Fiber is a term for carbohydrates that are indigestible. Dietary fiber adds bulk to the stool and help move waste through the intestine. Fiber cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes and cannot be absorbed by the body.

Why is fiber important?

Fiber helps aid digestion. Some types of fiber (like almonds) bind water, creating a softer stool that passes more rapidly through the colon. When stool passes rapidly through the digestive track, the number of diseases affecting the digestive tract are reduced.

High fiber diet can help prevent constipation, and may decrease risk of colon diseases, including colon cancer. Fiber may also help protect agains diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. If your diet is severely lacking in fiber, a painful condition called fecal impaction may occur.

Research has shown that eating a diet high in fiber is one of the most significant ways to prevent blood cholesterol imbalance, heart attack, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, and atherosclerosis

Good sources

Some good sources of fiber are: hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, cooked dried beans and peas, oat bran, fresh fruit, lentils, fresh vegetables and mushrooms. Mushrooms like shiitake contain up to 35% total dietary fiber. Reishi and fu ling mushrooms contain up to 85% total dietary fiber. If eating mushrooms isn’t appealing, try mushroom powders in capsules. Be careful not to consume too many products that are processed fiber foods like cold cereals and breakfast bars. These foods are contain high amounts of sugar, fat and salt.


There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water. Soluble fibers include: pectin, guar, carrageenan, gums, mucilage, and oat bran. Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water. Insoluble fibers include cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.


Most laxatives used to treat constipation are concentrated sources of fiber.

Adding fiber to your diet

If you suddenly add large amounts of fiber to your diet, you may experience bloating, diarrhea, and severe stomach cramping. It is best to add fiber to your diet gradually, eating small amounts of fiber rich foods. Additional fiber can be added slowly until you are consuming a healthy amount.

How many grams of fiber should you eat?

Currently, there is no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) for dietary fiber. However, nutritionists suggest 25 to 30 grams each day. Try to eat a variety of foods and read food labels to learn how much fiber a specific food has.

Instant oats for fiber?

Adding oats to your diet is a great way to increase fiber consumption. Steel-cut or rolled oats are best. Stay clear from packets of instant oatmeal. Quick oats are often rolled oats that are cut into small pieces, pre-cooked by steaming, and usually accompanied with sugar-rich flavors such as apple strudel or maple brown sugar. The addition of apple strudel or maple brown sugar dramatically increases the amounts of added sugar, salt, and artificial coloring. We prefer a simple meal of apples and oatmeal prepared in a blender.

Does popcorn have fiber?

Popcorn has about 3.6 grams of fiber per cup. However, if popcorn is your snack of choice, stay clear from microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn is usually loaded with calories and saturated fat.

High fiber diet can help prevent constipation, and may decrease risk of colon diseases, including colon cancer. Fiber may also help protect agains diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Tips for eating fiber

  • eat a variety of foods
  • do not completely rely on fiber supplements
  • limit your intake of processed foods
  • increase your fiber intake gradually
  • try to consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day
Food Amount Total Fiber (grams)
100% Bran Cereal 1/2 cup 10
Peas (cooked) 1/2 cup 5.2
Kidney Beans 1/2 cup 4.5
White Beans 1/2 cup 4.2
Apple with Skin 1 medium 3.9
Whole Wheat Bread 2 slices 3.9
Potato 1 small 3.8
Popcorn 3 cups popped 3.4
Broccoli 1/2 cup 2.6
Pear 1 medium 2.5
Tangerine 1 medium 1.6