3.4
1.1 2.4
Breads/Rice/Pasta
Pumpernickel bread 1 slice
1.0
0.5 0.5
Rye bread 1 slice
1.6
0.7 0.9
Sourdough bread 1 slice
2.8
0.9 1.9
White bread 1 slice
0.6
0.3 0.3
Whole wheat bread 1 slice
2.2
0.5 1.7
Brown rice 1/2 cup
1.8
0.2 1.6
White rice 1/2 cup
0.6
0.2 0.4
Wild rice 1/2 cup
1.3
0.2 1.1
Spiral pasta, cooked 1 cup
1.3
0.2 1.1
Spiral pasta, whole wheat. cooked 1 cup
3.7
0.7 3.0
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds 1/4 cup
3.9
0.4 3.5
Cashews 1/4 cup
1.1
0.6 0.5
Peanuts,dry roasted 1/4 cup
2.5
0.7 1.8
Walnuts 1/4 cup
1.4
0.5 0.9
Sesame seeds 1/4 cup
3.3
0.7 2.6
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup
2.2
0.7 1.5
Breakfast Cereal
All-Bran with Extra Fiber 1/2 cup
15.0
1.0 14.0
Bran Buds 1/3 cup
10.7
2.8 7.9
Cherrios 1 cup
1.6
1.0 0.6
Corn Flakes 1 cup
0.7
0.4 0.3
Fiber One 1/2 cup
13.0
1.0 12.0
Oatmeal, cooked 1 cup
4.0
2.4 1.6
Shredded Wheat, small biscuits 1 cup
4.2
0.7 3.5
Total Raisin Bran 1 cup
6.0
0.9 5.1


Insoluble Fiber
Insoluble fiber doesn't absorb water, it simply adds bulk to your stool. It helps to sweep everything through. If you put wheat bran in water, the water will evaporate, but the bran will not have absorbed any water. This type of fiber helps to prevent constipation, diverticulosis and colon diseases.

Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber helps hold stools together. It can be helpful for people who have diarrhea, or loose stools. It can also help in the management of high cholesterol by trapping cholesterol particles in intestines. This fiber works by absorbing water and forming a soft, sticky gel. As a result, stools form and hold together better when soluble fiber is included in the diet.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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