FOCUS ON FIBER: How Much is Enough?
By Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc.
Looking for an easy and natural way increase your vitality and improve your
overall well-being? Try eating more fiber!
The average American only gets about half the amount of fiber they need everyday
for their body to function optimally. According to the American Heart Association
(AHA), fiber helps lower cholesterol and is important for the health of our
digestive system. Both the AHA and the National Cancer Institute recommend
that we consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily.
Dietary fiber is a transparent solid complex carbohydrate that is the main
part of the cell walls of plants. It has two forms: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber may help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart
disease and stroke. Insoluble fiber provides the bulk needed for proper
functioning of the stomach and intestines. It promotes healthy intestinal
prevents constipation by moving bodily waste through the digestive tract
faster, so harmful substances don't have as much contact with the intestinal
Unfortunately, many people are not eating this much fiber, which is causing
serious cardiovascular health concerns. Recently the AHA and the FDA
(Food and Drug Administration) confirmed that coronary heart disease
is the leading
cause of death in the United States, killing more people than any other
disease. It causes heart attack and angina (chest pain). A blood clot
that goes to
the heart is considered a heart attack, but if it goes to the brain it
is a stroke. The AHA ranks stoke as the third most fatal disease in America,
causing paralysis and brain damage.
Eating a high-fiber diet can significantly lower our risk of heart
attack, stroke and colon cancer. A 19-year follow-up study reported
in the November
2001 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine indicated that increasing
bean and legume intakes may be an important part of a dietary approach
coronary heart disease. Beans and legumes are high in protein and soluble
fiber. Another study reported in the January 2002 issue of the Journal
of the American College of Cardiology also suggests that increasing
of fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, can significantly
lower the risk of heart disease. Additionally, results from recent
studies at the American Institute of Cancer Research indicate high-fiber
soy foods, such as textured soy protein (also known as TVP) and tempeh,
help in preventing and treating colon cancer.
Whole beans, soybeans and other legumes are excellent sources of
fiber. A 1 cup serving of cooked navy beans contains about 19 grams
read the Nutrition Facts label to find out the amount of, and the
type of, fiber contained in any particular food. To help you achieve
of fiber, here is a list of various foods with their fiber content.
Examples of Dietary Fiber:
- 1 cup cooked dry beans (navy, pinto, red, pink, black, garbanzo, etc.) = 9-19
grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked lima beans = 13 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked peas = 9 grams of fiber
- 1 cup raisin bran cereal = 8 grams of fiber
- 1 cup canned pumpkin = 7 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked spinach = 7 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour = 7 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup soy tempeh = 7 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup soy flour = 6 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup edamame (whole green soybeans) = 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked broccoli = 5 grams of fiber
- 6 Brussels sprouts = 5 grams of fiber
- 1 baked sweet potato = 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked brown rice = 4 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked old fashioned rolled oats = 4 grams of fiber
- 1 medium apple = 4 grams of fiber
- 1 medium orange = 4 grams of fiber
- 1 cup carrot strips = 4 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup raspberries or blackberries = 4 grams of fiber
- 1 medium banana = 3 grams of fiber
- 5 dried plums (prunes) = 3 grams of fiber
- 1 ounce of nuts (almonds, peanuts, pistachios) = 3 grams of fiber
- 1 baked potato (russet) = 3 grams of fiber
- 1/4 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds = 3 grams of fiber
- 1 medium mango = 3 grams of fiber
- 1 medium tomato = 2 grams of fiber
- 1 cup pineapple juice = 2 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup blueberries = 2 grams of fiber
- 1 cup romaine lettuce = 1.5 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup tofu = 1 gram of fiber
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. is a Personal Health & Wellness Coach;
Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor; Recipe Developer; Freelance
Author. She has offered guidance in natural health, nutrition, fitness, weight
and stress management since 1989.
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert. All rights reserved.
** “Legume consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in US men
and women: NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.” Bazzano, L. A., He,
J., Ogden, L. G., Loria, C., Vupputuri, S., Myers, L., Whelton, P. K., Archives
of Internal Medicine 2001 Nov 26;161(21):2573-2578.
** “A prospective study of dietary fiber intake and risk of cardiovascular
disease among women.” Liu, S., Buring, J. E., Sesso, H. D., Rimm, E.
B., Willett, W. C., Manson, J. E., Journal of the American College of Cardiology
2002 Jan 2;39(1):49-56.
** “Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook” by
Monique N. Gilbert, Universal Publishers, 2001, pp. 11, 18, 24. • 04/30/05
About the Author
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. has received international recognition for helping
people improve their well-being, vitality and longevity. Her personal coaching
provides the motivation, guidance and support you need to naturally get
healthy and fit, reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen your immune system,
your energy levels, lower your cholesterol, improve your sleep, and achieve